Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the link between nutrition and reducing the risk of disease. While most people know that eating the right foods in the proper amounts is essential for good health, a growing body of evidence suggests that certain foods containing vitamin C, fiber, folate and other vitamins and minerals may be especially beneficial to maintaining personal wellness.
Hundreds of studies have been conducted on the nutrients found in citrus fruit, including orange juice, and the role these nutrients play in reducing the risk of such diseases as cancer and heart disease, when part of a low fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Florida citrus fruit, which contain essential vitamins and minerals, are an important part of a healthy diet for all men, women and children. In both fresh and juice form, Florida citrus - including oranges, grapefruit and specialty varieties such a temple oranges, tangerines and tangelos - have many important nutritional benefits. Some of these benefits are listed below:
An eight-ounce glass of Florida orange juice supplies 100 percent or more of the Daily Value for vitamin C, a valuable "antioxidant". Scientists believe that antioxidants may counteract the harmful molecules called "free radicals," which they believe may contribute to the onset of several major diseases. Vitamin C also helps maintain collagen, the substance that helps the human body repair body tissue. Folate, a B vitamin commonly found in orange juice and green leafy vegetables, has been shown to help reduce the risk of certain types of birth defects. Fresh Florida oranges and grapefruit contain dietary fiber, including soluble fiber. Fiber aids in digestion and elimination, and, when part of a low fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables, may help reduce the risk of some cancers. And low fat diets rich in fruits and vegetables containing soluble fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease. Florida citrus juices like orange juice are natural sources of potassium, and all citrus fruit are sodium and cholesterol-free. Research shows that regular exercise and a balanced diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in fat can help maintain a healthy weight. The following is an overview of some of the latest findings on how the nutrients found in citrus fruit may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease and some birth defects:
"Florida orange juice, as part of a healthy diet, helps in the fight against cancer." -American Cancer Society
By making some simple changes to dietary and lifestyle habits, we may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Recent studies have reported a direct link between the nutrients found in citrus fruit and reducing cancer risk:
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute have long maintained that a low-fat diet high in vitamin C-rich foods may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
"Florida grapefruit and 100% pure Florida grapefruit juice are certified as part of a heart-healthy diet." -American Heart Association
According to recent research, a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables like Florida citrus fruit and their juices juice, may help fight against heart disease:
The Food and Drug Administration has concluded that diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease, FDA also has concluded that low fat diets high in fruits and vegetables containing fiber, including soluble fiber, may reduce the at risk of heart disease. Florida citrus fruit and their juices are fat- and cholesterol-free and citrus fruit like oranges and grapefruit are high in fiber.
"Adequate Folic acid, the B vitamin in orange juice, may reduce the risk of certain birth defects." -March of Dimes
Research shows that women of childbearing age who eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables containing folate may decrease the risk of having children with birth defects:
About 2,500 cases of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly, occur every year in the United States. Babies born with spina bifida have backbones that do not fully form around the nerves of the spinal column, while babies with anencephaly are born without most of the brain and cannot survive. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), women of childbearing age can dramatically reduce the risk of having a child with these birth defects by consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables to maintain adequate levels of folate (the most frequently consumed dietary source of folate is orange juice). Since most neural tube birth defects occur in the first six to eight weeks after conception, it is important that women of childbearing age consume adequate daily levels of folate before, and soon after, they become pregnant.
The old adage, "you are what you eat," has taken on a whole new meaning. There is a growing body of medical research that supports the health benefits of antioxidants such as vitamin C, as well as folate, dietary fiber (including soluble fiber), and other vitamins and minerals found in Florida citrus.
The above information has been technically reviewed by the American Dietetic Association.