Orange Juice: A Nutritional Powerhouse

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Phytonutrients are receiving increased attention because of their powerful and wide-ranging health effects on the body. Scientists believe these plant-derived components may promote health by protecting our cells.

Fresh orange juice

Orange juice naturally contains more than 60 phytonutrients. Many of them are known as flavonoids. Research has shown that flavonoids are natural antioxidants and may help support a healthy cardiovascular system and immune system.

Did you know?

  • 50 million Americans have high blood pressure.
  • Of those people with high blood pressure, one-third do not know that they have it.
  • The amount of potassium in one 8 ounce glass of orange juice can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke by 6 percent.

Orange juice is the most nutrient-packed fruit juice -- a nutrition powerhouse in a glass! One 8-ounce serving provides 110 calories and contains all the vitamin C you need in a day. It's also a good source of potassium, folate and thiamin. And there's more -- vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin and magnesium. Plus, not from- concentrate orange juice is sodium-free while from-concentrate orange juice is very low in sodium with only 15 milligrams per serving.

Photo of healthy person

Focus on Heart Health

Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by:

  • Reducing high blood cholesterol
  • Lowering high blood pressure
  • Aiming for a healthy weight
  • Being physically active every day
  • If you have diabetes, keeping blood sugar under control

Orange juice has been shown to improve the following cardiovascular disease risk factors:

Healthy Cholesterol. Orange Juice A recent study has produced promising results for improving HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol). Men and women with high blood cholesterol levels drank 1, 2, and 3 cups of not-from-concentrate orange juice daily for a total of 12 weeks. At the end of the 12-week period, there was a 21 percent increase in HDL cholesterol with no changes to LDL (bad) cholesterol. The ratio of good/bad cholesterol improved by 16 percent, although there was a moderate increase in triglycerides.

Healthy Blood Pressure. High blood pressure is often called a "silent killer" because it can develop without any warning signs. A healthy eating plan including potassium-rich foods may help. Increasing your intake by adding just one serving of a good source of potassium from fruit, 100 percent fruit juice or vegetables has been shown to decrease the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

The evidence is so strong that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration> allows this health claim to appear on foods that are good sources of potassium:

  • Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

Potassium is found in a wide range of foods, especially fruits, many vegetables, and some dairy products. Examples include potatoes, bananas, citrus fruit and juices, tomatoes, and milk. The recommended daily intake for potassium is 3,500 milligrams. This is also the Daily Value used on food labels in the Nutrition Facts panel. Surprisingly, over 80 percent of Americans do not consume the recommended amount of potassium each day.

What is Homocysteine?
Folate, as well as other B vitamins, are required for breaking down homocysteine to less harmful substances. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is associated with cardiovascular risk. Studies in healthy individuals have demonstrated that low blood levels of folate can lead to elevated blood levels of homocysteine. In one study, healthy volunteers drank 20 ounces of not-from-concentrate orange juice along with their normal diet over a 60-day period. Drinking orange juice significantly increased blood folate levels 45 percent. Blood homocysteine levels decreased significantly by 11 percent.

DASH for Great Health!
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet includes eight to 10 servings of fruits, 100 percent fruit juices and vegetables as well as two servings of low fat dairy products each day. Studies in healthy people who followed the DASH diet found that a diet high in fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce blood pressure in as little as two weeks.

Boost your intake of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables
As a daily guideline, the Food Guide Pyramid recommends three to five servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit, along with a variety of foods.

Easy ways to enjoy more fruits and vegetables:

Healthy Foods

  • Pile lots of vegetables -- and even fruits -- on your favorite sandwiches. Try sliced peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, apple or pineapple with lettuce and sprouts.
  • Drink 100 percent juice as a snack beverage.
  • Take a fruit to lunch. Add a piece of fresh fruit or small snack-size container of fruit to your lunch bag or briefcase.
  • Whip up a smoothie made with fresh fruit, fruit juice and frozen yogurt.
  • Toss vegetable toppings on your pizza -- broccoli, zucchini, spinach, red and green sweet peppers, mushrooms.

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