I bet you have had some OJ with your breakfast, but do you know the benefits of orange juice? Read on to know why it’s the perfect breakfast companion!
Orange juice is a popular beverage consumed by millions of people worldwide. It’s not only delicious, but it also boasts numerous health benefits that can contribute to overall wellness.
In this article, we’ll explore the many benefits of orange juice and why you should consider incorporating it into your daily diet.
Orange Juice Nutrition
Orange juice is high in various essential nutrients. However, it’s very high in calories which may not be suitable for some people, such as those with diabetes or on a low-carb diet.
Instead, eating the whole orange would be better because it contains fiber, which can help slow down the effects of the calories during digestion.
With that aside, one cup of freshly squeezed orange juice can provide up to:
- Sugar:21 grams
- Carbohydrates:25.8 grams
- Protein:1.7 grams
- Fat:0.1 grams
- Fiber: 0.5 grams
- Vitamin C: 124 milligrams, or 207 percent of the daily value (DV)
- Folate: 74.4 micrograms, or 19 percent DV
- Thiamine: 0.2 milligrams, or 15 percent DV
- Potassium: 496 milligrams, or 14 percent DV
- Vitamin A: 296 international units, or 10 percent DV
- Magnesium: 27.3 milligrams, or 7 percent DV
- Niacin: 1 milligram, or 5 percent DV
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 milligrams, or 5 percent DV
- Pantothenic acid: 0.5 milligrams, or 5 percent DV
- Copper: 0.1 milligrams, or 5 percent DV
- Riboflavin: 0.1 milligrams, or 4 percent DV
- Phosphorus: 42.2 milligrams, or 4 percent DV
Freshly squeezed orange juice is also high in antioxidants, which are essential compounds that protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals.
Health Benefits of Orange Juice:
This citrus fruit contains a high vitamin C concentration, essential for boosting the immune system and preventing illnesses.
Additionally, orange juice contains other essential vitamins and minerals that are vital for maintaining optimal health.
1. High in vitamin C
Citrus fruits like oranges are the best sources of vitamin C, an essential water-soluble vitamin needed for various bodily functions, including boosting immunity.
This is because vitamin C promotes the production of white blood cells that help prevent and fight infections.
Vitamin C also helps these white blood cells to work effectively by protecting them against oxidative damage from free radicals.
People with low vitamin C levels have been shown to have poor disease outcomes. For example, one study found that people with low vitamin C levels took longer to recover from pneumonia infection than when vitamin C was supplemented.
Besides strengthening the immune system, vitamin C is also essential for healthy skin and can also promote iron absorption in the body.
For example, a study found that taking just 100 milligrams of vitamin C increased iron absorption by up to 67%.
Additionally, this vitamin can improve heart health, protect your memory and thinking as you age, manage high blood pressure, and lower the risk of heart disease.
2. It’s a good source of folate
Folate, or vitamin B9 is another essential nutrient needed for various functions, including the formation of DNA and other genetic materials. DNA is a genetic material passed into you by your parents that determines your characteristics.
Folate is also necessary for the production of white and red blood cells in the bone marrow, maintaining normal blood pressure, reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration, and, promoting healthy embryo development.
3. A good source of antioxidants
Antioxidants are natural compounds that promote the health of your cells and tissues by promoting the stability of free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that are easy to react and can cause damage. This often leads to chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Drinking a glass of orange juice has been shown to boost antioxidant levels in the body by up to 60 percent, which can help keep you protected.
4. Orange juice can help lower inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s immune system’s response to an irritant. This could be anything from a germ to a foreign body. While this process is beneficial to protect you, too many inflammatory compounds for an extended period of time can cause damage and diseases to develop.
The antioxidants in citrus fruits, including flavonoids hesperidin and hesperetin, have been shown to fight inflammation.
In one study, pure orange juice lowered inflammatory markers and oxidative stress in healthy adults and those at risk of chronic diseases. This was due to the high level of flavonoid antioxidants as well as vitamin C.
However, researchers recommend more studies about the same since the number of participants was small and there could have been some biasness.
5. Orange juice may boost gut health
Orange juice with pulp can help boost the health of your digestive system. This is because the fiber helps feed the good gut bacteria, which helps increase their number and benefits.
Common benefits of gut bacteria include suppressing the effects of harmful bacteria in the gut, fighting inflammation, and protecting the gut lining against damage.
A healthy gut can also boost your mental health and overall well-being by boosting the immune system.
6. Orange juice may prevent kidney stones
Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and acid salts that bind together to form stone-like substances when the urine is highly concentrated.
While they form in the kidneys, some stones can move to the ureters ( the tubes leading to the bladder), resulting in symptoms such as severe pain, nausea, and blood in the urine.
Orange juice is alkaline and has been shown to alkalize the urine, meaning it can increase your urine PH, which will make it difficult for the stones to form.
In one study, people consuming orange juice at least once daily reduced their risk of developing kidney stones by up to 12% compared to those who took less than one serving per week.
Another study also found that orange juice reduced the risk factors for developing kidney stones compared to lemonade.
7. Orange juice could lower cholesterol
Cholesterol is a type of lipid or fat found in the blood. It performs various essential functions including building healthy cells, making hormones, and producing bile which is essential for digestion. However, too much cholesterol can be harmful to your health as it increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, among other issues.
According to different studies, orange juice may help lower cholesterol levels.
One study found that long-term orange juice consumption reduced both LDL and total cholesterol in healthy individuals and those with slightly elevated cholesterol levels.
8. Orange juice can lower high blood pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is when the force of your blood against the arterial walls is higher than normal. If not controlled, high blood pressure can cause complications like heart disease, stroke, or heart attack.
Among other interventions, drinking orange juice regularly may contribute to maintaining low blood pressure levels.
One reason for this is that orange juice is high in antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and improve vascular health.
Also, orange juice contains potassium, an essential mineral that can relax blood vessel walls and reduce the tension that increases blood pressure. Potassium can also regulate blood pressure by controlling sodium, another mineral that causes blood pressure to rise.
In a review of 19 studies, drinking fruit juice was shown to lower diastolic blood pressure.
Very high in sugar
With a cup of orange juice containing 21 grams of sugar, it may not be the best choice to consume regularly. And since it lacks the fiber to help fill you up, you’re likely to drink more than you need.
With time, this may cause weight gain and insulin resistance, which can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, among other issues.
Besides, most commercially produced fruit juices, including orange Juice, contain added sugar. And according to research, sugar-sweetened beverages have been shown to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
To help lower these effects, always add back the pulp.
Orange juice is high in calories
A calorie is the amount of energy in the food or drink. The body uses the calories in food as a fuel source, but when we eat or drink more calories than the body needs, we store the excess as fat. Again, with time, this may cause you to gain weight.
The Healthiest Orange Juice to Buy
There are many different types of orange juice in the market, and it can be hard to know which one is the healthiest. However, there are a few things you can look for when choosing an orange juice that will help you make the healthiest choice.
First, you want to ensure that the juice is 100% orange and doesn’t have any added sugars or artificial sweeteners. You may also want to go with a variety that contains supplemental vitamins C and D if packed since most Americans are low on these two nutrients.
If you’re in a place that offers freshly squeezed juice, the better. However, it may cost more than the other counterparts. The easiest alternative is to squeeze your own at home.
Secondly, you want to choose an orange juice that’s been cold-pressed, as this will preserve more of the nutrients than a variety that has gone through additional heat and oxygen during processing.
Finally, if you want to benefit from fiber in the oranges, look for a variety that contains the pulp. A single serving of orange juice with pulp can offer around 0.5-1 gram of fiber which can add up to the daily recommended amount of 25 – 34 grams per day, according to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).
Is Orange Juice and Orange Juice Concentrate the same Thing?
Though orange juice and orange juice concentrate comes from the same fruit, they are not the same.
Orange juice is a fresh product made from oranges that have been squeezed with or without pasteurization.
On the other hand, orange juice concentrate is a processed product made from oranges that have been squeezed and then had the water removed through evaporation.
This makes it more shelf-stable than orange juice, but it also means that it needs to be reconstituted with water before it can be consumed. Orange juice concentrate is often used to make orange juice in commercial settings.
If you choose to drink the concentrate, read the labels carefully to ensure it contains real oranges. Most of them can be mixed with sugar and coloring to achieve orange juice’s exact color and flavor.
Also, look for 100% orange concentrate that has been fortified with vitamins C and D. To prepare the juice, follow the instructions on the packaging.
How Much Orange Juice Should You Drink In a Day
There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on a variety of factors, such as weight, health status, and activity level. However, most experts agree that the average person should consume at most one cup (8 ounces) of orange juice per day.
If you are trying to lose weight or improve your health, limit your intake of orange juice and other sugary drinks. As I mentioned earlier, people who consume sugary drinks regularly are more likely to be overweight or obese. They also have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.
On the other hand, if you are an active person who exercises regularly, you can get away with drinking more orange juice. The nutrients in orange juice can help replenish your body after a workout. Just be sure to choose 100% fresh squeezed orange juice with no added sugar.
The American Heart Association also recommends that it be consumed with meals to help reduce its impact on blood sugar levels.
Also, experts recommend taking orange juice with the pulp to minimize its effect on blood sugar.
Orange juice is a nutrient-rich beverage that can provide numerous health benefits.
It is an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and folate, and can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Regularly consuming orange juice may lower your risk of heart disease and boost your immune system.
That being said, orange juice is high in sugar, making it less suitable for those with diabetes or those watching their calorie intake.
If you have no underlying issues that can be affected by high glucose levels, a moderate intake with a healthy diet can greatly improve your overall health and well-being.
More About Citrus Fruits:
- Lemon Water
- Grapefruit vs. Orange
- Best Fruits With Vitamin C
- Seville Oranges
- 10 Low Carb Fruits for Diabetics
- Are Clementines Good For You?
- Ugli Fruit
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