New Research Review Underscores The Links Between Citrus Fruit Juice And Immune Health

A new study that reviews nearly 200 research papers confirms the key role of citrus fruits, and juices in particular, in maintaining good health.

A 2021 research study from researchers at the University of Southampton in the UK was titled Effects of Citrus Fruit Juices and Their Bioactive Components on Inflammation and Immunity: A Narrative Review. The review references 196 research papers that looked at various aspects of how consuming citrus fruit juices plays a role in boosting immunity and reducing inflammation.

  • Inflammation can damage tissues, and cause a cascade of disease and disorders.
  • Limiting oxidative stress is a key method of controlling inflammation in the body.

What about the sugars in citrus juice?

Inflammatory markers in the body, (specific cells and structures that are involved in the body’s inflammatory response), are generally triggered by eating. That inflammatory response becomes stronger if the meal is high in sugar, total or saturated fats.

Despite it’s sometimes bad rep, consuming orange juice (or fructose) does not induce this acute response.

On the contrary, examples of specific findings include:

  • Consuming orange juice limited inflammation induced by a high carbohydrate meal.
  • Daily orange juice consumption results in lowered markers for inflammation in the blood.

Some research underscores the supportive role that fruit and vegetable based micronutrients and phytochemicals can play in maintaining good health.

  • One study of people aged 65 to 85 found that those who ate 5 or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day had a better response to a flu vaccination than those who eat 2 portions or less.

It’s all in the micronutrients

General principles relating to citrus fruits and their juices have emerged from the many studies of their workings in human health.

  • Vitamin C and folates, common to citrus fruit juices, protect the body’s immune system, and support the function of many key components such as natural killer cells and T-cells.
  • Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that reduces the inflammatory response.
  • Citrus polyphenols such as hesperidin, hesperetin, naringenin, naringin and narirutin have all been found to have anti-inflammatory effects.

While consuming whole foods adds fibre and possibly other nutrients to the mix, the paper confirms the nutritional value of citrus fruit juices on their own.

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