Did you know, May 4th is National Orange Juice Day? Consider starting your day off with a glass of tasty orange juice or a fresh, sweet orange added to a healthy breakfast. Pack a delicious orange in your lunch. Bring a bag or bowl of flavorful oranges to work to share some Vitamin C with your co-workers. Snack on a tangerine when you are looking for an evening snack. MyPlate recommends making ½ your plate fruits and vegetables. https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/fruits
“Orange slices are always our go-to snack after soccer, track, football, and basketball games. It’s great for hydration and the natural sugar really pumps them up!” -SF, mother of three
What are the different kinds of oranges and products you can purchase in the grocery store? Fresh, or frozen concentrate orange juice, mandarin oranges, clementines, tangerines, orange segments in individual packages or jars, navel oranges, blood oranges, honey bell, or cutie’s, to name a few. Fresh oranges come with or without seeds, so check the label.
What’s inside an orange? An orange contains things such as fruit segments, Vitamin C, juice to hydrate on a hot and humid day, pith, antioxidants, and fiber. A ¾ cup of orange juice contains about 93 mg of Vitamin C. Did you know the average orange usually has about 10 segments? What is pith? The white peeling inside an orange is called pith. The orange segments and the skin are separated by this white stringy fibrous material called “pith”. In most types of oranges, the skin can be peeled off the pith, and the segments can be pulled apart with your fingers to be eaten. Orange skin is often called “orange peel”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_(fruit)
Different types of orange juice. There are several different options of orange juice offered in the grocery store. You can purchase with or without pulp, fortified with nutrients like calcium, sweetened or unsweetened, fresh squeezed, frozen concentrate, juice boxes, cans or bottles. Look for 100% juice with no sugar added.
What does “fortified” mean when you see fortified orange juice on a label? Store-bought orange juice may be fortified or supplemented with added calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium and Vitamin D can help lead to stronger bones. Calcium and Vitamin D are two nutrients’ that Americans may fall short on. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-HealthProfessional/ Some juices have Vitamin C added. The amount of Vitamin C in each product varies. Check the nutrition label to see how much Vitamin C or fortification contained in products, contributes to your daily diet.
Benefits of drinking orange juice and Vitamin C? Many of us are thinking about boosting our immune system with Vitamin C during flu season and also during the pandemic. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has a wide variety of uses in the body. It helps to slow down or prevent cell damage. It is needed to keep body tissues and the immune system healthy. Vitamin C also helps the body absorb iron from plant foods. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FY215 Eating fruit provides health benefits. People who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic disease. Fruits provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.
What are other sources of Vitamin C? Fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamin C. Other sources include citrus fruits and fruit juice, red and green peppers, papaya, strawberries, kiwifruit, broccoli, cantaloupe, tomatoes, tomato juice, and potatoes. Consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/ https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/2021/study-supports-5-day-recommendations-fruits-and-vegetables
How much fruit should I consume? The amount of fruit you need to eat depends on your age, sex, height, weight, and level of physical activity. Check out MyPlate recommendations. https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/fruits
Enjoy delicious oranges and orange juice fresh from Florida today! Include other sources of Vitamin C too for a healthy and nutritious diet.
Want to learn more?
US Dietary Guidelines 2020-2025- https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/resources/2020-2025-dietary-guidelines-online-materials
Florida Fresh Oranges and Recipes- https://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/IR/00/00/21/55/00001/fy27100.pdf
Citrus Culture in the Home Landscape- https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/hs132