How drinking orange juice can help prevent cancer

By Siski Green , Friday 20 September 2013

Studies have found orange juice to reduce the risk of leukaemia and help prevent breast, liver and colon cancer too.

Orange juiceThe levels of antioxidants in orange juice are particularly high
However, there is a dark side to the sunshine-coloured liquid – too much orange juice can be toxic. Now a review of the available evidence has been published in an article for Nutrition and Cancer: An International Journal with the goal of coming to some conclusions.

Levels of antioxidants in orange juice are particularly high, particularly hesperitin and naringinin. Both are types of flavanoids, which are also anti-inflammatory and also act as vasodilators, widening blood vessels and thereby potentially improving flow. These and other components of orange juice work in several ways to battle cancer – the antioxidants work against cell-damaging free radicals; other substances help modulate cell signalling, an important element in preventing cancer; orange juice also has a well known antimicrobial and antiviral effect – which is partly why it might aid in preventing colds too – but this also helps stop cancer from progressing. Most importantly, orange juice is also antimutagenic, helping prevent the mutation of cells that leads to cancer.

The problem with orange juice is that for certain people – those with hypertension, kidney problems and also diabetic patients – it can prove toxic. When you consider that an orange contains only a small amount of juice – 60ml – it’s easy to see how you could easily ingest more fruit sugars than you intend, simply by downing a large glass of orange juice every day. That can lead to hyperglycaemia. Even for those who don’t have any of these health issues can experience unpleasant side effects of too much OJ: mouth ulcers, upset stomach, skin rashes and diarrhoea are all associated with excessive orange juice drinking.

If you can, try to get your orange juice goodness via the whole fruit rather than the juice. That way you’ll avoid overdoing it and get more vitamins from the pith that you eat along with the flesh too. If you still prefer a glass of OJ with your breakfast, stick to just one glass. A 100ml-glass will provide you with 50mg of vitamin C – the average person needs just 40mg per day for good health, says the Department of Health.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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