Whenever you find yourself in a survival situation, you will probably be forced to forage for food to meet your nutritional needs, or else eat whatever you have on hand to live.
For most of us, this conjures images of eating bugs, strange plants, and other things we’d never consider otherwise, but depending on where you are you might be living on delicious, ripe oranges.
What a blessing that would be: oranges are sweet, juicy, and highly nutritious.
You might think you lucked out in such a situation, but what if oranges were the only thing you had to eat? How many oranges could you safely eat in a survival scenario?
Generally, it’s safe to eat between 5 and 7 oranges per day without ill effects. Oranges are healthy but very acidic and sweet, and excess consumption can cause health issues.
When it comes to oranges, there is no truly definitive answer as to how many you can safely eat in a day, but you’ll know you are eating too many as there will be side effects. This depends on your individual body size and constitution, too.
In any case, there is more to know about eating oranges exclusively in a survival scenario, so keep reading and I will tell you more.
Oranges are Good for You
Right up front, yes, oranges are good for you. Very good for you, in fact! Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber.
All of those things are essential to our health and well-being. They also contain plenty of calories in the form of sugar and that means quick, wholesome energy.
If you can find oranges in your survival situation, they should be at the top of your list for food sources.
You won’t get much better from a taste perspective, and they do contain a lot of stuff that you need to stay healthy.
However, oranges are not the end-all, be-all food and if you are forced to eat nothing but them you will run into problems.
Oranges are Not Nutritionally Complete
Oranges contain lots of things that are great for us, but they don’t have everything we need to truly thrive. To stay healthy and nourished over the long term you must supplement oranges with other foods and nutrients.
As a source of protein, minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, fat, and other nutrients, oranges come up way short.
So if you are forced to eat nothing but oranges in a survival situation over the long term you’ll soon develop nutrient deficiencies unless you find something else to eat or supplement your diet with.
Luckily, scurvy won’t be one of them since oranges are a great source of Vitamin C.
But you might be forced to deal with hair loss, muscle wasting, and other health issues due to a lack of certain nutrients.
So if you find yourself in a survival situation with predominately oranges as your food source, do whatever you can in order to find something safe to eat to complement their nutritional profile.
Excess Consumption of Oranges Can Cause Problems
Oranges can cause other issues when eaten to excess, and not just in the form of nutrient deficiencies.
Consider the following and how you’d deal with it if forced to eat oranges alone in a survival situation.
Oranges are Highly Acidic
Oranges are very acidic and that can cause stomach issues if you eat too many. Eating five to seven oranges a day is generally considered safe, but beyond that, it becomes a risk.
The exact number is dependent on the individual person and the fruit in question.
Over-consuming oranges (or any other highly acidic fruit) can erode tooth enamel, disrupt the balance of acid in your stomach and health of gut flora, and even cause ulcers. Yikes!
Expect an Upset Stomach, Diarrhea, and Heartburn
Aside from the acid, oranges have quite a bit of fructose which can give some people digestive trouble if consumed in excess amounts over time.
We’re talking upset stomach, diarrhea, and heartburn. The acid content can also cause sores in the mouth (gums, tongue, cheeks) and throat.
Now, diarrhea might not sound too bad under the circumstances- at least you have food, right?
But it might prove disastrous if you are really in a bad way: diarrhea causes rapid dehydration and electrolyte depletion, and can quickly become life-threatening if not treated properly.
In the best case, it will be a hygiene hazard and still make everything you are trying to do that much harder. You should definitely try to avoid such a fate if you can!
Eating Way Too Many Oranges Can Cause Nausea and Vomiting
Now, beyond the relatively mild discomfort we have already talked about, going “ham” on oranges and wolfing down huge quantities can lead to more serious trouble in the form of nausea and vomiting.
Vomiting is likewise a danger as it leads to dehydration and electrolyte loss along with the loss of food that your body needs.
The nausea is something else, often very acute and akin to seasickness. This is caused by a combination of the strong acid and sugar present in oranges.
Too much basically sends your body into a sort of protection mode so you’ll stop eating the thing that caused it in the first place.
How Will You Know You are Eating Too Many Oranges?
As mentioned throughout this article, there really is no specific, set number but it seems to be around 5-7 oranges in 24 hours. The best advice I can give you is to be sensitive to your body’s signals and changes.
You’ll notice if you are feeling unwell or if your bowels become looser and more frequent, or if you start getting stomach pain or other symptoms. The key is to pay attention to these signs and adjust as necessary.
If you can, avoid getting diarrhea or vomiting at all costs. If something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.
Try to eat fewer oranges or supplement with other food sources that may provide the nutrients lacking in the oranges alone if oranges are your mainstay.
Should You Drink O.J. or Eat Whole Oranges?
Whole oranges, definitely. Whole oranges not only provide more bulk but they also provide the fiber necessary to help your body digest other foods as well as helping you get full faster and stay fuller longer.
Fruit juice is super delicious and refreshing, but a great way to overload on both acid and sugar in this case. Liquid diets also have a way of playing hell with your guts, so you’ll want to avoid that.
Don’t Hesitate to Eat Oranges if they are All You Have
In short, yes you could survive on oranges alone for quite some time, but it’s not ideal.
Eat them in moderation if you can, usually no more than five or seven per day, and look for other sources of food to supplement them.
Oranges are a godsend in a survival situation and will help ensure that you stay healthy and nourished both physically and mentally in the long run, but you will need to manage their drawbacks.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.