The Good That Orange Juice Does

Ernie NeffOrange Juice

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Rosa Walsh

The health benefits of orange juice, and how the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) promotes them to consumers, were discussed by FDOC Scientific Research Director Rosa Walsh at Citrus Expo. Walsh summarizes key parts of her presentation in an interview with Tacy Callies, Citrus Industry magazine editor.

Walsh says orange juice contains hesperidin, which “has antioxidant-like properties.” She says hesperidin has links to heart, vascular and brain health, among other attributes.

“Orange juice drinkers, both adults and children, tend to have higher diet quality” than the general population, Walsh says. “Which means that they’re actually meeting their recommendations for fruits and vegetables … So overall, they’re (OJ drinkers) healthier.”

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Walsh says that drinking orange juice is not related to being overweight. The FDOC has been countering media claims in recent years that the sugar in orange juice can contribute to many Americans being overweight.

“One of the things that orange juice can do is be a healthy option in the hydration and rehydration after exercise,” Walsh says. She says OJ can replace electrolytes in the form of potassium. “It’s a healthy alternative to drinking sports drinks,” she adds.

According to Walsh, the FDOC is spreading the word about the health benefits of OJ to registered dietitians, nurse practitioners, physicians “and really just anybody that might be influencing” consumers. Key ways the FDOC reaches those influencers is through the FDOC website and social media. “Overall, my job is easy,” Walsh declares. “It’s easy to find good attributes for OJ.”

The FDOC, a state agency funded primarily with a tax on citrus grown in Florida, promotes the consumption of Florida citrus products worldwide. For decades it relied heavily on television and print advertising. But in recent years, since HLB has curtailed the Florida citrus crop and therefore the FDOC budget, the agency has used social media heavily to spread its message.

Hear more from Walsh:

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About the Author
Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large