100% orange juice consumption has been associated with favorable effects on several markers of cardiovascular health, including blood lipids, blood pressure, blood vessel function, and inflammatory and oxidative stress markers. Some of these benefits are believed to be at least partially attributable to the plant nutrient, hesperidin, found in oranges and orange juice.
Epidemiological studies report benefits of 100% orange juice consumption on cardiovascular health indicators. In the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, Joshipura (1999) reported a 25% reduced risk of ischemic stroke with each additional serving of citrus fruit juice in the study participants. In a study of Finnish men and women, the consumption of citrus fruit and juice was associated with a significantly reduced risk for cerebrovascular disease .(Mizrahi). A cross-sectional study of Brazilian men (mean age 41 years) reported an inverse association between orange juice consumption and systolic and diastolic blood pressure .(Bonifacio). In this study, older men who drank orange juice had smaller increases in their BP compared to older men who did not drink orange juice. Based on an analysis of NHANES 2003-2006 data, children and adolescents who were orange juice consumers had significantly lower serum LDL concentrations compared to non-consumers,(O’Neil 2011). Men and women who consumed orange juice had significantly lower total and LDL cholesterol concentrations compared to non-consumers, while male orange juice consumers had a 23% reduced risk for having low HDL concentrations compared to non-consumers.(O’Neil 2012).
Compared to non-consumers, several studies reported significantly higher HDL (Aptekmann, Basile, Dourado, Kurowska) and lower LDL (Aptekmann, Basile, Cesar[a], Cesar[b]) in orange juice consumers, with one study showing benefits only for hyperlipidemic subjects.(Cesar[a]) The most significant impacts on blood lipids appeared to be observed in clinical studies with orange juice intakes of at least 500 mL/day (approximately 2 cups or 16 ounces) for 8 weeks or longer.
Orange juice may have beneficial effects on blood pressure,(Asgary, Basile, Morand) with two studies reporting reduced diastolic blood pressure in men who consumed orange juice.(Basile, Morand) Subjects in these studies were considered healthy and were not hypertensive. Orange juice intake amounts and durations in these studies were 500 mL/day for 4 weeks (Asgary, Morand) and 750 mL/day for 8 weeks.(Basile) A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials concluded that fruit juice intake had a significant effect on reducing diastolic blood pressure.(Liu)
Several studies reported that orange juice intake had beneficial impacts on various markers of oxidative stress and inflammation. (Dourado, Johnston, Morand, Sanchez-Moreno) Benefits were most commonly observed at intakes of at least 500 mL/day for at least 2 weeks.
Some benefits observed with orange juice are believed to be at least partially attributable to the plant nutrient, hesperidin, found in oranges and orange juice.(Morand) Research points to the benefits of hesperidin on inflammation, which may result in improved blood flow that can positively impact various aspects of cardiovascular health. Morand et al. observed an acute postprandial beneficial impact of orange juice and hesperidin on endothelial function and hesperidin and orange juice have been linked to the expression of a number of genes associated with anti-inflammatory and antiatherogenic activity.(Milenkovic)
100% orange juice has a number of other heart-healthy qualities – it has no sugar added and is free of saturated and trans fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Orange juice also delivers nutrients that have been associated with heart health including vitamin C, folate, and potassium, as well as the plant nutrient, hesperidin, found in oranges and carried over from the whole fruit to the juice.
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