Orange juice, as you can probably guess, is the juice squeezed from the popular and delicious citrus fruit, oranges. It is considered as one of the healthiest beverages because of its wide range of health benefits, which include its ability to boost immunity, reduce signs of aging, prevent cancer, boost cellular repair and metabolism, detoxify the body, improve circulation and blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower cholesterol levels.
Oranges have been a staple of eating healthy for thousands of years, and these fruits originated somewhere in Southeast Asia. Historical records of oranges date back as far as China, more than 4,500 years ago. They are one of the most popular citrus fruits with a scientific name Citrus sinensis. There are a number of orange varieties, but this is the sweet orange, the most popular and commonly eaten variety. It provides some of the most delicious types of orange juice, although there are some people who prefer the juice from blood oranges, mandarin oranges or even bitter oranges.
The orange juice can be just as beneficial as eating the fruit whole, provided it is 100% natural and is not loaded with preservatives, additives, and sugar. The closest thing to eating an orange would be drinking a glass of unpasteurized, freshly squeezed orange juice. The skin and pulp of oranges do have considerable health benefits, but you can get most of the nutrients and beneficial components from orange juice too.
Orange Juice Nutrition Facts
According to USDA National Nutrient Database, orange juice contains vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin A, thiamin, folate, potassium, fiber, proteins, copper, magnesium, flavonoids, hesperidin, and a variety of other trace vitamins and minerals that make it one of the most valuable and nutrient-packed fruits available. In terms of calories, orange juice has 47 calories in a serving of 100ml.
Health Benefits of Orange Juice
Let’s explore the health benefits of this fruit juice in more detail below.
Boosts Immune System
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, with the help of a 2003 research study, claims that orange juice is a rich source of vitamin C. A single serving of orange juice has more than 200% of the vitamin C requirement of the body. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, functions as a primary antioxidant in the body, and it destroys or neutralizes free radicals before they can do damage to the body. Our body needs vitamin C to stimulate other aspects of our immune system as well. Furthermore, ascorbic acid is one of the fundamental components of collagen, which is necessary to repair cells and for the growth of new tissues in the body.
Vitamin C works as an antioxidant, and one of the most important functions of antioxidants is to prevent cancer. According to research conducted by Dr. Carmia Borek, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, antioxidants keep the DNA of healthy cells from mutating into cancerous cells, which makes vitamin C the first line of defense against cancer and other serious diseases. Along with vitamin C, orange juice also contains the antioxidant hesperidin, which has been connected to reducing tumor growth and stimulating apoptosis or programmed cell death, in cancerous cells. Although research is ongoing, it has positively been linked to colon cancer prevention, but it is likely that hesperidin is effective in terms of many types of cancer.
Detoxifies your Body
Orange juice is also very high in vitamin A, which acts as a moderate antioxidant. Beyond that, it detoxifies the body by increasing the function of the kidneys. Vitamin A has long been connected to eye health, and adding enough vitamin A to your diet can prevent night blindness, as well as macular degeneration. A single serving of orange juice has nearly 50% of the daily required intake of this precious vitamin.
Increases Blood Circulation
Dr. Streiff, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, in his research, has concluded that orange juice is a rich dietary source of folate. Folate is a member of the B complex, technically it is vitamin B9. This important vitamin is essential for the creation of DNA and the growth of new cells. Folate also keeps cells safe from mutation, which is one of the ways that free radicals damage the body. Furthermore, folate plays a role in building new red blood cells, as well as stimulating the flow of blood to the extremities. This means that the organ systems are well-oxygenated and are working at full capacity. This supports the overall metabolism of the body and the functioning of all the systems, making them more efficient.
Citrus fruits are commonly considered anti-inflammatory agents, and orange juice is no exception. High sugar and high-fat meals can lead to inflammation of various body parts, and this, in turn, can lead to the development of increased insulin resistance. This is one of the major underlying causes of type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that orange juice can inhibit this insulin resistance by reducing inflammation, thereby protecting the heart and guaranteeing overall cardiovascular protection.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Dr. Christine Morand, a member of Scientific Council of the Food Research Department at INRA, led research suggesting that hesperidin, in orange juice, is an antioxidant, which means that it protects the body against diseases and cancer, but this water-soluble plant compound also impacts the activity and functioning of small blood vessels. This can have a major impact on blood pressure as a whole, and research has connected this powerful antioxidant to a reduction in overall blood pressure and a decreased chance of cardiovascular diseases.
Balances Cholesterol Level
High cholesterol is one of the dangerous causes of cardiovascular diseases, so any way to reduce the cholesterol in your body is worth trying. Orange juice has been shown to reduce the presence and effects of “bad” cholesterol while increasing the amount of “good” cholesterol in the body. This property means that the chances of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke are reduced.