A study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition in January 2022 reviewed and analyzed data from a number of interventional studies to look at the relationship between 100% orange juice consumption and inflammation.
The study included:
- 21 interventional studies (16 controlled trials and 5 before-after studies);
- 307 healthy and 327 at-risk participants.
The study used only juice that had no added sugar, and looked at the associations between consumption of 100% orange juice and the markers of both inflammation and oxidation – both processes that are believed to cause diseases of various kinds.
Inflammation And Disease
Chronic inflammation leads to damage of the cells by way of oxidative stress, or damage to proteins, DNA and other molecules.
- Low-grade inflammation is shown in the body by an increased concentration of what are called inflammatory markers.
- Higher concentrations of these markers, which include interleukins, among others, are associated with a number of chronic diseases such as heart and circulatory disease, cancers, and type 2 diabetes.
The inflammatory markers are produced by the immune system typically when the body is under attack by bacteria or disease. Interleukin-6, for example, helps the body respond to infection, particularly fever, in an acute phase.
The problem is that, during the process, they can also produce free radicals, which cause oxidation (or damage) to the cells they encounter in the body. That’s the part of the process that can be problematic, and increases over time as we age.
Studies show that consuming 100% orange juice can help to modulate those processes, protecting your cells even at the molecular level. Some studies show it may reduce the concentrations of specific types of inflammation markers, reducing the damaging effect.
Drinking Orange Juice…It’s Good For You
Why study orange juice in particular? It’s important because American only consume about half of the recommended servings of fruit each day.
- Roughly 65% of that comes as whole fruit;
- The remainder is consumed as juice.
While it’s true that some fiber and vitamin C is lost in juice processing, 100% fruit juice shows an otherwise similar vitamin and mineral profile as the whole fruits, and the losses aren’t great. In addition, most of the phytochemicals are retained in the juice.
- In other words, juice could be an easy way to bump up fruit intake, while retaining most of the nutritional value and other health benefits of eating whole fruits.
Existing research backs up the idea that the bad rep that orange juice, and fruit juices in general, have often received isn’t warranted.
- Studies show that, in the US, people who drink orange juice have a higher intake overall of bioflavonoids.
- Specifically, the diets of 100% OJ consumers included more vitamin C, potassium, calcium, vitamin D, flavanones, and total flavonoids.
The conclusion: drinking 100% orange juice is most often associated with a better than average diet.