Does Orange Juice Aid in Cancer Prevention?

Orange juice has forever been a staple at breakfast. There’s no beverage more synonymous with the American morning routine. But orange juice is also highly caloric and in a nation with a growing childhood obesity epidemic, this is problematic. But new research shows that we should hold off in removing this item from our diet because orange juice may aid in cancer prevention.

The study, published in Nutrition and Cancer, An International Journal, reviews evidence that links orange juice to cancer prevention. A closer look points to the positive effects of the orange juice antioxidants from flavonoids like hesperin and naringinin.

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According to the study, “Orange juice (OJ) is among the most consumed fruit juices worldwide, and its chemopreventive action is fairly addressed in the literature...The chemopreventive action of OJ is related to its effect on metabolic enzymes and its antiinflammatory, cytoprotective/apoptotic, hormonal, cell signaling-modulating, antioxidant, and antigenotoxic effects.”

Evidence from previous studies shows that orange juice can reduce the risk of leukemia in children as well as aiding in chemoprevention against mammary, hepatic, and colon cancers. Chemoprevention is a way to prevent or delay the development of cancer by taking medicines or vitamins.

The composition of the orange juice has a large impact on how effective it is at cancer prevention, including biological effects like climate, soil, fruit maturation, and storage methods post harvest.


It can also be potentially toxic if it’s consumed in too large amounts. According to Science Daily, “[t]he researchers acknowledge potential toxicity from orange juice if consumed in excess amounts -- especially for children, hypertensive, kidney-compromised, and diabetics. Excessive drinking of orange juice for individuals from these groups has the potential to create noxious effects, hyperkalemia, and has been associated with both food allergies and bacterial outbreaks in cases where the juice was unpasteurized.”

Highly processed juices with added sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup should be avoided because of their impact on childhood obesity. Approximately 17 percent (or 12.5 million) of kids ages 2 to 19 years old are obese. Instead, choose fresh, organic juices made with 100 percent fruit juice. To decrease the sweetness, water the juice down so that a little goes a long way. Take it a step further by making your own juices at home for the most antioxidant, cancer-fighting goodness.

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Photo Credit: Geoff Peters

By Sara Novak| September 30, 2013
Categories:  Eat

About the Author

Sara Novak

Sara Novak

Sara Novak specializes in health and food policy writing for Discovery Health. Her work has also been featured on TreeHugger,, TLC Cooking, and Animal Planet. After graduating from the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, Sara headed up the communication efforts for a national scholarship program in Washington, D.C. Sara has also handled copy writing and public relations for a global environmental consulting firm. She loves fiddling with healthful recipes, traveling, and exploring life atop her yoga mat. Today, Sara lives in Charleston with her husband and two lovable cocker spaniels, Madison and Bella.

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