The health benefits of orange juice:
You get a full day’s worth of vitamin C:
Just one small glass (about 6 ounces) of 100% orange juice provides you with 93 mg of vitamin C, which is more than 100% of the RDA for both men and women (pregnant and nursing women need a little extra, so go for that slightly larger glass). The only foods that come close to that power-punch of C are red and green bell peppers, grapefruit, and kiwi. What’s so great about vitamin C? Well, my mom was right in that it does boost your immune system, helping you fight off colds. Vitamin C is also crucial for helping wounds heal, and research suggests the antioxidant properties of vitamin C may help prevent or delay certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. Taub-Dix points out that vitamin C also enhances the way iron is absorbed in the body.
It’s one of the best natural ways to get folate:
The CDC encourages all women to consume at least 400 mcg of folate (found naturally in food) or folic acid (the lab-created version, found in supplements and enriched food) each day to prevent neural tube defects in any future babies— it also helps keep your own blood healthy by promoting red blood cell growth. A cup of orange juice has about 15% of your RDA of folate, so drink that along with some fortified bread or cereal, spinach, nuts, and beans, and you should be good to go. (Talk to you your doctor to see if you need a supplement, especially if you’re pregnant or thinking about it.)
It has a lot of other powerful vitamins and minerals:
Though vitamin C gets all the attention, orange juice is also rich in potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, and several B vitamins. “Many brands are also fortified with calcium and vitamin D,” Taub-Dix points out.
It can reduce your risk of kidney stones:
Drink up your OJ every day, and you may reduce your risk of developing painful kidney stones by 12%, according to one study. OJ has a high level of potassium citrate, which binds to calcium in the urine, preventing stones from forming.