Orange juice is a well-loved beverage at breakfast (or any part of the day, really), but can it contribute to better heart health?
Blood pressure or hypertension is the most easily configurable condition of the heart, and it’s something that you can control easily with medication, a change in diet and lifestyle, and exercise. High blood pressure is prevalent all-cause comorbidity for various types of cardiovascular disease.
In short, having high blood pressure means you are slated for developing other complications of the heart. Over 1 billion individuals worldwide suffer from hypertension, most of which have systolic values over 130 mm Hg.
The average diastolic blood pressure is no more than 80 mm Hg. The goal of therapy for hypertension is to lower the moderate blood pressure per day to cut the risk for heart disease. Modifying your diet is still essential even if you are already taking hypertension medications.
There are plenty of changes that you can make to improve your diet and make it a heart-friendly diet. Citrus fruits are noted scientifically for having antihypertensive properties. One study that involved 22 patients revealed that drinking 500 ml of commercial orange juice every day decreased blood pressure by 5.13%-5.91%. There were no significant differences in the blood pressure impact with freshly squeezed orange juice.
Can I Drink Orange Juice with High Blood Pressure?
Yes, you can drink orange juice as part of your daily regimen to reduce your blood pressure. Studies suggest that two glasses of orange juice (fresh or commercial) can help reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Orange juice is not the cure for blood pressure, but together with exercise, less salt, and a healthier lifestyle overall, you can help lower your blood pressure naturally.
Diet has always been critical to heart patients, and high blood pressure has never been suitable for anyone. Hypertension is known for speeding up the clogging of arteries. Despite the enormous help that hypertension medications can bring to the picture, a bad diet is still a lousy diet. It won’t contribute to your recovery if you are suffering from hypertension.
A Cleveland Clinic study spearheaded by Dr. Dennis L. Sprecher and was funded by Tropicana (the orange juice brand) aimed to discover if orange juice had any beneficial effect on people suffering from hypertension. Twenty-five patients were studied, and every patient had partly clogged arteries and hypertension already.
All the patients were medicating for hypertension, but it turned out that the medication wasn’t doing them any good. The patients were asked to consume just two glasses of commercial orange juice (sugar added). Their blood pressure was reduced.
There were further phases in the study that involved drinking OJ with vitamin C and OJ with vitamin E and vitamin C (all fortified juices). As the weeks continued, the patients’ blood pressure readings continued to drop gradually, and eventually, everyone had normal blood pressure already. It appears that vitamin C had a lot to do with the blood pressure changes, on top of the natural compounds found in orange juice.
Does Pre-Produced Orange Juice from Grocery Store have the Same Effect?
Pre-produced orange juice or commercial orange juice is good for you. Current studies about the effectiveness of commercial orange juice show very little difference in the health benefits derived from fresh orange juice and commercial orange juice.
So, if you are drinking orange juice specifically to help reduce your blood pressure, you have complete liberty in selecting either fresh orange juice from your juicer at home, or you can buy a carton of sweetened orange juice.
Now, you may be worried about the added sugar found in commercial orange juice. This is a valid concern since the added sugar in commercial orange juice can be counterintuitive if you drink too much. The solution is to find a brand of commercial orange juice that doesn’t have added sugar or has less sugar. You can compare the various labels when you are at the supermarket to see which brand of orange juice packs less sugar per serving.
Keep in mind, though, that orange juice without the added sugar will not be as sweet, and you will get hints of bitterness mixed with the tartness and the natural sweetness. The bitterness is not a sign of lower-quality juice.
Oranges contain a chemical compound called limonin, which is a potent antioxidant. It’s good for the body, but it doesn’t taste great at all. Wheat happens the limonin is liberated from the cells of the orange when the orange is broken up and juiced, and as the limonin stays in the juice, the juice gets even more bitter. The bitterness is not extreme, so there’s nothing wrong with having a bit of anger mixed in with the sweetness.
What Kind of Juice Lowers Blood Pressure?
The great thing about juices is you can produce them at home, so you are not limited to buying just the pre-produced or commercial variants in the supermarket. You can use your juicer at home to make fresh juice.
Citrus juices are excellent for controlling high blood pressure. Coupled with a healthy diet and getting enough daily exercise, you are sure to get better blood pressure when you start drinking more lemon juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, etc. Citrus fruits, in general, have similar health benefits, and these attributes are all supportive of cardiovascular health.
One study that focused on the intake of lemon juice showed that citric acid concentration benefitted the patients’ heart through various mechanisms, resulting in positive changes in their blood pressure.