The Unexpected Effect Orange Juice Has On Your Immune System

A breakfast spread doesn't feel complete without a tall glass of orange juice to drink. While this citrus beverage is loved for its bright, tangy flavor, it also has plenty of health benefits to enjoy. "If consumed in moderation, orange juice can be included in a healthy diet," Lon Ben-Asher, MS, RD, LD/N, nutritionist at Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, told Parade. "It is nutrient-dense, providing essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients. Orange juice is rich in vitamin C, which has been shown to boost the immune system and reduce the risk of cancer."

A glass of orange juice, along with other citrus juices, contains enough vitamin C to reach your daily recommended intake (via Healthline). Vitamin C is what gives orange juice its immune system boosting properties. This vitamin protects the cells from damage, aids in wound healing, helps the body fight infections, and increases your overall immune response. If you're feeling sick, drinking a glass of orange juice may help alleviate your symptoms more quickly.

The downsides to drinking orange juice

While the vitamin C in orange juice offers many health benefits, it's not necessarily the best way to enjoy these benefits. According to Eat This, Not That!, one cup of orange juice contains about 21 grams of sugar. A glass of juice can easily contain two or three times that much. Although fruit juice contains vitamins and minerals and is better for you than processed sugars, it can still spike your blood sugar when consumed. To avoid this, stick to 100% orange juice and drink no more than four ounces at a time.

Orange juice also doesn't offer as many benefits as an actual orange. Oranges contain a hefty dose of fiber, most of which is lost when the fruit is juiced. The fiber in the orange will help keep you full and reduce the likelihood of your blood sugar spiking. To get the most benefits of this citrus fruit, eat an entire orange or buy juice with pulp in it.