Orange juice is a popular beverage both in America and in most of the world. Most orange juice consumed is the one bought in cartons that is usually made from concentrate. While the obvious choice for convenience, it is not as nutritious and tasty as homemade freshly squeezed juice. It is important to store juice in the refrigerator once it is opened and consume within three to seven days, according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Fruit and vegetable juices are a healthier alternative to soft drinks and carry various nutritional benefits.
Orange juice is a rich source of vitamin C, an antioxidant vitamin that helps to fight damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals can come from environmental pollutants or can be produced within the body. This vitamin is also important in the formation of collagen, which is a component of connective tissue, bone and blood vessels. Vitamin C is also important in wound healing and enhances the absorption of calcium and iron. Thus people with iron or
Orange juice is also a good source of potassium, thiamine, phosphorus, folate, vitamin B6 and flavonoids. Flavonoids are plant substances that according to the October 2010 issue of the “British Journal of Nutrition” can exert powerful actions on cognition and may reverse age-related declines in memory and learning. While normal filtered orange juice is poor in fiber, pulp-containing juice is also available, which retains most of the fiber in oranges.
A study reported in the October 2010 issue of “Nutrition Research” investigated the effects of orange juice consumption on lipid levels and lipid metabolism. It was found that after 60 days of orange juice consumption at 750 ml per day, LDL cholesterol was decreased in subjects with elevated cholesterol but not in individuals with normal levels. LDL cholesterol is the harmful type of cholesterol. Moreover, it was found that in both hypercholesterolemic and normocholesterolemic subjects, orange juice consumption was found to result in an increased ability of HDL cholesterol to take up free cholesterol, something that helps prevent atherosclerosis.
A study in the April 2010 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” investigated the effects of orange juice on markers of inflammation and oxidative stress following a high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal. In the study, 300 kcal of orange juice was consumed with a 900-kcal meal. It was found that subjects drinking water with the meal had increased inflammatory and oxidative stress after eating, but this increase was prevented in subjects drinking orange juice. This observation may indicate that orange juice exerts protective effects with regards to atherosclerosis and insulin resistance.