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Is Orange Juice Really Good for You?

Is Orange Juice Really Good for You?

The truth about this fruit may surprise you.

The Houston Astros play baseball in Minute Maid Park. The Tampa Bay Rays are in Tropicana Field. While this is great publicity for the orange juice industry, is orange juice really good or bad for you? Turns out, it can be a little of both.

Pulp-free orange juice is filled with natural sugar (21 grams in eight ounces) and that means calories (112 per)—and it delivers a big jolt to your blood sugar. That’s why we say, if you want the flavor of an orange, have an orange. The healthiest way to get your flavonoids, polyphenols (antioxidants) and fiber is from the fruit (or vegetable) itself.

However, a study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found men who drank a small glass of orange juice (four-six ounces) daily were 47 per cent less likely to have cognitive decline and dementia. Researchers tracked almost 28,000 men for two decades, ending when the men were an average age of 73. Turns out, men who consumed six daily servings of vegetables were 34 percent less likely to develop cognitive decline than men who consumed two daily servings.

So, while we still recommend getting your nutrients from whole fruits and vegetables, when that’s not possible, have a little OJ—just make sure it comes with fiber-rich pulp. Add it to a glass of seltzer to help keep the serving to four ounces. Also—try adding vegetable juices to the OJ—kale, beet or spinach deliver super-nutrients with less sugar.

Medically reviewed in November 2019.

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