Orange juice is enjoyed around the world.
It’s made by squeezing oranges to extract the juice, either by hand or using commercial methods.
It’s naturally high in vital nutrients, such as vitamin C and potassium. Plus, commercial varieties are often enriched with calcium and vitamin D.
Nonetheless, there’s controversy regarding whether or not it contributes to a healthy diet.
Here are 5 health benefits of orange juice.
1. Orange juice is rich in several important nutrients
Orange juice is high in many nutrients, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium.
An 8-ounce (240-ml) serving of orange juice provides approximately:
- Calories: 110
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbs: 26 grams
- Vitamin C: 67% of the recommended daily intake
- Folate: 15% of the recommended daily intake
- Potassium: 10% of the recommended daily intake
- Magnesium: 6% of the recommended daily intake
Orange juice is a concentrated source of vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that doubles as a powerful antioxidant and plays a central role in immune function.
Additionally, vitamin C helps promote bone formation, wound healing, and gum health.
Orange juice is also rich in folate, which is needed for DNA synthesis and supports fetal growth and development.
Not to mention, it’s an excellent source of the mineral potassium, which regulates blood pressure, prevents bone loss, and protects against heart disease and stroke.
Summary: Orange juice is high in several necessary nutrients, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium.
2. Orange juice is high in antioxidants
Antioxidants in orange juice promote health by preventing oxidative damage — an imbalance between antioxidants and unstable molecules known as free radicals.
Research shows that antioxidants are crucial to maintaining overall health. They may even help protect against chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Orange juice is a good source of antioxidants like flavonoids, carotenoids, and ascorbic acid.
One 8-week study found that drinking 25 ounces (750 ml) of orange juice daily increased antioxidant status significantly.
Another study had similar findings, reporting that drinking 20 ounces (591 ml) of orange juice daily for 90 days increased total antioxidant status in 24 adults with high cholesterol and triglycerides.
Plus, in a study in over 4,000 adults, orange juice was considered one of the top sources of antioxidants in the average American diet — alongside tea, berries, wine, supplements, and vegetables.
Summary: Orange juice is high in antioxidants and can help increase antioxidant status to aid in disease prevention.
3. Orange juice may help prevent kidney stones
Kidney stones are small mineral deposits that accumulate in your kidneys, often causing symptoms like severe pain, nausea, or blood in your urine.
Orange juice can increase the pH of urine, making it more alkaline. Studies show that having a higher, more alkaline urinary pH may aid in preventing kidney stones.
One small study observed that orange juice was more effective than lemonade at reducing several kidney stone risk factors.
Another study in 194,095 people found that those who consumed orange juice at least once daily had a 12% lower risk of developing kidney stones than those who drank less than one serving a week.
Summary: Orange juice can increase the pH of the urine and, as a result, lower the risk of kidney stones.
4. Orange juice may improve heart health
Heart disease is a serious problem, accounting for over 17 million deaths worldwide each year.
Some studies show that drinking orange juice may reduce several risk factors for heart disease — such as high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol — and help keep your heart healthy and strong.
For example, one study in 129 people found that long-term orange juice consumption lowered levels of both total and “bad” LDL cholesterol.
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Furthermore, a review of 19 studies noted that drinking fruit juice was effective at decreasing diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of a reading) in adults.
Orange juice has also been shown to increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol in people with elevated levels — which could improve heart health.
Summary: Orange juice may help increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and decrease total and “bad” LDL cholesterol, as well as diastolic blood pressure.
5. Orange juice may decrease inflammation
Acute inflammation is a normal part of the immune response designed to protect against disease and infection.
However, sustaining high levels of inflammation long-term is thought to contribute to the development of chronic disease.
Elevated markers of inflammation like C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) have all been seen in conditions like metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Some studies suggest that orange juice could decrease inflammation and problems tied to it.
One review found that orange juice possesses anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce levels of specific inflammatory markers tied to chronic disease.
Moreover, an 8-week study in 22 people showed that drinking both fresh and commercial orange juice decreased markers of inflammation like CRP and IL-6 — which could potentially aid in disease prevention.
Summary: Orange juice may help decrease markers of inflammation, which could help reduce your risk of chronic disease.
Potential downsides of orange juice
Though orange juice is connected to several health benefits, it’s also high in calories and sugar.
What’s more, unlike whole fruits, it lacks fiber, meaning it’s less filling and could potentially lead to weight gain.
Multiple studies have shown that regular consumption of fruit juice can lead to increased weight gain over time.
Many types of orange juice are also high in added sugar, which can increase blood sugar levels.
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Several studies have found that regularly drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, such as fruit juice, may be linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Practicing portion control and opting for fresh-squeezed or 100% orange juice can help maximize health benefits while reducing your risk of adverse effects.
You can also try diluting orange juice with water to cut calories and prevent weight gain.
For children, it’s recommended to limit juice intake to no more than 4 ounces (118 ml) per day for toddlers aged 1–3, 6 ounces (177 ml) for children aged 4–6, and 8 ounces (240 ml) for those aged 7–18.
Summary: Orange juice is high in sugar and calories, which may contribute to weight gain and high blood sugar. Drink it in moderation and opt for fresh-squeezed or 100% orange juice whenever possible.
Orange juice is a favorite beverage high in antioxidants and micronutrients like vitamin C, folate, and potassium.
Regular consumption has been associated with several health benefits, including improved heart health, decreased inflammation, and a reduced risk of kidney stones.
However, it’s also high in calories and sugar, so it’s best to consume it in moderation and select fresh-squeezed or 100% orange juice whenever possible.