Orange juice remains the most commonly consumed fruit juice in America. Though it is on many breakfast tables, the benefits of orange juice remain poorly understood, says a study published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. It is, however, a healthy drink for several reasons.
Provides Vitamin C
Drinking at least two glasses of orange juice per day increases the vitamin C concentration within the body by 40 to 64 percent, according to the said study published in the September 2003 “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Vitamin C, an essential vitamin that cannot be synthesized by the human body, is an important antioxidant, a substance that protects the body against the harmful effects of free radicals, the molecules that may cause tissue damage and early aging.
Protects Against Inflammation
The intake of glucose and high-fat meals induces the development of inflammatory reactions within the body. Inflammatory reactions lead to the development of increased insulin resistance, a common cause of Type 2 diabetes and atherosclerosis, the hardening of blood vessel walls due to fat deposition. As mentioned in a study published in the April 2010 “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” the intake of orange juice, together with a high-carbohydrate, high-fat meal, prevents the occurrence of inflammation within the body, making it a good preventive measure against the development of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis.
Improves Diastolic Blood Pressure
Regular orange juice consumption may improve diastolic blood pressure, suggests a study published by “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in January 2011. According to this study, orange juice contains hesperidin, a healthy water-soluble plant pigment. Hesperidin serves to improve the activity of small blood vessels, blood pressure and decrease the cardiovascular risk biomarkers in susceptible patients.
Decreases Bad Cholesterol Levels
Regular orange juice consumption may decrease low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in patients with high cholesterol, suggests a study published in the October 2010 issue of the “Nutrition Research.” However, the mechanism behind this blood cholesterol level improvement is still unclear. Further studies and clinical trials are necessary to further establish this fact.
- “Electronic Outlook Report from the Economic Research Service”; Characteristics of U.S. Orange Consumption; Pollack, S.L. et al.; August 2003
- “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”; Effect of Orange Juice Intake on Vitamin C Concentrations and Biomarkers of Antioxidant Status in Humans; C. Sanchez-Moreno, et al.; September 2003
- “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”; Orange Juice Neutralizes the Proinflammatory Effect of a High-fat, High-carbohydrate Meal and Prevents Endotoxin Increase and Toll-like Receptor Expression; H. Ghanim, et al.; April 2010
- “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”; Hesperidin Contributes to the Vascular Protective Effects of Orange Juice: a Randomized Crossover Study in Healthy Volunteers; C. Morand,. et al.; January 2011
- “Nutrition Research”; Orange Juice Decreases Low-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Hypercholesterolemic Subjects and Improves Lipid Transfer to High-density Lipoprotein in Normal and Hypercholesterolemic Subjects; T.B. Cesar, et al.; October 2010