Orange juice, a healthy and simple drink: properties, benefits and how to make it

Orange juice is a very popular drink and is characterized above all by its good content of vitamin C. It is simple to prepare at home, even the little ones like it and is perfect for both breakfast and as a snack.

Oranges belong to the citrus family such as cedar, lemon, grapefruit and mandarin.

They are a winter fruit and their ripening begins in autumn and then they are available until spring. In addition to being a very popular fruit, they are also distinguished by the numerous varieties, among the best known are the Tarocco oranges, the Navel, the Red oranges and the Sanguinello.

Oranges are among the most consumed and appreciated fruits; they are great to eat as a fresh fruit in their own right, but they can become a refreshing drink when used to make a juice.

From a nutritional point of view, oranges and therefore also orange juice have a low calorie content and this makes this drink also suitable for low-calorie diets. Orange juice has a moderate content of simple sugars and a good supply of minerals and vitamins, in particular: potassium and vitamin C. Below we discover the beneficial properties of this drink.

Orange juice: beneficial properties

Orange juice is a very popular drink for children and adults, it has a caloric intake of 45 kcal per 100 ml of juice, so a glass of orange juice provides about 90 calories . The juice mainly contains carbohydrates (10.4 g per 100 ml), especially as simple sugars (8.4 g per 100 ml), while the intake of fats and proteins is negligible.

This drink, especially if prepared at home, is rich in mineral salts, including potassium; and vitamins, not only vitamin C but also folate and vitamin A. There are also phytonutrients such as hesperidin, anthocyanins and other pigments. It is these micronutrients that determine the beneficial properties of orange juice.

When we talk about oranges and orange juice, we immediately think of the vitamin C content. In fact, the orange is a fruit quite rich in this vitamin and, specifically, the juice of fresh oranges provides 50 mg of vitamin C every 100 ml of juice. Industrial juices have a lower vitamin content as they are subjected to the pasteurization heat treatment necessary to increase storage times.

Considering that the daily requirement of vitamin C is about 90 mg for men and 70 mg for women, it can be deduced that a 150-200 ml glass of orange juice is sufficient to ensure the right intake of this vitamin.

✓ Strengthens the immune system

Among the numerous benefits of vitamin C, one of the most interesting is its ability to stimulate the immune system. In fact, this vitamin is necessary for the immune system to have an adequate response against pathogens, but above all it seems to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory infections by improving the various functions of immune cells.

✓ Offers benefits to sight and skin

Among the vitamins present in orange juice, in addition to vitamin C we also find vitamin A and carotenoids (200 IU per 100 ml) both of which are essential for our eyesight . In fact, vitamin A and carotenoids are the components of a molecule, rhodopsin , which is present on the retina and determines the eye’s ability to be sensitive to light. Vitamin A and carotenoids also play an important role for the well-being of the skin thanks to their antioxidant action which counteracts the onset of free radicals responsible for cellular aging. A study found that aregular consumption of orange juice is able to increase the carotenoids present in the epidermis.

✓ Antioxidant property

The antioxidant effect determined by the phytochemicals contained in orange juice is very interesting. In particular, this effect seems to be linked to the presence of hesperidin, a flavonoid that could also have a protective action on the cardiovascular level. The results of a study show that the daily intake of orange juice, and therefore of its phytonutrients, has a marked antioxidant and free radical reduction effect. In addition, a reduction in endothelial dysfunction was observed, which is at the basis of vasodilation problems and cardiovascular diseases.

✓ Heart health

Speaking of cardiovascular health, we remember that one of the mineral salts that intervenes in the control of blood pressure is potassium. The orange juice provides 200 mg of potassium per 100 ml and the average daily requirement of this mineral is about 3 g. This mineral is involved in numerous activities of our body: it regulates muscle excitability, acid-base balance and water retention. Furthermore, the antioxidant effect prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, a factor underlying the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.

✓ Cancer prevention

Among the phytochemicals present in orange juice we also mentioned anthocyanins, pigments that we find above all in blood oranges. Numerous researches have shown that anthocyanins are useful in the prevention of tumors as they are able to slow down cell proliferation and increase the programmed death of cancer cells, especially in colorectal and prostate cancer.

✓ Benefits in pregnancy

Orange juice is a good source of folate (or folic acid), an important vitamin especially during pregnancy for the correct development of the fetus as it is able to reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida and l ‘anencephaly. Folate are also important as they participate in the production of red blood cells which are essential for the transport of oxygen to organs and tissues.

When and how much orange juice to drink to get benefits

The orange juice is perfect to drink in the morning for a fresh and thirst-quenching breakfast, but it can also be taken in the afternoon as a snack. Thanks to its potassium content it is useful for promoting daily diuresis.

For breakfast, we advise you to combine the orange juice with light pancakes or light homemade biscuits. If you prefer to take it as a snack, you could combine it with a handful of dried fruit: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts etc…

As previously written, orange juice stimulates the immune defenses thanks to its vitamin C content, therefore it is an excellent drink even for the little ones, especially useful for defending themselves from the typical ailments of the change of season to which our little ones are more sensitive.

Like other fruit juices, orange juice also contains simple sugars, although its slightly sour taste may suggest the opposite. Precisely in order not to overdo it with the introduction of sugars, a daily consumption of about 150-200ml (about a glass) is recommended and above all, remember that the juice has a negligible fiber content and for this reason it can replace only one of the portions of fruit. that we should take during the day.

Whenever possible, it is always preferable to opt for a homemade orange juice with fresh oranges and without the addition of sugar because this will be richer in all the micronutrients that have beneficial effects for our health. For the choice of packaged products, we refer you to the paragraph that you will find below to learn how to choose a packaged orange juice that has good nutritional characteristics.

Orange juice: recipe for making it at home

Orange juice is one of the simplest drinks to prepare at home and is the best choice for a juice that is 100% natural, without the presence of added sugars, preservatives or other additives. Having many varieties of oranges available allows you to make drinks with a more or less sweet taste, but also of different colors, for example with blood oranges we will have a fresh, good and intense red juice. Below we present the methods to make the orange juice with the juicer and the extractor.

1. Prepare the orange juice with the juicer

This is the simplest method, we all have a manual or mechanical juicer at home, in addition, it is a method that allows you to make a fresh and genuine drink in a few minutes.

For two glasses of orange juice you will need 6 organic and untreated oranges, preferably at room temperature because if they are cold you will have more difficulty in extracting the juice.

Wash the oranges carefully and cut in half, at this point all you have to do is squeeze the oranges with a manual or electric juicer, and then pour the juice into the glasses.

If you want a juice with a note of bubbles, you can add sparkling water to the juice, about 200ml of sparkling water for every 400ml of orange juice.

Of course you can have fun and experiment with many recipes. For example, you could make an orange and tangerine juice using for two glasses: 3 oranges and 6 tangerines. This juice with a naturally sweeter taste will be very appreciated especially by the little ones, in fact the mandarins are sweet and aromatic and satisfy even the most difficult palates.

2. Prepare the orange juice with the extractor

Another method to make a natural orange juice involves the use of the extractor, a very valid appliance that allows you to make many juices even with other ingredients.

To make the orange juice for 2 people with the extractor you need 600 g of oranges previously peeled and cut into wedges or pieces (it does not matter to remove the seeds).

Insert the orange wedges into the extractor and then pour the juice into the glasses and, if you wish, dilute with water. Additionally, you can add a small piece of turmeric root which has a mild flavor and numerous beneficial properties.

Among the numerous recipes that you can try to make with the extractor we suggest the orange, lemon and celery extract. The ingredients to use are: 1 orange, half a lemon and a stick of celery; all from organic farming.

Wash and peel the orange and cut it into wedges: wash the lemon, cut it in half and leave it with the peel; also wash the celery and then cut it into chunks. Gradually add all the ingredients to the extractor, mix the juice obtained well and then pour it into the glasses.

If you want to experiment with other ideas with this appliance, you can try our juice recipes with extractor.

Freshly squeezed orange juice: how to store it correctly

The ideal is to consume the orange juice immediately after preparing it, in this way you can appreciate its taste and leave its nutritional properties unaltered.

The orange juice oxidizes easily and this alters the flavor and nutritional properties, therefore, it can be kept for a maximum of one day in the refrigerator and after having placed it in a bottle with an airtight seal in order to limit contact with the air and heat sources that accelerate the oxidation process.

If you have prepared too many orange juice, you can store it in the freezer by putting it in the appropriate ice molds and then use the cubes to flavor water, herbal teas or tea.

Orange juice: a conscious buying guide

We mentioned earlier, the packaged orange juice, although it is more practical, has a lower content of vitamins and micronutrients since it undergoes the heat treatment of pasteurization necessary to increase the storage time. An orange juice packaged and made with organic fruit and without additives has an average price ranging from 2 USD to 5 USD per liter.

Industrial fruit juices are mainly made with juice, sugar and water, so the more juice is used, the less sugar there will be. Our advice is to choose a product that has as little sugar as possible. For this reason it is important to always read the list of ingredients as on the market you can find packaged orange juice which has only 12% juice and orange juice which has 100% juice.

We suggest you choose an orange juice that says ” 100% orange juice “, in this case it will be a drink with no added sugars, no dyes and other additives except vitamin C, which is used for a better preservation of the product. In any case, it is a good idea to read the list of ingredients and make sure of these characteristics since, sometimes, the packaged products have written on display that can mislead a not very careful consumer.

Contraindications of orange juice

Orange juice is a drink that can be consumed by most people however it is contraindicated in the rare cases of allergy to oranges, but especially in the case of gastroesophageal reflux or gastritis. For those with these pathologies it is preferable to limit the intake of orange juice (as well as other acidic foods) especially if taken on an empty stomach since the organic acids present in the juice can worsen the symptoms.

There are no particular contraindications regarding the intake during pregnancy, however, in case of negative toxo it is necessary to wash the oranges thoroughly before making the juice at home or preferably opt for a quality packaged product.

Attention must also be paid to the intake of orange juice by people with diabetes. Although orange juice is a drink with less sugar than other fruit juices, it is still advisable to limit its use because it could also cause a sudden increase in blood sugar, especially if taken alone.


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