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One Major Side Effect of Drinking Orange Juice, Say Experts

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Maybe you’ve long started your morning with a tall glass of orange juice (and The TODAY Show). Maybe you gulp down some OJ post-workout a few times a week. Maybe you’re freshly squeezing the stuff every other day for a cohort of happy imbibers. Or perhaps you’re a stranger to OJ unless it’s in the context of mimosa.

Well, dear readers, we’re here to sing orange juice’s praises. Especially one incredible side effect of drinking orange juice—and that has to do with a chemical found in plants called hesperidin. (Related: 100 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.)

The benefits of orange juice.

First, a quick overview of the nutrient-dense beverage: “100% Orange juice is a simple drink that is hydrating and contains no added sugars. It contains important nutrients like vitamin C, folate, and potassium, and is linked to a slew of health benefits,” comments Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian at Nutrition Now.

In addition to pure OJ being “an excellent source of immune-helping vitamin C,” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a plant-based registered dietitian and owner of Plant-Based Eats, the nutrient we want to zoom in on today for its incredible health benefits is the flavonoid hesperidin.

One major side effect of drinking orange juice is reaping the benefits of hesperidin: a bioactive compound found in high quantities in OJ.

“Hesperidin may help brain health by decreasing inflammation and maintaining blood flow,” says Gorin.

Additionally, drinking 100% orange juice may lower blood pressure in certain populations. “In a study in the European Journal of Nutrition, people drank orange juice, hesperidin-enriched orange juice, or a control beverage daily for three months. The researchers found that continued intake of the beverages that contained hesperidin helped to lower systolic blood pressure (which measures the pressure on the walls of your arteries in between heartbeats),” she continues, noting that since typical OJ naturally contains hesperidin (and is not enhanced with it), so what the study really highlights is the benefits of hesperidin. Plain OJ is a great way to obtain this nutrient, she adds.

Another neat side effect of orange juice? “If you drink a glass of 100% OJ a day, you may experience fewer kidney stones,” states Manaker. “100% OJ is 88% water, fueling your body with important hydration that can help keep your kidneys healthy. Plus, dietary citrate, found in foods like 100% OJ, inhibits the formation of certain kidney stones. Drinking 100% OJ has been shown to reduce the risk of developing kidney stones, according to a study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.”

How to drink orange juice to reap the benefits of hesperidin.

It’s important to note that all orange juices are not created equal. “When you purchase OJ, you should look for 100% orange juice. So basically, nothing with added sugars,” advises Gorin. “The serving size is eight ounces for adults and four ounces for kids daily.” Like all things in life, too much of a good thing ain’t so sweet, and drinking too much orange juice may make you gain weight or increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.

READ MORE: Does Orange Juice Really Help With a Cold? We Asked an Expert

While Gorin wouldn’t suggest choosing OJ over sipping water throughout the day, she says that the fruit juice can definitely be incorporated into your day as a fruit serving. “It makes a great base for an orange smoothie, or it can be an addition to an orange cake or orange muffins!”

Smoothie time? You don’t have to tell us twice!

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