We all have our go-to remedies when it comes to illnesses. For me, an instant cure for a scratchy throat is orange juice. There’s just something about the acidity about OJ, and I don’t think I’m alone with my feel-better beverage of choice.
I mean, in theory, it makes sense. Vitamin C is proven to boost the immune system. Oranges are a major source for vitamin C, so orange juice should be too. False.
An article by the Lansing State Journal outlines two major reasons why oranges and orange juice are not on par when it comes to health benefits.
First of all, while oranges contain natural sugars, orange juice is chock full of high fructose corn syrup – which studies have shown to have a depressant effect on the immune system. The article explains in detail that you can measure how your white blood cells are fighting pathogens by measuring your leukocyte index (LI). Put simply, the higher the LI, the more pathogens are being destroyed, and the more efficiently your immune system is operating.
The carbs in fructose, and high fructose corn syrup, cause the body’s LI to decrease – preventing white blood cells from doing their job.
Second, juice might not be the most effective source of vitamin C.
The truth is, your body only has a finite number of receptors for nutrient gathering. Glucose often competes for the same “receptor-space” that Vitamin C does – so the higher the sugar content of juice actually hinders the absorption of the beneficial vitamins.
The good news, is water, hot tea, chicken soup, and whole fruit are still recommended remedies. Oh, and don’t sweat over Tropicana’s loss in profit. According to Bloomberg Businessweek they’ve got more tricks up their sleeves in order to maintain their juice market share.