Is Orange Juice Healthy Or Not?

How healthy is orange juice really? One thing is clear: it contains a lot of sugar. But: There are many other good substances in the drink.

Orange juice has long been considered healthy. Recently, however, its reputation suffered a little, just like that of other fruit juices. Some kindergartens and elementary schools have even banned juices as a break drink.

The reason: their high total sugar content. At around 90 grams per liter, it is actually as high as that in a cola or lemonade, even with orange juice made from 100 percent fruit and without added sugar.

High sugar content: is orange juice still healthy?

However, orange juice is not unhealthy because of its high sugar content. Because orange juice contains a lot of other substances that the body can use well.

In addition to the vitamin folic acid and the mineral potassium, the orange contains a high amount of vitamin C. The vitamin can strengthen the immune system and protect against colds and fatigue. It also improves the utilization of iron from food. A freshly squeezed orange juice contains 400 to 500 milligrams of vitamin C per liter.

A quality feature for a pasteurized (heated) orange juice from the trade is that it contains 200 milligrams of vitamin C per liter up to the end of the best-before date. Whether fresh or packaged: a glass of juice a day already covers a large part of the daily intake of 100 milligrams recommended by the German Society for Nutrition (DGE).

In addition to vitamin C: phytochemicals make orange juice healthy

In addition, orange juice contains many important phytochemicals such as carotenoids and flavonoids. Both substances can reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. As antioxidants, they protect the body’s cells from harmful environmental influences.

One of the flavonoids found in orange is hesperidin. Together with vitamin C, this can lower the uric acid level and counteract gout, for example. Another reason why orange juice is healthy.

It is best to drink juice with meals

According to the DGE, one of the recommended five portions of fruit or vegetables a day can be replaced by a glass of juice with 100% fruit content. However, because of the high amount of sugar, orange juice is not a thirst quencher that you could drink by the gallon, but a luxury food that is best taken with a meal.

If drunk in between, it can lead to the formation of body fat, as confirmed by a joint study by the Universities of Kiel and Hohenheim. But the researchers also found something else: the same effect is largely absent if you take orange juice with a meal. Because then the spontaneous energy intake with the meal is reduced.

Freshly squeezed juice or the whole fruit – which is better?

The rumor persists that we cannot utilize the valuable vitamins and minerals of the orange so well in the form of juice; it is better to chew and eat the whole fruit.

Studies show otherwise. A study by the University of Hohenheim found that juice is an even better source of carotenoids than the fruit. One reason for this: during pressing, indigestible dietary fibers such as pectin and cellulose, which inhibit the absorption of carotenoids during digestion, are partially separated.

There is something else: When chewing, the teeth do not completely break up the fruit, many cells remain intact and lock in the carotenoids. This makes it difficult to collect and use them. So if you grab a glass of juice instead of an orange, you don’t need to have a bad conscience.

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