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10 Health Benefits Orange Juice Can Offer You

Is It Good To Drink Orange Juice Everyday?

Orange juice can boost your immunity, protect against cell damage and inflammation, lower blood pressure, balance cholesterol levels, and protect the skin from UV damage. But these benefits can only be found in fresh juice, not packaged juices. Choose unsweetened fresh cold-pressed juice or, better still, a whole orange.

Orange juice is a staple beverage at the American breakfast thanks to its high amount of vitamin C and other antioxidants like hesperidin, narirutin, naringenin, and eriocitrin. These protect the body from damage caused by free radicals and prevent a number of diseases.1 4 But before we look at the benefits orange juice offers, you need to know that eating a whole orange is better than drinking a glass of juice.

A 248 g cup (about 8 oz) of orange juice meets:

 

  • 137% of your daily need for vitamin C
  • 18.5% of folate
  • 10.5% of potassium
  • 9% of vitamin A
  • 4.9% of vitamin B6
  • 6.7% of magnesium
  • 2.7% of calcium2

A medium sized orange (131 g) provides 12% dietary fiber, in addition to all the nutrients the juice provides. It is this fiber that makes all the difference. Oranges have a lot of fructose besides glucose and sucrose – totaling to 20.83 g in an 8 oz serving of freshly squeezed unsweetened juice – but these are bound to insoluble fiber. When you eat a whole orange, the insoluble fibers slow down the release of sugar. However, when you juice the fruit, the sugars are separated from the fiber and are readily absorbed into your body, causing a blood glucose spike. This is why diabetics should have a whole orange rather than the juice.3 Recent research has also linked fructose with insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A cohort study has also found that while whole fruits reduce diabetes risk, fruit juices increase the risk.5 But if you can compensate for the sugar intake and limit yourself to 150 ml of orange juice a day, these are the health benefits you would get.

1. Boosts Immunity

The first benefit one can associate with oranges or any other citrus fruits is their high levels of vitamin C. An 8 oz cup of orange juice offers a staggering 137% of your daily vitamin C need if you are male and 165% if you are female. Vitamin C has several benefits for the body, from the growth and repair of your tissues to keeping the bones, teeth, cartilage, and blood vessels healthy. As an antioxidant, it neutralizes free radicals and prevents cell damage. Vitamin C also helps immune cells like phagocytes and T-cells function well, which is why people are advised to have citrus fruits to bump up their immunity.6 7

In fact, adequate intake of vitamin C and zinc shortens the duration of respiratory tract infections including the common cold. These two can also reduce the incidence and improve the outcome of pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea infections.8

2. Prevents Inflammation

Since oranges are a rich source of antioxidants, they also exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, a study found that if you drink orange juice with a meal rich in fat and carbohydrates, you can prevent the oxidative stress and inflammation triggered in your body by these free radical-generating food items. This helps in preventing blood vessel damage and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.9

3. Lowers High Blood Pressure

Hesperidin, a major flavonoid present in orange juice, helps to control high blood pressure or hypertension. According to a study, drinking 500 ml of orange juice daily helped middle-aged overweight people lower their blood pressure and improve their overall heart health.10

4. Balances Cholesterol Levels

Vitamin C, folate, and flavonoids in orange juice help decrease the LDL or bad cholesterol levels. Orange juice has a positive effect on blood lipid level as well. Consumption of 750 ml orange juice daily has been found to increase the HDL or good cholesterol concentrations by 21%, triacylglycerol concentrations by 30%, and folate concentrations by 18%. It also decreased the LDL-HDL cholesterol ratio by 16 percent.11

5. Improves Heart Health

Orange juice has a lot going for it when it comes to heart health. As mentioned earlier, hespiridin reduces blood pressure, while other beneficial nutrients in the fruit help balance cholesterol levels. That apart, orange juice has a high amount of potassium compared to a negligible amount of sodium – a heart-healthy composition – as well as a considerable amount of magnesium. A high magnesium intake is known to reduce the risk of heart disease.12

6. May Have Special Benefits For Smokers

While beta-carotene supplementation has been known to increase the risk of lung cancer among smokers, getting carotenoids from food is beneficial.

Oranges contain a carotenoid called beta-cryptoxanthin in high amounts. In a couple of animal and laboratory studies, it was found that beta-cryptoxanthin decreased the number of tumors caused by exposure to a chemical called NNK, a carcinogenic byproduct of tobacco smoke. It also reduced inflammation of the lung and shortness of breath (emphysema) caused by tobacco smoke. And researchers suggest that rather than supplements, eating whole foods like oranges, pumpkins, or sweet peppers is sufficient to lower the risk of lung tumors among smokers.13

7. May Prevent Anemia

If you have a vegetarian diet and are at risk of low iron intake, orange juice can help you avert anemia to a certain extent. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from plant sources. Do note that this may not be sufficient to prevent anemia. You would need to eat a lot of iron-rich vegetables and even take iron supplements if your levels are too low.

8. Prevents Cancerous Growth

Daily consumption of orange juice inhibits cancerous tumor growth. In a study on rats, it was found that feeding double strength orange juice delayed the onset of chemically induced mammary cancer in rats. This antitumor property of orange juice is thanks to hesperidin, the flavonoid present in the juice. It has shown to protect against colon cancer as well.14

9. Prevents Kidney Stone Formation

Research shows that orange juice is beneficial for your kidneys. The citric acid in orange juice binds to the calcium in your body and prevents the formation of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate stones, two common types of kidney stones. It also reduces uric acid levels, which are known to cause kidney stones.15

10. Improves Skin And Protects From UV Damage

Orange juice can keep your skin healthy, young, and firm thanks to the collagen-boosting vitamin C. But that’s not all. As a rich source of vitamin C, it can also protect the skin from UV damage.16 Orange juice also supplies your body with vitamin A and carotenoids, antioxidants that helps in skin repair and rejuvenation.17

Choose Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice Over Packaged Juices

There’s a caveat, however. You will not get these benefits in packaged orange juice. Commercial orange juice is almost always loaded with sugar, additives like artificial flavor, and preservatives. Even if you find 100% juice, chances are it has been pasteurized and has lost most nutrients. As a result, not only do you not get the benefits, you also tend to suffer from health issues like weight gain and diabetes.18 It also increases your risk of developing gout, a common and painful inflammatory arthritis.19 Even juice from concentrate may be highly processed. But the silver lining is that not all juice from concentrate is bad. If you read the label carefully and eliminate any variety that contains high-fructose corn syrup or other artificial sweeteners, you may get closest to the whole fruit, sans the fiber. Remember to have no more than 150 ml a day.20

For optimum health benefits, like we emphasized before, eat an orange a day. But if you cannot have the whole fruit, choose freshly squeezed orange juice. Cold press the fruit to retain all nutrients and do not add any sugar or artificial sweetener to it. You may also try blending the fruit to retain some of the fiber. Also remember that while there’s no harm in having an orange a day as part of your 5 fruits and veggies a day, try other citrus fruits as well so that you reap the benefits of a wide variety of antioxidants and plant chemicals.

References   [ + ]

1. Rapisarda, Paolo, Antonio Tomaino, Rossella Lo Cascio, Francesco Bonina, Anna De Pasquale, and Antonella Saija. “Antioxidant effectiveness as influenced by phenolic content of fresh orange juices.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 47, no. 11 (1999): 4718-4723.
2. Basic Report: 09206, Orange juice, raw. USDA.
3. What Fruit Juice Can People With Diabetes Drink? Diabetes.co.uk.
4. Milind, Parle, and Chaturvedi Dev. “Orange: range of benefits.” Int Res J Pharm 3, no. 7 (2012): 59-63.
5. Muraki, Isao, Fumiaki Imamura, JoAnn E. Manson, Frank B. Hu, Walter C. Willett, Rob M. van Dam, and Qi Sun. “Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies.” Bmj 347 (2013): f5001.
6. Ströhle, A., and Andreas Hahn. “Vitamin C and immune function.” Medizinische Monatsschrift fur Pharmazeuten 32, no. 2 (2009): 49-54.
7. Pavlovic, Voja, and M. Sarac. “A short overview of vitamin C and selected cells of the immune system.” Central European journal of medicine 6, no. 1 (2011): 1-10.
8. Wintergerst, Eva S., Silvia Maggini, and Dietrich H. Hornig. “Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions.” Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 50, no. 2 (2006): 85-94.
9. Flavonoids in Orange Juice Suppress Oxidative Stress from High-Fat, High-Carb Meal. University at Buffalo.
10. Morand, Christine, Claude Dubray, Dragan Milenkovic, Delphine Lioger, Jean François Martin, Augustin Scalbert, and Andrzej Mazur. “Hesperidin contributes to the vascular protective effects of orange juice: a randomized crossover study in healthy volunteers.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 93, no. 1 (2011): 73-80.
11. Kurowska, Elzbieta M., J. David Spence, John Jordan, Stephen Wetmore, David J. Freeman, Leonard A. Piché, and Paula Serratore. “HDL-cholesterol-raising effect of orange juice in subjects with hypercholesterolemia.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 72, no. 5 (2000): 1095-1100.
12. Del Gobbo, Liana C., Fumiaki Imamura, Jason HY Wu, Marcia C. de Oliveira Otto, Stephanie E. Chiuve, and Dariush Mozaffarian. “Circulating and dietary magnesium and risk of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies–.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 98, no. 1 (2013): 160-173.
13. Iskandar, Anita R., Benchun Miao, Xinli Li, Kang-Quan Hu, Chun Liu, and Xiang-Dong Wang. “β-Cryptoxanthin Reduced Lung Tumor Multiplicity and Inhibited Lung Cancer Cell Motility by Downregulating Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor α7 Signaling.” Cancer Prevention Research 9, no. 11 (2016): 875-886.
14. Miyagi, Y., A. S. Om, K. M. Chee, and M. R. Bennink. “Inhibition of azoxymethane-induced colon cancer by orange juice.” Nutrition and cancer 36, no. 2 (2000): 224-229.
15. Wabner, C. L., and C. Y. Pak. “Effect of orange juice consumption on urinary stone risk factors.” The Journal of urology 149, no. 6 (1993): 1405-1408.
16. Eberlein-König, Bernadette, Marianne Placzek, and Bernhard Przybilla. “Protective effect against sunburn of combined systemic ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and d-α-tocopherol (vitamin E).” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 38, no. 1 (1998): 45-48.
17. De Pee, S., C. E. West, D. Permaesih, S. Martuti, and J. G. Hautvast. “Orange fruit is more effective than are dark-green, leafy vegetables in increasing serum concentrations of retinol and beta-carotene in schoolchildren in Indonesia.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 68, no. 5 (1998): 1058-1067.
18. Malik, Vasanti S., Barry M. Popkin, George A. Bray, Jean-Pierre Després, Walter C. Willett, and Frank B. Hu. “Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes care 33, no. 11 (2010): 2477-2483.
19. Choi, Hyon K., Walter Willett, and Gary Curhan. “Fructose-rich beverages and risk of gout in women.” Jama 304, no. 20 (2010): 2270-2278.
20. Should I still drink fruit juice? BBC Good Food.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.