What to drink during the lockdown? Orange juice is good for your microbiota!
Caring for your gut microbiota (or gut flora) starts at breakfast. Daily consumption of orange juice could improve the composition and functioning of the gut microbiota. More generally, it could have positive effects on health, according to a Brazilian study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
A look at oranges under a magnifying glass
Oranges and citruses are not only known for their high content of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and carotenoids, but they also are a major source of flavonoids–which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumoral and lipid-lowering properties. These fruits are believed to preserve our health and protect us from chronic diseases.
30 cl of orange juice per day
In a small clinical trial, researchers from São Paulo measured the effects of the daily consumption of pasteurized orange juice on the composition of the gut microbiota and the metabolism of 10 healthy young women. During the first month, participants were instructed to drink and eat according to their dietary habits, but avoiding sources of flavonoids, prebiotics and probiotics, as well as alcoholic beverages. The objective was to start the experimental period with low contents of tested substances in order to measure the effect of citruses. During the next two months, they had to drink 30cl of industrial orange juice every day; and the last month they resumed their dietary habits but excluding orange juice. Blood and stool samples were taken, and several biological parameters were measured at the end of each period.
Microbiota enriched with “good” bacteria
Daily consumption of orange juice led to a significant drop in glucose, insulin, triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) levels, as well as in insulin resistance. Gut microbiota had a higher abundance of some microorganisms, especially species able to grow in the absence of oxygen (“anaerobic” microorganisms), as well as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria which have health benefits. While ammonium production, rather harmful to the intestines, temporarily dropped, the production of molecules that are indicative of a healthy microbiota increased. The authors concluded that orange juice could thus act as a prebiotic, by promoting the growth or activity of gut bacteria that are beneficial to our health, and they urge us to drink it daily.
Sivieri K et al. Effect of Daily Consumption of Orange Juice on the Levels of Blood Glucose, Lipids, and Gut Microbiota Metabolites: Controlled Clinical Trials. J Med Food 00 (0) 2019, 1–9