Discover the health benefits of juicing oranges:
Orange juice is far and away the most popular breakfast drink, and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as an ice-cold, fresh-squeezed glass of it. Not only does fresh-from-the-orange juice taste exquisite, but it also packs a power punch of nutrition that you just can’t get out of a carton. Take a look at this chart comparing one cup of fresh orange with one cup of Tropicana. The fresh juice gives you nearly twice as much vitamin C, plus 10% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A. The store-bought juice gives you no vitamin A at all, and no iron.
(Raw orange juice data from www.NutritionData.com; Tropicana data from www.Tropicana.com)
Fresh orange juice offers many health benefits you won’t find on nutrition labels. A study published in the April 2010 edition of “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that orange juice helps to mitigate the inflammatory effects of high fat, high carbohydrate meals, preventing meal-induced oxidative and inflammatory stress. Chronic inflammation is a significant factor in insulin resistance (the precursor to type 2 diabetes) and atherosclerosis, the precursor to heart disease. Fresh orange juice for inflammation prevention and reduction: it seems like an easy prescription to swallow.
Regular consumption of orange juice may also improve your diastolic blood pressure, according to another study published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” (January 2011). The researchers believe this effect comes from hesperidin, a flavonoid found in citrus fruits. Even a small reduction in diastolic blood pressure toward healthier levels can drastically decrease incidence of coronary artery disease
Juicing oranges may also help reduce LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels, according to preliminary research. Further studies are ongoing.
Aside from the health benefits of juicing oranges, juicing gives you the pleasure factors that are missing from store-bought juices. Taste, for one. You just have to squeeze an orange and compare that against a few swallows of juice from a carton. In fact, commercial orange juice is often stored in tanks, sometimes for months, before it’s dispensed into cartons and shipped to stores. During its time in storage, the juice loses so much of its flavor that oil processed from orange peels needs to be added to make it taste “like” orange juice again.
In addition to fresh flavor, juicing allows you to enjoy a wide variety of flavors—not just the Valencia oranges that are commonly used for commercial juices, but also the distinct flavors of varieties of navel and red navel (cara cara) oranges, blood oranges, mandarin oranges, tangerines, clementines, and whatever local or exotic varieties your produce market carries.
Orange juice also mixes wonderfully with other fruits: strawberry, pineapple, grapefruit, mango, kiwi, papaya, guava, cherries, peaches—just about any sweet or tart fruit mixes well with orange. Go ahead and invent your own juice “cocktails.” You’ll have fun and improve your health at the same time.
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