Along with an entire day's supply of vitamin C, a cup of orange juice delivers potassium, folate and natural citrus bioflavonoids. These nutrients fill essential roles that support your metabolism and keep you healthy. They may also help lower your blood pressure. Each one individually influences blood pressure, so you get an extra measure of potential benefit when you consume them together in orange juice.
Role of Vitamin C
Orange juice is one of the best sources of vitamin C. Whether you squeeze juice from fresh oranges or go with the convenience of frozen concentrate, 1 cup provides at least 100 percent of your daily vitamin C. In addition to its antioxidant benefits, vitamin C may help lower blood pressure. After reviewing 29 studies, researchers concluded that vitamin C supplements reduced blood pressure in short-term studies. But more research is needed to determine its long-term effectiveness, according to a report in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in May 2012. Additionally, the study used supplements, so the same results may not be achieved by drinking orange juice.
Potassium Offsets Sodium
The total amount of sodium and potassium in your diet affects your blood pressure. Sodium makes it go up, while potassium counterbalances sodium and helps lower blood pressure. Research studies show that consuming more potassium reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension and is likely beneficial for most people, as long as they don't have kidney disease, according to a review published in the April 2013 issue of "BMJ." Most Americans only get about half of their recommended dietary allowance for potassium. Drinking 1 cup of orange juice allows you to gain at least 8 percent of your daily potassium.
Citrus Bioflavonoids Have an Impact
Oranges and other citrus fruits produce a group of phytochemicals called citrus bioflavonoids. One of them -- hesperidin -- functions as an antioxidant and may help lower cholesterol, according to information from DrugBank. When healthy, moderately overweight men drank orange juice every day for four weeks, their diastolic blood pressure went down. The researchers, who were searching for hesperidin's role, concluded that the bioflavonoid was likely linked to the beneficial effects, according to their report published in the January 2011 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." A study using laboratory rats found that regular consumption of hesperidin helped prevent hypertension, according to the "Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology" in 2013.
Folate for Lower Risk
Orange juice is a good source of the B vitamin folate. Your body needs folate to synthesize DNA and metabolize amino acids, but it may also help you avoid hypertension. Men and women who consumed more folate beginning in their young adult years were at lower risk for high blood pressure 20 years later, according to research published in May 2012 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." One cup of orange juice from concentrate provides 12 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for folate, while fresh orange juice contains nearly 20 percent of the RDA.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Effects of Vitamin C Supplementation on Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
- BMJ: Effect of Increased Potassium Intake on Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Disease: Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses
- Food Surveys Research Group Dietary Data Brief No. 10: Potassium Intake of the U.S. Population: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2009-2010
- DrugBank: Hesperetin
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Hesperidin Contributes to the Vascular Protective Effects of Orange Juice: A Randomized Crossover Study in Healthy Volunteers
- Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology: Effects of Continuous Ingestion of Hesperidin and Glucosyl Hesperidin on Vascular Gene Expression in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Folate Intake and Incidence of Hypertension Among American Young Adults: A 20-Year Follow-Up Study
- Linus Pauling Institute: Folic Acid
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Orange Juice, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Orange Juice, Frozen Concentrate, Unsweetened, Diluted With 3 Volume Water
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes
- American Heart Association: Striking a Balance: Less Sodium (Salt), More Potassium