Why Do Athletes Eat Orange Slices During Halftime?

Orange slices and halftime go together like Romeo and Juliet, or like peanut butter and jelly, or like the moon and the stars, or most aptly like gas in your car. Whether it's a kiddy soccer league game or the World Cup, every sport with a halftime seems to feature athletes listening to coaches, getting some rest, and refueling on orange slices. So if Lebron James does it, surely there must be something to this whole orange slices thing.

According to Healthline, put plainly, oranges in general are very good for you and a nice cool juicy orange slice taste pretty darn good after strenuous activity. Oranges are nutrient-rich and have lots of antioxidants and minerals that are great for keeping your bodily function up and running (in the case of a sports game, literally). They are particularly high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, and Vitamin B9 and crucially contain lots of water, which helps to keep you hydrated, per Medical News Today.

Orange slices and sports

Aside from being enjoyable and generally healthy, there are also some specific qualities that make oranges a favorite, both nutritionally and practically. According to Sports Casting, orange slices are a juicy, delicious way to keep players hydrated and refreshed while also providing crucial carb content that the body can quickly and efficiently turn into energy for playing. The popularity of orange slices is such that The Athletic reports that NFL teams are required by the league to "provide three dozen orange slices" for visiting teams during the halftimes of games.

Orange slices are also a great way for athletes to take in and retain fluids and electrolytes that were lost during the game through sweating, per The Pitch is Ours, and oranges are particularly rich in potassium, which acts as an electrolyte in the body. 

Keeping all these benefits in mind, the next time you see your local soccer mom slicing up a couple dozen oranges for the team, let them know they're the real MVP.