Orange juice isn't just delicious, it's also jam-packed properties that can benefit your health. With loads of vitamin C, antioxidants, and other key minerals, orange juice has been known to give a major boost to overall wellness.
In this article, we're gonna break down all the reasons why drinking OJ regularly can be good for you. From beefing up your immune system to keeping your heart healthy and helping out with digestion, there are many perks to drinking orange juice.
Origins of Citrus Fruits
Oranges were first grown in India, Southeast Asia, and China around 2500 B.C. The Romans were also big fans of oranges and brought young trees over from India to Italy way back in the first century A.D.
Fast forward a bit and Christopher Columbus himself planted orange orchards in Haiti after buying some seeds in 1493. Soon enough, Panama, Mexico, and even Brazil got in on the orange-growing action.
Did you know that the US didn't start growing oranges until 1513 when Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon planted the first orange trees? Pretty wild, right? Citrus made its way to Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia in the mid-1700s, and by 1790, America was exporting 3000 gallons of orange juice.
Benefits of Drinking Orange Juice
Let's look at all the amazing benefits of this citrus superstar.
1. Orange Juice is Rich in Nutrients
Orange juice is rich in several important nutrients, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium. In an 8-ounce (240-ml) serving of orange juice, you’ll find approximately:
- Calories: 110
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbs: 26 grams
- Vitamin C: 67% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Folate: 15% of the RDI
- Potassium: 10% of the RDI
- No caffeine!
2. Orange Juice can Promote Heart Health
Studies have shown that vitamin C, which is found in oranges, can help prevent heart disease. It keeps your cholesterol levels low and prevents the build-up of “bad” cholesterol in your arteries, which can lead to heart disease. Plus, the vitamin C also helps to prevent blood from clotting, reducing the risk of a heart attack.
And don't forget about the potassium in oranges – it can help lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Another cool thing about orange juice is that it contains Vitamin B9 and folate, which can help promote blood circulation and purification by assisting in the production of red blood cells.
Last but not least, there's hesperidin, a flavonoid found in oranges that helps maintain well-oxygenated blood flow. So, go ahead and enjoy a nice glass of orange juice – your heart will thank you for it!
3. Orange Juice Contains Antioxidants
Orange juice has loads of antioxidants. Antioxidants are important because they keep your body safe from free radicals that can cause illnesses. The antioxidants in orange juice that can protect you from serious illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Some antioxidants in orange juice include hesperidin, which helps your blood vessels work better, and carotenoids, which are great for your immune system.
4. Orange Juice Can Assist with Weight Maintenance
You know what's a great way to curb those pesky sweet cravings while getting a dose of vitamins and minerals? Orange juice! It's been a go-to for weight loss programs thanks to its low glycemic index and little fat content. But, watch out for the processed stuff as it can have a lot of added sugars. Stick to about 1/3 to 1 cup of pure orange juice for best results.
Did you know that the fiber in oranges can keep you full? That means less snacking and more weight loss potential. But, if you want to get the most out of that fiber, go for cold-pressed or freshly squeezed orange juice with pulp. The pasteurized, store-bought stuff just won't be as effective.
5. Orange Juice May Prevent Kidney Diseases
You know those mineral deposits called kidney stones that can form in your kidneys and cause agony? Well, turns out orange juice might just be the antidote! A study involving nearly 200,000 participants found that folks who drank orange juice on the regular had a 12% lower risk of getting kidney stones than those who hardly ever sipped on the stuff. Apparently, orange juice is chock-full of potassium citrate, which can up your body's citraturia (AKA citric acid) and increase the alkalinity of your urine.
6. Orange Juice Can Improve Vision
Orange juice is a great way to keep your eyes healthy! It's got vitamin A and carotene, which help protect your cornea and improve your vision. Plus, it's packed with carotenoids that help your body fight off bad things and act like antioxidants. Some experts even think carotenoids can help prevent serious eye problems like cataracts and macular degeneration.
7. Orange Juice May Decrease Inflammation
Drinking orange juice could be helpful in reducing inflammation, but it's definitely not a magical solution for all inflammatory issues. Orange juice is rich in antioxidants, like vitamin C and flavonoids, which are responsible for its anti-inflammatory effects. Vitamin C has the ability to neutralize harmful free radicals that can cause inflammation and damage cells. On the other hand, flavonoids are bioactive compounds found in citrus fruits that have anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have suggested that consuming orange juice and other citrus fruits may help decrease inflammation markers in the body, such as CRP and IL-6, which are often connected with systemic inflammation.
8. Orange Juice May Help Lower Cholesterol
Did you know that orange juice could actually help lower your cholesterol? It contains compounds like soluble fiber, vitamin C, and flavonoids. Soluble fiber works by binding to cholesterol in your gut, so your body can't absorb it into your bloodstream. And vitamin C helps prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis. Flavonoids also have an impact on cholesterol levels, helping to improve the ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol.
9. Orange Juice May Help Treat Anemia
We know that oranges are loaded with vitamin C. This nutrient actually helps your body absorb iron, which is super important for your overall health. So, if you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your iron-rich foods, sipping at least one serving of orange juice a day could do the trick. Plus, oranges also contain folic acid, which can help prevent megaloblastic anemia – a blood disorder that can make you feel exhausted.
10. Orange Juice Promotes Skin Health
Drinking orange juice has some serious skin benefits. Not only does it give your skin a natural glow, but it also helps cleanse it. Plus, when you have a glass of OJ, you're giving your skin a boost of vitamins E and C. These vitamins help revive skin cells and fight off blackheads and spots.
And if you're worried about sunburn, orange juice can help with that too. Carotenoids in orange juice protect your skin from harmful UV rays. In fact, studies indicate that regular consumption of fresh orange juice can increase the concentration of carotenoids in your skin.
Orange juice is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that do all kinds of great things for your body. Drinking it regularly can help with everything from healing to keeping your skin looking awesome, to keeping your heart healthy, and more. Just make sure you check the label if you opt to buy it from the store instead of making it at home. You want to go for 100% fresh cold-pressed orange juice with no added sugar.