The remarkable difference between oranges and orange juice is still a subject of contention. While many argue sucking the juices straight from oranges is the healthier option, some experts actually say that isn't completely the case. Although refined, orange juice is better digested and assimilated by the human body.
Nothing compares to eating whole foods; not only do they provide a great amount of nutrients, you can rest assured that they don't contain refined substances that can compromise your well-being.
However, when it comes to fresh oranges and it's processed version, the latter might just be the better option.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, juicing may improve how readily certain nutrients can be absorbed by the body.
The researchers compared the carotenoid, flavonoid and vitamin C concentrations in fresh orange segments, homogenized orange puree and orange juices that were made via different methods: freshly squeezed, pasteurized and flash-pasteurized. What they discovered was that the content of some carotenoids and flavonoids reduced with juicing, while the vitamin C content remained the same.
They also examined the bioaccessibility of these bioactives. In simpler terms, they measured the fraction of the compounds that are released from the food matrix in the digestive tract and made available for intestinal absorption.
What they found was that, compared to orange segments or puree, the bioaccessibility of carotenoids increased three- to four-fold in the orange juices. As for flavonoids, there was a four- to five-fold increase and the increase for vitamin C was approximately 10%.
Furthermore, researchers report that long-term consumption of orange juice can be linked to increased total antioxidant status, lower total cholesterol levels, and the prevention of increases in toxic compounds after meals high in fat and carbohydrate.
However, such refined juices are continuously disapproved because of high intrinsic sugar levels that are commonly associated with a higher risk of debilitating heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
While the easy digestion and absorption of nutrients from orange juice is a remarkable discovery, experts say that freshly pureed juice from a whole orange still provides more than 13% of the RDA for adults, which by FDA standards makes it an excellent source of vitamin C.
Furthermore, the only serious danger of taking such fresh juice is linked to poor juicing techniques or storage methods that may cause contamination and ultimately, food poisoning.
So if you do choose to make fresh orange juice for yourself, ensure that you keep the process as clean as possible and pasteurise the product, especially if you won't finish it at once.
Your ultimate decision solely depends on you. While you can enjoy the occasional orange juice box, squeezing some fresh juice is best for you. Just don't forget to practice utmost hygiene and pasteurise the drink as needed.