(Natural News) Taking care of your gut is important for supporting your overall health. One of the ways to improve gut health is to consume orange juice and other citrus fruits, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
In this study, a team of researchers from Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) and the University of Sao Paulo (USP) in Brazil examined the effects of daily consumption of orange juice on blood lipids, lipids, and gut microbiota.
Gut microbiota refers to the bacterial community in the gastrointestinal tract. A certain balance of good and bad bacteria promotes digestive and overall health. Bioactive compounds like hesperidin and naringin help improve gut microbiota – and these compounds can be found in citrus fruits, such as oranges and orange juice.
In conducting the study, the researchers recruited 10 healthy women and asked them to consume orange juice every day for two months. Then, they collected samples of blood serum and stool for biochemical and microbiology assays.
The research team examined the participants’ intestinal microbiota for total anaerobic bacteria, Lactobacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp., and Clostridium spp. They also conducted an independent culture evaluation. In addition, the pH, ammonium (NH4+), and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) were evaluated for microbial metabolism.
The results demonstrated that consuming orange juice every day did not change the women’s body composition, but it did improve blood biochemical parameters, such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, glucose, and insulin sensitivity.
Orange juice also positively modulated the composition and metabolic activity of microbiota, increasing the population of fecal Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus spp. Consuming orange juice also led to a reduction of ammonia and an increase in the production of SCFAs.
These findings suggest that consuming orange juice every day may improve the intestinal microbiota and metabolic biomarkers of young women. The researchers concluded that orange juice may be an effective health drink to improve gut health and metabolism.
Drink orange juice for overall health, but in moderate amounts
One of the most notable health benefits of consuming oranges (and other citrus fruits) is getting lots of vitamin C, an essential nutrient for keeping the immune system functioning optimally. But it doesn’t end there. Check out the list below of other nutritional benefits you can get from consuming orange juice.
- Orange juice is rich in nutrients – As mentioned, orange juice is loaded with vitamin C. It is a powerful antioxidant and plays a key role in immune function, as well as bone formation, wound healing, and gum health. You can also get vitamin B9 (folate) and potassium from orange juice. Folate is an important nutrient for DNA synthesis, while potassium regulates blood pressure, prevents bone loss, and protects against heart disease and stroke.
- Orange juice is rich in antioxidants – The antioxidants in orange juice prevent oxidative damage and fight inflammation, which helps in reducing your risk of diseases. (Related: Orange juice has 10 times more antioxidant power than previously thought.)
- Orange juice may protect against kidney stones – Orange juice can increase the pH level of urine, making it more alkaline. As a result, this may lower the risk of developing kidney stones.
- Orange juice is good for the heart – Drinking orange juice can help prevent heart disease. There is evidence suggesting that orange juice may help increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol, while reducing total LDL or “bad” cholesterol. In addition, orange juice can help lower diastolic blood pressure.
To reap the maximum health benefits, only drink natural orange juice made by squeezing organic oranges to extract the juice. However, it is important to note that orange juice is high in calories and sugar, so it’s best to consume it moderately.