Pregnancy comes with a lot of rules for your diet – eat this, not that! Along with nausea and food cravings, it can be difficult to find balance in your diet, not to mention drink fluids that help hydrate you. Drinking Indian River Select® Brand Orange Juice can help you fulfill your nutrient quota, but also help hydrate you. When pregnant women are encouraged to drink 8 to 10 cups of fluids daily it can seem like an overwhelming feat. Have no fear, this may not be as daunting as it sounds if you don’t rely entirely on water as your sole source of hydration. Reach both your fluid and vitamin goals while simultaneously meeting your daily fruit group requirements of 2 cups set by the USDA. Almost all nutrient intake requirements are increased during pregnancy and lactation, which makes it even more important for women to consume nutrient-rich foods during this critical time period.
Here are six phenomenal reasons why drinking orange juice daily during your pregnancy is great for you and baby.
If orange juice is known for anything, it’s the vitamin C! An 8 oz serving of Indian River Select® Brand Orange Juice has 124 mg vitamin C, which is 1.45 times more than the 85 mg you require during pregnancy. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant your body needs to keep your immune system up and running. It provides protection against external pathogens as well as free radicals within the body. During pregnancy, your body generates more free radicals and hence needs more antioxidants to counter damage to your cells as well as to your fetus. This is why you are advised to load up on green veggies and fresh fruits.
Hydration is an approximately measurement of reserves of water on the human body, and a severe reduction in hydration from either no water intake or diuretic usage is known as dehydration and recent studies have shown that orange juice is a great source of hydration even ahead of sports drinks and sparkling water.
Orange juice can also contribute to your folate or vitamin B9 intake. An 8 oz serving has 72 mcg, while a single fresh orange has 26 mcg. Considering that during pregnancy, your daily requirement of folate increases from 400 mcg to 600 mcg, 8 oz orange juice can give you 12% of your daily requirement. Of course, this has to be supplemented with other folate-rich foods and folic acid (synthetic form of folate) supplements.
Calcium helps build strong, dense bones in the mother and child and may help pregnant women maintain healthy blood pressure. It is especially important in the later stages of pregnancy when the skeleton is developing. Calcium-fortified orange juice is an excellent, non-dairy source of calcium. A glass of calcium-fortified orange juice contains the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk and can help lactose-intolerant people get their daily requirement of calcium.
It Can Lower Blood Pressure
Orange juice is also a good source of potassium, with an 8 oz serving offering 496 mg potassium, which is about 10% of your daily requirement. Potassium is essential for healthy heart function, fluid balance, and digestion. It also regulates your blood pressure and prevents hypertension, which is essential to prevent preeclampsia, low birth weight, and preterm delivery. On top of this, a glass of orange juice has negligible amounts of sodium, giving it a reputation for maintaining heart health. That apart, oranges contain an antioxidant known as hesperidin, which has been found to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Pregnancy comes with an increased demand for iron thanks to the increase in the number of blood vessels. The daily requirement of iron jumps from 18 mg to 27 mg, and you need to be especially careful to meet your iron needs and stave off deficiency in the later stages of pregnancy. A lack of iron in the diet can have consequences like anemia, preterm delivery, and poor development of the baby. While prenatal supplements contain iron, it’s best to get the nutrient from food sources. But while heme iron found in animal meat is easily absorbed by your body, for pregnant women, eating meat sources of iron every day is not advisable.
Beside vitamin C, oranges have several carotenoids like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin, among which the latter is present in the largest amount – 416 mcg in an 8 oz serving. Beta-carotene has been established as a potent antioxidant that offers protection against oxidative stress and inflammation. Lutein and xeazanthin found in it also help protect vision. Studies suggest that beta-cryptoxanthin is absorbed by the body even better than the other carotenoids. Like beta-carotene, it is converted into retinol or vitamin A inside the body. In addition, it is known to improve bone health and delay the onset of osteoporosis.