Real Orange Juice is a Powerful Friend, Not a Sugary Foe!

I drink OJ daily, powered up with sprinkle of sea salt (to aid hydration and down-regulate stress hormones) and a teaspoon of powdered gelatin (collagen hydrolysate – to support the liver with non-inflammatory amino acids glycine, proline, glutamic acid and alanine).

But, buyer beware – there’s real orange juice and then, there’s the fake stuff passed off as 100% pure orange juice!

In short, the real stuff is what you get when you take a real, fresh orange, cut it in half and squeeze it; the fake stuff  is when ‘they’ subject real oranges to intensive processing in commercial plants.

I like what Emily at Butter Believer has to say about real vs fake OJ….

“There’s chemical flavoring in your ‘100% Pure’ OJ

Even when it says, “100% orange juice,” and the label only has one ingredient (orange juice), the juice is likely to contain flavorings out of chemicals similar to what perfume makers use, and they don’t have to include that on the label. (Because the synthetic flavor chemicals were “derived” from oranges).  Manufacturers do this to keep the flavor of the juice consistent from batch to batch, and also because if they didn’t add the chemical flavor, the juice would be pretty much tasteless.

Store-bought orange juice is also likely to be loaded with fluoride and other water-based chemicals, because unless it’s “not from concentrate,” most orange juice is concentrated with those chemical “flavor packs” at the plant, and then reconstituted later on with tap water. And who knows what’s in that.

Fresh orange juice made at home is, obviously, devoid of chemical “flavor packs,” but does contain, you know, lots of actual flavor. And instead of contributing to your toxic load, it helps your body eliminate harmful substances because it contains so many beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that are supportive to your body’s detoxification pathways.

Fresh OJ contains beneficial enzymes and other nutrients that are destroyed in pasteurization

Orange juice contains beneficial antioxidant polyphenols as well as key digestive enzymes—all of which are completely destroyed when the juice is pasteurized. Scorching the juice in the name of food “safety” also cuts way down on vitamins, especially vitamin C. These are all nutrients which are very sensitive to heat and oxidation, and will break down when exposed to the high temperatures of the pasteurization process in commercial juice production. So sometimes, manufacturers will add back in vitamin C to compensate for the loss.

But fresh OJ is loaded with all those great naturally-occurring antioxidants and enzymes! Plus, while pasteurization is intended to protect against health concerns associated with juice production, raw orange juice naturally possesses antimicrobial properties from the vitamin C, citric acid, and other compounds within it. When you keep all of those in tact, instead of oxidizing the crap out of it, orange juice protects itself as well as supporting your health!

Fresh OJ contains lots of vitamin C and bioflavanoids, making it a powerful antioxidant source

Speaking of antioxidants, ever wonder why vitamin C is supposed to be so supportive to your immune system? It’s because it actually increases your white blood cell count—as long as it’s coming from a whole food source, with the entire C complex intact. Vitamin C is one of the most major and important antioxidants your body needs for optimal health. And as we all know, orange juice is a great source for it—especially when it’s raw.

Fresh, raw OJ also is rich in bioflavanoids, which are plant pigments that enhance the bioavailability of nutrients such as vitamin C. Even when added to synthetic vitamin C, bioflavanoids significantly increase how much C is absorbed into your system. Combine them with the rich and untampered-with C complex in fresh oranges, and you’ve got one of the best sources of one of the best antioxidants you could possibly consume.

Orange juice is an anti-aging collagen booster

Put down that mug of gelatin-rich bone broth, y’all. Did you know that your body can’t actually assimilate and produce collagen without vitamin C?  Yup!

All the gelatin in the world won’t help fill those fine lines and support your skin’s elasticity without adequate vitamin C. The antioxidant vitamin is essential for collagen production, which is not only good for looking younger, but supporting a healthy digestive system, strong bones & teeth, and more. And no, a C supplement often isn’t enough, because unless it’s a whole-food form, it won’t contain the full vitamin C complex. Getting vitamin C from food sources is ideal, and orange juice has plenty of it. So if you want the beauty benefits of collagen in your broth, drink your juice, too!

(NB:  I add a teaspoon of powdered gelatin to my OJ for exactly this reason!)

Fresh orange juice is a good source of magnesium and other minerals and vitamins

Orange juice is a surprising mineral powerhouse. One quart of orange juice contains over 100 milligrams of magnesium! That’s a significant portion of the amount of magnesium you should be getting every day. Magnesium is an incredibly important substance. It’s necessary for cellular metabolism of ATP, or the energy your body needs to carry out all of its functions, as well as all your steroidal hormones.

Worried about all that sugar you’d be drinking, though? Well, the magnesium that comes in your OJ is actually essential for blood sugar regulation, too, and keeps blood glucose levels normalized. As well as potassium, another key nutrient found plentifully in orange juice. Potassium is involved in regulating both blood sugar and insulin levels. Potassium works by getting sugar into the cell, which regulates cellular metabolism and makes use of that sugar by using it as fuel.

Potassium has other benefits, too. It determines cellular hydration, by keeping sodium in circulation, which regulates water retention and blood volume. Potassium is also vital for carbohydrate metabolism, protein synthesis, and much more. Just one small 8 ounce glass of fresh OJ provides about 15% of your daily requirements for potassium.

In addition to all those awesome minerals, raw orange juice boasts significant amounts of folate (19% of your DV from one 8 ounce glass), B-6, thiamin, choline, and vitamin A. And the vitamin C count? A whopping 207% of your recommended daily value in one little glass.

Orange juice supports your adrenals and thyroid

The many anti-stress nutrients in orange juice, including magnesium, vitamin C, and potassium—act as a support system for your adrenals, thyroid, and stress-response system. These nutrients are essential in the production and conversion of active thyroid hormone T3. Without them, your thyroid can’t keep up with your body’s hormonal demands, and overall physiological stress is increased.

When the adrenal glands are overworked due to chronic stress and lack of nutritional stores, they may not be able to supply your body with hormones such as cortisol, in the amounts needed to maintain homeostasis in your everyday life. For example, cortisol is supposed to rise in the morning, get you up and ready and hungry to eat a nice big breakfast, and then taper off once your belly is full. But your adrenals can’t produce cortisol or function normally without adequate potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, B vitamins, and other nutrients. You’ll get a nice big dose of those of them in a glass of fresh orange juice, though!

If you really want to boost your OJ’s thyroid-and-adrenal-supporting superpowers, you’ll want to add a few shakes of sea salt to your cup. Salt down-regulates stress hormones and supports both of these glands immensely. But overall, OJ itself contains an impressive array of nutrients which work together synergistically to support hormone health.

(NB: Yep, this is what I do)

Orange juice contains beneficial natural sugars that lower stress and boost metabolism

Yes, that’s right—beneficial sugars. If you think all sugar (and especially fructose, that devil) is evil, you’re misinformed.

The sugar in orange juice comes in three different forms—sucrose, glucose, and fructose. But sucrose is glucose and fructose bonded together, so really we’re just dealing with glucose and fructose here. Taking that a step further, fructose gets converted into glucose in the liver—so when all’s said and done, we’re just talking about glucose.

And what’s glucose good for? Oh, I don’t know… providing fuel for every single cell in your body to function, for one thing. If you don’t consume glucose from carbohydrates providing sugars, your body will do whatever it needs to make it itself—including taking protein from your muscle tissue to turn it into that much-needed sugar. Everyone knows you need a certain level of sugar (that’d be glucose) in your blood, otherwise you’d die.

Having adequate glucose intake supports your body’s metabolism in a multitude of ways. When you’re too low in blood sugar (which happens when you avoid sugar),  stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol skyrocket to damaging levels, because they’re responsible for restoring the sugar to your bloodstream (like by using that cool eating-your-own-muscles trick). But give yourself some glucose straight-up? That sends the message to your body that, “Hey, we’re good here, stress hormones. You can chill.”

Cellular metabolism—the process by which your body produces energy in order to function—is entirely dependent on providing enough fuel to the cells. What’s the fuel they need most? (Yup—you’re onto me…) Glucose. And you get plenty of it, from a natural whole food source, with orange juice.”

Read Emily’s full article here

So rest easy guys, and enjoy your real OJ in the confident knowledge that you’ll be doing your body a power of good.


Izabella Natrins

I'm here to inspire and support women at midlife and beyond to re-ignite purpose and meaning to take back control of their health and create the radical, resilient heath they want and deserve. As a whole-health expert with over 30 years experience in the field, a qualified Health and Wellness Coach and Ballymaloe-trained nutritional chef, my real food nutrition and lifestyle medicine programmes support women fighting fatigue, struggling with overwhelm, weight gain, sleep, energy and niggling or multiple diagnosed health issues. As an advocate for real food nutrition, regenerative agriculture and whole-health, my book 'The Real Food Solution' is an evidence-based treasury wisdom for energy, vitality and better health for people and planet and a call to action to change the way we grown, source and cook our food. As the CEO at The UK Health Coaches Association, I'm proud to continue the task of leading the first professional association for Health and Wellness Coaches in the world and the gold standard for the UK and Ireland.

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2 Responses

  1. February 26, 2018

    […] from me: OJ is your friend. I regularly buy organic juicing boxes on-line and juice my own and most supermarkets now stock […]

  2. March 17, 2018

    […] eggs, add chopped herbs of choice and scramble in a nice nugget of butter.  Add a glass of fresh ‘spiked’ orange juice and your body will thank […]

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