Florida citrus and juice are a smart food choice for people of all ages, but some vitamins, minerals and nutrients may be especially beneficial at particular life stages. Read on to learn more about what Florida citrus can do for you and your family right now.
Almost all nutrient intake requirements are increased during pregnancy and lactation, which makes it even more important for women to consume nutrient-rich foods during this critical time period.
Vitamin C promotes the absorption of some forms of iron, helping the body fight anemia, which in the early stages of pregnancy may increase the risk for pre-term birth and low birth weight. This powerful antioxidant is important to support the body’s natural ability to fight infections because it helps support a healthy immune system. Vitamin C is also essential to help form collagen for developing bones and tissue. One 8-ounce glass of 100 percent orange juice provides most of the 85 milligrams of vitamin C needed on a daily basis by pregnant adult women.1
Folate (Folic Acid)
Folate is essential for fetal growth and development. It plays a role in DNA formation and cell division. Folic acid, the synthetic form of the vitamin found in supplements and fortified foods, is associated with helping reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spinal cord, known as “neural tube defects.” Women should get adequate folic acid before and during early pregnancy and consume a healthy diet that includes foods with natural folate, such as 100 percent orange juice.2 Pregnant women need 600 micrograms of folate each day.1 One hundred percent Florida orange juice is one of the few fruit juices considered a good source of natural folate and is recommended as part of a folate-rich diet.
Potassium helps to maintain proper fluid balance, support healthy blood pressure and ensure a normal heart beat, muscle function and energy production. One 8-ounce glass of 100 percent Florida orange juice provides 14 percent of the Daily Value for potassium.
Calcium helps build strong, dense bones in the mother and child and may help pregnant women maintain healthy blood pressure. It is especially important in the later stages of pregnancy when the skeleton is developing. Calcium-fortified orange juice is an excellent, non-dairy source of calcium, typically providing 300 to 350 milligrams per serving, or about one-third of the Daily Value for pregnant women.3
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps kids’ bodies with lots of important functions. Vitamin C is essential to help form collagen for developing bones and tissue, which also helps support the healing process. Vitamin C may also help support a healthy immune system. A 6-ounce glass of 100 percent orange juice provides 100 percent or more of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin C for children ages one through six.1
Calcium is a key building block for strong, healthy bones. It is recommended that children ages one to eight years receive 700-1000 milligrams of calcium daily, and teenagers need even more – 1300 mg.4 Calcium-fortified orange juice can be an excellent source of calcium to help enhance calcium intake for kids and teens.
Potassium plays an important role in a child’s health, as it may help muscles function properly during physical activity. One hundred percent orange juice is a sodium-free, nutrient-rich beverage containing potassium, which may help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and muscle function.
Folate is important for the formation of new cells to support growth and development. Folate also may help in the production of red blood cells, which supply the body with oxygen to maintain energy levels.
Vitamin C may not only contribute to collagen production, but also helps support a young adult’s body in its natural fight against infection from common germs because it helps support a healthy immune system. One 8-ounce glass of 100 percent Florida orange juice provides 100 percent or more of the Daily Value for vitamin C.
Calcium, found in calcium-fortified orange juice, aids in bone development and may help support healthy blood pressure and muscle function, helping keep young bodies active and strong. Adequate calcium intake also may help young adults reduce the risk of osteoporosis in their later years. Getting the daily recommended amount of calcium may help optimize bone health.5
Folate is important for all women of childbearing age to help reduce their risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect. An 8-ounce glass of 100 percent Florida orange juice contains about 11 percent of the Daily Value of 400 micrograms.
Potassium plays an important role in cardiovascular health by helping regulate the body’s nerve functions, heartbeat and may help maintain healthy blood pressure. Potassium also may help young adults lead an active lifestyle with its involvement in functions that release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates during metabolism. Eight ounces of 100% orange juice is a good source of potassium and contains organic acids like citric acid. The combination of these compounds may help the body regulate acidity. Unregulated, higher levels of acidity could lead to loss of calcium from bone.
Phytochemicals are any chemicals that come from a plant. Phytonutrients are the subgroup of phytochemicals that may act as nutrients when consumed by humans. These typically occur in very small amounts and when consumed, may provide people with nutritional or health benefits.
Citrus phytonutrients, including carotenoids, have been shown to have biological interactions at many different levels — from affecting digestion, to interacting with genes or enzymes in the bloodstream and organs. Phytonutrients may also act as biological antioxidants. Antioxidants may help neutralize free radicals; although free radicals are normally produced in the body, the presence of excessive amounts and over an extended period of time, may damage cells and tissues and lead to the development of diseases. Orange juice naturally supplies a host of phytonutrients that many scientists believe may naturally support good health throughout life.
Vitamin C helps support a healthy immune system and may act as an antioxidant. Antioxidants may help neutralize free radicals; although free radicals are normally produced in the body, the presence of excessive amounts and over an extended period of time, may damage cells and tissues and lead to the development of diseases. Vitamin C also supports collagen production, which may help support skin and tissue health. Vitamin C’s role as an antioxidant may help fight inflammation. Chronic inflammation may lead to a number of chronic health issues.
Folate (Folic Acid)
Folate is an essential vitamin that some studies suggest may have a role in supporting brain health.6,7 One 8-ounce glass of 100 percent orange juice each day provides 11 percent of the Daily Value for folate. Orange juice is one of the few 100 percent fruit juices that is considered a good source of this nutrient.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and worldwide. The folate provided by 100 percent orange juice may help maintain healthy homocysteine levels. Elevated homocysteine in the blood has been identified as a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease.2
Potassium may play an important role in cardiovascular health and diets containing foods that are a good source of potassium and that are low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.8 One-hundred percent orange juice is a good source of potassium and contains organic acids like citric acid. The combination of these compounds may help your body neutralize acidity. Higher levels of acidity could lead to loss of calcium from bone. One 8-ounce glass of orange juice provides 14 percent of the recommended Daily Value.
Calcium, found in calcium-fortified orange juice, can help support bone and tooth health, blood pressure regulation and muscle function, which are important considerations at any stage of life.
Women over the age of 40 need a diet rich in calcium not only because it may help support bone health, but also may help support a healthy blood pressure and cardiovascular health. An 8-ounce glass of calcium-fortified orange juice provides about one-third of the Daily Value for calcium.
Thiamin, also known as vitamin B1, is important to the health of both men and women. It plays a role in the functions that help the body to convert food into energy. An 8-ounce glass of orange juice provides 18 percent of the Daily Value for thiamin.
Magnesium-rich diets may help support healthy blood pressure and cardiovascular health, and may contribute to bone health in men and women. An 8-ounce glass of orange juice supplies 7 percent of the Daily Value for magnesium.
Research suggests that orange juice consumption may be associated with favorable effects on blood pressure and blood vessel function and that these benefits may be partially attributable to the flavonoid, hesperidin, found in oranges and orange juice.9
- Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. Washington DC: The National Academies Press, 2006.
- Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington DC: National Academy Press, 1998.
- Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington DC: National Academy Press, 2011.
- Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington DC: The National Academies Press, 2011.
- National Osteoporosis Foundation. www.nof.org/node/172. Accessed 11/30/11.
- Vogel T et al. Int J Clin Pract. 2009;63:1061-1067.
- Mischoulon D et al. J Clin Psychiatry. 2007;68(suppl 10):28-33.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition. A Food Labeling Guide. September, 1994 (Editorial revisions June, 1999). Appendix C: Health Claims. http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/flg-6c.html. Accessed November 8, 2011.
- Morand C et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93:73–80.