If you listen to the proponents of good health, almost all of them will tell you that you need more fruits and vegetables.
That’s a given.
But for many Americans, filling their day up with fruits and veggies is easier said than done.
This is why many of them will resort to adding things like fruit juices into their diets.
The most popular, by far, is orange juice.
Most Americans drink several gallons of orange juice over the course of the year.
Oddly enough, orange juice drinkers believe the fresher the squeeze on the OJ, the better it is for them.
But it turns out this might not be true.
Fresh squeezed orange juice might not be the healthiest option.
According to a new study, the nutrient content of fresh orange juice might actually be lower than its frozen counterpart.
In this new study, Researchers at the Laboratory of Food Colour and Quality at the University of Seville, Spain, analyzed how bioaccessible two of the most prominent health compounds known to appear in orange juice really were.
Bioaccessibility is the term for assessing how readily available certain compounds are for total absorption into the body.
While fresh OJ had the highest levels of these carotenoids, that didn’t necessarily mean that the human body assimilates them well.
But before you learn why, you might as well know what these carotenoids are.
The main carotenoids in OJ are phytoene and phytofluene. Researchers believe that these carotenoids have high levels of antioxidant activity which could help to fight conditions like prostate cancer, breast cancer, and atherosclerosis, and more.
These two carotenoids are not just found in OJ, but are also known to appear in tomatoes, carrots, and other citrus fruits.
Now the reason that fresh OJ isn’t as helpful at delivering the maximum value of these carotenoids is complicated, and here’s what Medical News Today has to say about the phenomenon.
Using an imaging technique called transmission electron microscopy, researchers analyzed the cell structures of fresh and pasteurized orange juices, as well as those of ultra frozen orange juice defrosted either at room temperature, in the microwave oven, or in the fridge.
The researchers found that cold treatments lead to a greater degradation of the carotenoids in the orange juice. However, cold treatments also increased the bioaccessibility of these carotenoids, which means greater benefits for our health.
Of all the cold treatments analyzed, ultra frozen orange juice — which was defrosted to either room temperature or in a microwave — provided the most bioaccessible phytoene and phytofluene.
“That is to say, despite the fact that the concentration of carotenoids in the deep-frozen juices was less than in the fresh juice,” explains the lead investigator, “the reduction in the size of the particles and the destruction of the cellular material that [this] treatment produce[s] mean that the amount of carotenoids that can be absorbed by the intestine is higher.”
“[F]resh juice is the juice that has the highest concentration of carotenoids, but this does not mean that it is the one that raises the carotenoid level in the blood and tissue the most, as you have to take into account the amount of carotenoids that are actually absorbed,” further explain the researchers.
The scientists confirm that, of the treatments, pasteurization is the most damaging to carotenoids. Study co-author Antonio J. Meléndez, a professor at the University of Seville Faculty of Pharmacy, comments on the importance of the findings.
This flies in the face of what many people believe about fresh juice.
It would appear that just because the levels of carotenoids are lower in frozen OJ doesn’t necessarily matter since your body can use them better.
At the end of the day, if you’re going to drink OJ, you’ll have to weigh what’s more important to you.
Receiving the maximum health benefits from OJ, or getting an OJ that tastes better.
If you’re going for the healthier alternative, it should encourage you to know that frozen OJ Is a lot more affordable than fresh, so that can be another reason to add it into the mix.
Now go enjoy some OJ, just not too much since many are high in added sugars.