Who doesn’t love a refreshing sip of fresh orange juice? We might debate over how much pulp we want in our cup, but the sweet, tangy citrus has become a breakfast beverage staple for a reason: It’s delicious and good for us! In fact, a new study has found OJ is especially beneficial for anyone struggling to maintain healthy blood pressure.
Research published in the European Journal of Nutrition claims 100 percent orange juice or OJ enriched with an extra dash of hesperidin (an antioxidant flavonoid found in citrus) can help improve systolic blood pressure. They came to this conclusion after observing 159 adults between the ages of 18 and 65 who were given 500 milliliters (about two cups) of either the fresh juice, hesperidin-enriched juice, or a control drink that contained the same amount of vitamin C and citric acid every day for 12 weeks. By the end of that time period, the first two groups had significantly lowered their blood pressure versus those given the control drink.
“This study suggests that 100 percent orange juice may be a valuable addition to the diet to help reduce blood pressure for adults diagnosed with pre- or stage-1 hypertension,” study author Dr. Rosa Walsh, Scientific Research Director at the Florida Department of Citrus, explains in a press release. “The positive benefits of 100 percent orange juice may be attributed to hesperidin, which is found almost exclusively in orange juice and oranges.” With that in mind, OJ might be the better choice compared to grapefruit and other citrus juice options for those looking to lower their blood pressure numbers.
The researchers also kept an eye on their participants’ inflammation markers throughout the study and found those were reduced as well, leading them to believe the hesperidin can ease chronic inflammation symptoms. Previous research also found drinking the same amount of orange juice on a daily basis for a year helped lower their participants overall cholesterol levels.
All of this is on top of the healthy immune-boosting perks that come from the antioxidant vitamin C. Plus, it’s a great source of potassium, which can amp up your energy levels and bone strength. And of course, the delicious taste. However, because orange juice is high in sugar and calories, you should be careful not to overdo it. The study kept their participants to about two cups a day, so it’s probably best to do the same with your own intake. They also used 100 percent juice — no concentrates or added sugars — so check labels or simply squeeze your own. Either way, we’ll cheers to all of the amazing benefits of orange juice!