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8 benefits of drinking orange juice—and 1 negative side effect

Orange juice is enjoyed throughout the world. In fact, surveys reveal that it is the world’s most popular fruit juice. Manufacturers produce around 1.6 billion metric tons of this beverage each year. In addition to buying orange juice in many varieties at grocery stores, you can also squeeze your own orange juice by hand or with an electric juicer. 

One popular form of orange juice available in stores is frozen orange juice concentrate. To drink this form of orange juice, you need to mix cold water with the concentrate. This method became widespread during World War II when the United States Dairy Association (USDA) partnered with food scientist Richard Stetson Mores to create a reliable frozen orange juice concentrate process.

Orange juice contains many beneficial nutrients — most notably Vitamin C — but you should consider the amount of sugar in each serving. You may want to limit your intake or choose a 100 percent fruit juice version that doesn’t contain added sugar. 

1. Orange juice can help reduce your risk of stroke.

“Data shows that consumption of orange juice is linked to a 22% decreased risk of ischemic stroke in men, and a 19% decreased risk of ischemic stroke in women,” says Manaker.

2. OJ may combat kidney stones.

“Drinking orange juice has been scientifically linked to helping prevent kidney stones,” says Caroline Young, MS, RD, LD, RYT, owner of Whole Self Nutrition. In fact, a study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology assessing nearly 200,000 participants observed that “consumption of coffee, tea, beer, wine, and orange juice is associated with a lower risk” of kidney stone development.

3. Orange juice may reduce inflammation in your body.

Inflammation can wreak havoc on practically every body part from head to toe, but adding a little orange juice to your regular routine could help head it off at the pass. As Manaker aptly points out, “Orange juice intake had beneficial impacts on various markers of oxidative stress and inflammation.”

A 2012 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that non-obese adults with increased cardiovascular risk who received 500 mL of orange juice over a 12-week period had lower inflammation at the end of the study than those given the same portion of a placebo drink.

4. Orange juice may aid in weight management.

While fruit juice may have a bad reputation when it comes to weight gain, some studies suggest that individuals who regularly consume orange juice may be less predisposed to weight-related conditions like obesity than those who abstain.

A 2012 study published in BMC Nutrition Journal found that individuals who regularly consumed orange juice not only had a better overall diet quality, but a lower risk of obesity, as well.

“As long as there are no added sugars and the juice is made with real oranges, it can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet,” advises Manaker.

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5. Orange juice might contribute to weight gain.

Some brands of orange juice are higher in sugar and carbs. For people who need to gain weight, this could be considered a plus. Thomason notes that “people who need to gain weight or who may have lost their appetite, juice is a great way to increase calories without feeling overly full.”

However, the downside to this is if you’re hoping to lose weight, too much OJ might impose on your ideal timeline for hitting your weight loss goals, especially if you’re not drinking 100% orange juice.

6. OJ counts toward your recommended daily fruit inake.

“[Drinking] 100% orange juice can help people meet their recommended intake of fruit, as most Americans are missing the mark in that department,” says Manaker.

Citing the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the CDC advises that adults should aim to eat (or in this case, drink) around “1.5–2 cup-equivalents of fruits and 2–3 cup-equivalents of vegetables daily.”

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7. It might help lower your cholesterol.

If you’re dealing with high cholesterol, adding some orange juice to your regular routine may help get those numbers into healthier territory.

According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, individuals who consumed 236 mL of not-from-concentrate orange juice over a three-week period saw reductions in their LDL to HDL cholesterol ratio. Yet another study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that citrus flavonoids, like those found in orange juice, were effective at lowering both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in individuals with high cholesterol.

8. Orange juice may improve your immune system.

If you’re trying to give your immune system a boost, vitamin C-rich orange juice might just be the answer you’re looking for.

A 2021 study published in Frontiers in Immunology found that regular consumption of orange juice was effective at reducing inflammation, which may benefit consumers’ overall immune health.

9. It can lower your blood pressure.

Approximately 45% of U.S. adults have high blood pressure—and if you number among them, adding some orange juice to your regular routine may be able to help.

A 2021 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that among a group of 159 people who drank either a control drink, orange juice, or orange juice enhanced with hesperidin (a polyphenol found in oranges), over 12 weeks, those who received either the regular or enhanced orange juice saw reductions in their systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure.

A version of this story was originally published in August 2021. It has been fact-checked and updated to include additional research.

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