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health benefits of orange juice

3 Reasons Why a Pediatrician Thinks Florida Orange Juice is Important for Your Child’s Health!

We all know the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but I prefer a new saying – “A glass of OJ a day keeps illness at bay!” As a pediatrician, one of the most common questions parents ask is about how to help keep their child healthy. There are so many things you can do, but keeping kids healthy always starts with a healthy diet. Try as we may, as busy moms, it’s hard to create a nutritious breakfast that helps kids fight off germs and infection in the classroom. But I’m here to tell you there’s a quick and easy solution … a glass of Florida OJ! You’ll be astounded by all the health benefits of 100% orange juice, so let’s get started!

Health Benefits of 100% Orange Juice for Kids

Growing up in Florida, orange juice was a staple in our refrigerator. We even had an orange tree in our backyard. My mother always started our day with a glass of delicious (and nutritious) Florida Orange Juice, and I have so many childhood memories of visiting the Florida orange groves with my family.

Now that I’m a mom myself, I start my own children’s day with a glass of OJ to jumpstart their little immune systems before sending them off to school. Not only is this a nostalgic moment for me, but as a pediatrician, I can truly appreciate the immune boosting magic and other health benefits of Florida Orange Juice for my kids.

We are so honored and excited to collaborate with the Florida Department of Citrus to spread the word on the amazing health benefits of 100% orange juice. Many of us know Florida Orange Juice’s claim to fame, but there are many more amazing health benefits to drinking orange juice. So today, I’m giving you 3 fantastic reasons why a glass of Florida Orange Juice is so beneficial to your child’s health (and a BONUS reason why you should drink it, too!).

1. Its Claim to Fame…Vitamin C!!!

Florida Orange Juice is well known for being rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C strengthens our immune systems by protecting cells and promoting the production and function of immune cells. Vitamin C is also important in the formation of collagen, which is a vital component for the health of our bones, cartilage, and gums.

One 8-ounce glass of OJ provides more than 100% of your recommended daily value of vitamin C, making orange juice a quick and easy source of this important nutrient.

2. There’s No “I” in “TEAM”!

Yes, we all know vitamin C is the star of the show. But orange juice is packed with other antioxidants and vitamins that may help with not only your children’s immunity but their overall health as well. Check out these other vital nutrients found in 100% OJ:

No Dairy? No Problem!

With the rising number of children suffering from dairy allergies and lactose intolerance, fortified OJ becomes critical in providing the calcium and vitamin D kids need for growth and bone development. A calcium deficiency can lead to deterioration of bones (and osteoporosis later in life) because your body will take the calcium needed for normal cell function from your bones.

In addition to containing as much calcium as a glass of milk, fortified 100% orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin D. Recently, vitamin D has gotten more media attention for its critical role in fighting infection and building immunity. Multiple studies have found an association between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of infections, including influenza and other respiratory infections and sepsis.

During the winter months, it can be more challenging to get our children their daily recommended amount of vitamin D. While you may not be able to experience the Florida sunshine during colder months, you can certainly enjoy our fortified OJ – and soak up some liquid vitamin D instead!

Race to the Finish WITHOUT a Charley Horse

Many children suffer from muscle cramps, a.k.a. charley horses, after grueling sports practices. Dehydration can lead to an electrolyte imbalance, which can worsen muscle cramps. What if I told you there’s a natural drink that hydrates to perfection and contains electrolytes, such as potassium and magnesium, to help keep those charley horses at bay? Orange juice is that drink!

100% orange juice is naturally almost 90 percent water, which is perfect for staying well hydrated while being active. In fact, a recent study showed 100% orange juice ranks higher than many other beverages on several measures of hydration. In addition, 100% OJ also contains potassium and magnesium, which help prevent painful muscle cramps and aid in fluid balance. So go ahead and give your kids the nutrition they need to finish that race strong WITHOUT painful leg cramps!

Do You Know What Hesperidin Is? YOU SHOULD!

Hesperidin is a compound found almost exclusively in citrus fruits, and oranges contain particularly high concentrations of it. Similar to resveratrol in red wine or catechin in green tea, hesperidin is a bioflavonoid plant pigment with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The compound has links to cardiovascular health, cognitive function, immune health, bone health, and respiratory health. 100% orange juice is a unique source for hesperidin, since it’s rarely found in other foods.

3. It’s Naturally Delicious!

If you ask most children what they want for breakfast, their quick response is usually something sugary. Let’s be honest – the cereal aisle is the mecca for toddler meltdowns and tantrums, as parents try to rip their children away from the sugar filled morsels. Parents always ask me for tips and tricks to get their children to eat healthier. And my advice is to make it simple. Give them something sweet but not pumped full of added sugars and artificial ingredients.

My children always crave something sweet for breakfast. Delicious Florida Orange Juice is our go to for curbing the sweet tooth while sticking to a healthy diet. So satisfy those sweet cravings before starting the day while also providing essential nutrients and immune boosting powers. Florida Orange Juice is always naturally sweet and contains no added sugar.

BONUS: Don’t forget about YOU!

Did you know that orange juice also has some hidden anti-aging effects? YEP – you read me right. Vitamin C is a building block for collagen, and collagen is what keeps your skin nice and firm.

While pouring your child a glass of orange juice, don’t forget about one for yourself! OJ is particularly important for pregnant women, as oranges are a great source of folate, which helps with fetal development.

As mentioned before, OJ is also packed with magnesium and potassium, which are instrumental in treating leg cramps during pregnancy. We actually discovered this benefit when my sister was pregnant with her second child and suffered from terrible leg cramps. I guess we should add, “A glass of OJ a day keeps the leg spasms away!” to the list of my new favorite sayings about the health benefits of orange juice!

When giving juice to your children or baby, ALWAYS keep in mind the newest recommendations for beverage consumptions by the ABP:

Newest Recommendations for Beverage Consumption for Children Ages 0-5 Years

Babies 0-6 months

  • Only breast milk or infant formula.
  • It is not recommended to give any juice in this age group.

Babies 6-12 months

  • In addition to breast milk or formula, offer small amounts of water with foods.
  • It is not recommended to give any juice in this age group.

Toddlers 12-24 months

  • Whole Milk, water, and small amounts of 100% fruit juice to avoid added sugars (fruit is preferred).
  • No more than 4 oz of 100% fruit juice per day.

2 – 5 years

  • Milk (skim or 1%) and water, small amounts of 100% fruit juice (diluting it with some water is a good approach).
  • No more than 4 oz of 100% fruit juice per day for 2-3 year olds.
  • No more than 4-6 oz of 100% fruit juice per day for 4-5 year olds.

All kids ages 5 and under should avoid drinking flavored milks (e.g., chocolate, strawberry), caffeinated beverages (e.g. soda, coffee, tea, energy drinks), and sugar-free or low-calorie sweetened beverages (e.g. “diet” or “light” drinks, including those sweetened with stevia or sucralose). These beverages can be major sources of added sugars in young children’s diets and provide zero unique nutritional value.

Final Thoughts

The benefits of Florida Orange Juice are abundant. 100% orange juice is instrumental in promoting bone health and building immunity while tasting great with no added sugars! Giving our children an easy and healthy start to their day is one of the best gifts we can give them. And best of all, the health benefits of orange juice are not exclusive to children. I call Florida Orange Juice a BIG WIN for parents all around! Enjoy!

-Dr. Katie

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own*


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