September 30, 2023

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Sumo Oranges: Nutrition, Benefits, and Facts

Sumo oranges, or dekopon citrus, is a hybrid of three citrus fruits that offers a few benefits. The vitamin C content in Sumo oranges helps lessen the severity of colds and makes the fruit a source of antioxidants. Sumo oranges are naturally sweet, help manage blood sugar, and may prevent kidney stones.

Dekopon citrus was cultivated in Japan in 1972. The fruit was unavailable to consumers in the United States until 2011 when California farmers marketed it as a “Sumo orange.”

The fruit’s size and the characteristic top knot, reminiscent of the hairstyle of sumo wrestlers, are how they got their name. One Sumo orange is larger than a handful. Generally, Sumo oranges weigh slightly more than eight ounces, compared to about five ounces per navel orange.

Read on to learn about the nutrition of Sumo oranges, their possible benefits, and tips for consuming them. 

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One Sumo orange has bout 163% of the daily value for vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect against cell damage. Research has found that cell damage is a precursor to chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

Sumo oranges are naturally sweet. One Sumo orange has about 29 grams of sugar but no added sugar. Foods with added sugar can satisfy sweet cravings but are often high in calories and lack nutrients. The American Heart Association (AHA) advises limiting your added sugar intake to 6% of your daily calories or less.

In contrast, the natural sugar in Sumo oranges does not count toward that limit. Foods with natural sugars pack fiber, minerals, and vitamins essential for good health.

Sumo oranges help manage blood sugar due to their low glycemic index (GI), which measures how fast foods raise blood sugar. Foods with a low GI raise your blood sugar slowly, while foods with a high GI cause spike your blood sugar rapidly. 

Low GI foods, like Sumo oranges and other citrus fruits, may help people with diabetes control their blood sugar by avoiding spikes.

Uncontrolled high blood sugar may cause long-term health concerns like eye, kidney, and nerve damage. High blood sugar makes it hard to manage your blood pressure and cholesterol, two risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Some evidence suggests that the citrate in citrus fruits like Sumo oranges helps protect against calcium stones.

Calcium stones are one of the most common kidney stones, or small crystals in the kidneys or ureters. Kidney stones cause severe pain in the back, belly, and groin when they move down the ureters.

Other kidney stones symptoms include:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Irregular urine color
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

People with low citrate levels in their urine have a higher risk of kidney stones than others. Citrate binds with calcium to prevent kidney stones from forming.

The vitamin C content in Sumo oranges may lessen the duration of a cold and reduce the severity of cold symptoms.

Cold symptoms may include:

  • A loss of appetite 
  • Achy muscles
  • Cough
  • Postnasal drip
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Sneezing

Vitamin C does not help protect against viruses that cause colds. Still, some evidence suggests that vitamin C may decrease the duration of a cold by 10%.

Many people get enough vitamin C in their diets. In addition to Sumo oranges, berries, and other citrus fruits pack a lot of vitamin C. Some supplements have as much as 10 times the recommended daily value of vitamin C. Your body flushes out excess vitamin C since it cannot store it.

One Sumo orange has the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 147g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Added sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 3g

Sumo oranges are rich in vitamin C. In addition to being an antioxidant, vitamin C helps support your bones, connective tissue, and skin. Connective tissue helps bind and separate your organs and tissues.

Sumo oranges have 10% of the daily value for potassium. Your body needs potassium to support bone, heart, and muscle functions. Potassium helps break down and use carbs for energy.

Sumo oranges are generally safe to consume. Some people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or oral allergy syndrome (OAS) may avoid or limit Sumo oranges. 

Some evidence suggests that citrus fruits like Sumo oranges increase GERD risk. GERD happens when stomach acid leaks back toward your esophagus, which causes irritation. GERD symptoms include a dry cough and heartburn.

OAS is an allergic reaction to pollens in raw fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, such as Sumo oranges, have been shown to cause allergic reactions in some people.

OAS symptoms typically include an itchy or swollen face, lip, mouth, throat, and tongue. The severity of those symptoms depends on how much Sumo orange you eat. Rarely do people with OAS develop severe symptoms like anaphylaxis and difficulty breathing.

You can eat Sumo oranges as is or incorporate the sections into various recipes like:

  • Add Sumo orange slices to a gingery vinegar slaw, or toss them into a garden salad or stir fry for lunch.
  • Dip Sumo orange slices into melted dark chocolate, or enjoy them with chia pudding or coconut milk ice cream.
  • Layer the sections with yogurt and nuts, or pair them with half an avocado or a scoop of nuts.
  • Mix Sumo orange slices into overnight oats or a smoothie for breakfast.

You can peel and freeze Sumo orange slices to blend into smoothies or thaw the slices later for use in recipes. A small freezer stash will extend your personal Sumo orange season so you can enjoy them for a few extra months.

Sumo oranges are only available between January and April since the growing season is long. Farmers carefully hand-pick and hand-pack Sumo oranges. Of note: Sumo oranges are slightly more expensive than other common types of citrus because of their unique growing needs and limited season.

Sumo oranges pack a lot of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps lessen the severity of colds. Sumo oranges are a naturally sweet citrus fruit that helps manage blood and may prevent kidney stones. 

Generally, Sumo oranges are safe to consume. Some people with GERD and OAS may avoid or limit Sumo oranges to help prevent adverse reactions.