The refreshing aroma of orange juice first thing in the morning is a sure pick-me-up. Traditionally drinking freshly squeezed orange juice has been recommended in the mornings to revive sluggish system and boost health.
Many consider orange juice as one of healthiest juices to have because of the presence of highly potent antioxidants like phenols that shield our bodies from oxidation.
In fact, having just one orange provides you with 116 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement. It also has health-boosting flavonoids like hesperidin, narirutin, naringin, and eriocitrin.
Orange is also rich in folic acid, potassium, pectin, carotenoids, and phytochemicals. In a pilot study done to note the efficacy of orange juice as a source of antioxidants and phytochemicals showed that orange juice is an excellent food source that enhances the concentrations of beneficial hydrophilic as well as lipophilic phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are plant chemicals that help reduce oxidation, boost immune system, fight many diseases like cancer and heart diseases, among others.
Can orange juice be bad for anyone?
Though research proves that there are many health benefits of drinking orange juice, there are flip sides, too.
For instance, excessive drinking of orange juice can harm your tooth enamel and wear it down. The acidic reaction on the teeth harms the enamel and the gum and causes sensitive teeth.
- What is really harmful to your health is sugar-sweetened orange. It has an adverse effect on your sugar levels, bone joints, and weight. While, freshly squeezed unadulterated orange juice supplies a good dose of healing antioxidants, packaged orange drinks with extra sugar added can lead to weight gain. It also leads to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
- By drinking sugar-sweetened orange juice with high levels of fructose, you are at a higher level of risk of developing gout, a common, and very painful inflammatory arthritis.
Adding orange juice to your daily diet does aid in weight loss. If you are concerned about fructose levels or looking to add more fibre to your diet, then having a whole fruit is just as good. Having an orange instead of the juice also keeps you fuller longer.
Health benefits of orange juice
Here’s a detailed look at what daily consumption of orange juice can offer you.
Better immune system
Drinking orange juice daily can help increase the concentration of vitamin C or ascorbic acid, a key disease-fighting nutrient, in your body. Vitamin C is not produced in the human body and it has to come from plant sources like oranges. Studies have shown vitamin C to boost the health of immune system cells.
Adequate intake of vitamin C and zinc shortens the duration of respiratory tract infections including the common cold, reduce the incidence and improve the outcome of pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea infections.
Protects skin from UV damage
UV radiation from the sun is damaging to the skin. In the short term, the effects include sunburn, photosensitivity reactions, and immunologic suppression while it can lead to photo aging or malignant skin tumours in the long run. A combination of vitamin C and E is found to protect the skin from UV damage. Vitamin C is excellent for collagen production that plays a vital role in keeping your skin young. Not much vitamin C reaches your skin when orally ingested, so topical application is found to have a positive effect on the photo damaged skin.
Orange juice also supplies your body with vitamin A and carotenoids, the antioxidant that helps in skin rejuvenation.
Prevents inflammation and oxidative stress
Drinking orange juice with a meal rich in fat and high in carbohydrates prevents post-meal oxidative stress in the body. A clinical study done by the endocrinologists at State University of New York at Buffalo in 2010 showed that having orange juice with a high-fat, high-carbohydrate fast-food meal neutralizes the inflammatory stress generated by the unhealthy food and helps in preventing blood vessel damage.
The study researchers found that since orange juice is loaded with flavonoids like naringenin and hesperidin, it has a strong preventive effect on free radicals. They are unable to induce inflammation in the blood vessel linings and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Protects against hypertension
Hesperidin, a major flavonoid present in orange juice, helps to control blood pressure and hypertension. According to a study, drinking 500 ml of orange juice daily helped middle-aged overweight people in lowering their blood pressure and their overall heart health.
Gets rid of bad cholesterol
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 percent, triacylglycerol concentrations by 30 percent and folate concentrations by 18 percent. It also decreased the LDL-HDL cholesterol ratio by 16 percent.
Prevents cancerous growth
Daily consumption of orange juice inhibits cancerous tumour 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 also shown to protect against colon cancer.
Fights kidney stone formation
Research shows that orange juice, which has high citrate levels, can help maintain body’s natural pH balance. It also reduces uric acid levels, which are known to cause kidney stones. Drinking orange juice daily also helps in preventing the formation of calcium phosphate, thus protecting the kidneys from harmful calcareous stones.