Lab tests have revealed that the concentration of vitamin C in orange juice is significantly affected by a whole range of parameters, such as the source of orange juice (fresh fruit/juice concentrate/frozen concentrated juice/canned or packed juices), the produce of oranges and their level of ripening, the environmental/climatic conditions under which oranges have been grown, the processing method, handling/storage conditions, and the type of storage container.
Chemically identified as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a very essential micro-nutrient in the maintenance of good health.
It plays an important role in the production of collagen, absorption of iron, formation of red blood cells, healing of wounds, keeping teeth and gums healthy, destruction of free radicals, and boosting of immunity to fight infections.
But our body cannot manufacture its own vitamin C, nor can it store this water-soluble vitamin. Hence, the bodys requirement of vitamin C has to be met on a daily basis through the diet.
Orange juice is a widely used and one of the best sources of vitamin C, capable of providing much of the bodys daily requirement.
It can be easily made at home by pressing fresh oranges in a citrus press or juicer, but many people prefer the commercially available varieties of orange juice for convenience sake.
However, the concentration of vitamin C in orange juice varies widely among the various commercial preparations. So, while making your choice of orange juice, you have to keep in mind the following factors.
Factors Affecting Vitamin C in Orange Juice
First and foremost, remember that when it comes to vitamin C in orange juice, no commercial preparation can match the goodness of homemade freshly squeezed orange juice.
This is quite expected, as this juice is fresh, pure, unprocessed and free of preservatives. It must be noted, however, that vitamin C is extremely sensitive to light, heat and oxygen.
So exposure to air can reduce the vitamin C content of any type of orange juice at the rate of 2% a day.
Among the commercially processed varieties, the frozen concentrated orange juice has the maximum vitamin C, followed by juices reconstituted from orange concentrates, and last, the ready-to-drink canned or carton-packed juices.
The same holds true for vitamin C in fruit juices in general, not just for orange juice. So while buying processed fruit juices, dont forget to check for the 100% fruit juice label and the date of packing.
To prevent the degradation of vitamin C in fruit juices, always store them in the refrigerator and consume within a week of opening the pack. Freezing preserves the vitamin C, while exposure to air destroys it.
Orange Juice Ingredients
If you are thinking that vitamin C is the only nutrient you are getting by drinking orange juice, you are in for a big surprise.
There are many other essential micro-nutrients that a glass of orange juice can supply. Some important orange juice ingredients in addition to vitamin C include minerals like potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium, and vitamin A.
So, dont miss out on the health benefits of this delicious fruit, and go ahead and grab your glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.