Most people enjoy a glass of orange juice from time to time. However, you may not realize that this wonderfully refreshing beverage also has the power to substantially improve your health in a range of fascinating ways. Some of its properties will have an influence on your digestive system, while others can reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Read on to discover ten of the most significant and compelling reasons why orange juice should be a regular part of your diet.
1) It boosts your cardiovascular health
There are a few different reasons why your heart will thank you if you choose to drink orange juice on a daily basis. For one thing, orange juice is rich in potassium and magnesium, and both of these nutrients promote healthy blood pressure levels – 1 cup (248 g) of orange juice can meet 6% of your magnesium RDA (recommended dietary allowance) and 14% of your potassium RDA. In addition, oranges contain something called hesperidin, which can lower levels of LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), thereby reducing your risk of developing heart disease. Further, one recent study found that participants who regularly consumed one extra serving of orange juice per day were around 20% less likely to suffer from a stroke, though the precise reason for this result has yet to be discovered.
2) It helps your respiratory system:
Orange juice is rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, which is linked to a reduced risk of lung cancer. Specifically, test subjects who consumed the highest amounts of this carotenoid were shown to be over 25% less likely to develop any type of lung malignancy. This health benefit of orange juice may be of particular interest to smokers, as smokers who have a diet high in beta-cryptoxanthin are around 35% less likely to end up suffering from lung cancer (when compared to other smokers).
3) It may reduce your chances of developing ulcers:
Orange juice is currently the subject of investigations that aim to discover whether it is definitively linked to a lowered risk of gastric ulcers. Thus far, it has been established that people who have high levels of vitamin C in their systems are at least 25% less likely to be infected with H. pylori (a bacterium that can cause peptic ulcers). However, scientists are as yet unsure whether this result is to be explained by H. pylori lowering your levels of vitamin C, or by vitamin C having an ability to protect you against H. pylori. If the latter hypothesis proves to be correct, drinking orange juice may be a smart way to protect your body from gastric ulcers.
4) It reduces your likelihood of developing kidney stones:
When you drink plenty of orange juice, this ensures that your urine contains greater levels of citric acid and is of a higher pH value. Studies on kidney stones suggest that these urinary changes may help to significantly decrease your chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones.
5) It improves your resistance to disease:
Just one serving of orange juice provides you with more than 115% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. As you may be aware, there is evidence that a diet that is high in vitamin C supports immune function, helping your body to fight any invading bacteria and viruses. As a bonus, orange juice is also an excellent source of beta-carotene, which your body transforms into vitamin A (another nutrient that supports a healthy immune system).
6) It may help to prevent you from developing anemia:
Orange juice is a very good source of iron, which is an essential component of your red blood cells. If you have plenty of iron at your disposal, your blood will be better able to provide oxygen to the rest of your body, and you will be less likely to suffer from anemia.
7) It reduces your risk of developing a range of cancers:
Orange juice appears to be able to offer a degree of protection against certain types of malignant tumors. In particular, those who consume plenty of orange juice (as well as other citrus fruits and fruit juices) can be up to 50% less likely to develop cancers of the oral cavity and voice box.
8) It supports digestive health:
If you want to keep your stomach and intestines in good condition, orange juice is an excellent addition to your diet. Firstly, orange juice provides you with plenty of fiber, helping to prevent constipation. Secondly, a group of Australian scientists recently discovered that people who drink orange juice on a regular basis are up to 50% less likely to develop cancers of the digestive tract or stomach.
9) It has anti-inflammatory properties:
Thanks to the presence of hesperetin and naringenin, orange juice may be a particularly good choice for people who have arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. These two flavonoids can decrease inflammation levels, and may be able to reduce chronic pain as a result.
10) Drinking orange juice is more beneficial than taking vitamin C supplements:
Finally, you may think that taking vitamin C supplements would be just as good for you as drinking orange juice, but one intriguing Italian study suggests that this is not the case. Specifically, scientists found that test subjects who took supplements instead of drinking orange juice were less able to resist the type of DNA damage that is characteristic of exposure to dangerous free radicals.