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Why is orange juice good in smoothies?

Orange juice is a popular ingredient in smoothies for several reasons. The sweet, citrusy flavor provides a refreshing taste that combines well with other fruits and vegetables. Orange juice also packs a nutritional punch, providing key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that make it a healthy addition to smoothies. Let’s explore some of the top benefits of adding orange juice to your next smoothie.

Nutritional Profile

One of the main reasons orange juice shines in smoothies is its stellar nutritional profile. A 6 ounce glass provides (1):

  • 112% DV vitamin C – This potent antioxidant is essential for immune function and collagen production.
  • 11% DV folate – Important for red blood cell production and heart health.
  • 11% DV potassium – Helps control blood pressure and counteracts sodium.
  • 10% DV thiamin – Supports metabolism and converts food into energy.
  • 8% DV magnesium – Aids muscle and nerve function, blood sugar control.
  • 2% DV calcium – Key for bone health, muscle contraction, nerve signaling.
  • 2% DV vitamin A – Supports immune function and eye health.

This nutrient profile makes orange juice an ideal smoothie ingredient to help meet your daily micronutrient needs.

Antioxidant Powerhouse

In addition to vitamins and minerals, orange juice contains beneficial plant compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids. These function as antioxidants in the body, protecting cells from unstable molecules called free radicals that can damage DNA and other cell components (2).

The primary antioxidants in orange juice include (3):

  • Hesperidin – This flavanone gives oranges their bitter taste and has anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.
  • Naringin – Also a flavanone with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Vitamin C – A potent water-soluble antioxidant that regenerates other antioxidants.
  • Beta-cryptoxanthin – A carotenoid antioxidant that may lower lung cancer risk.

Enjoying orange juice in a smoothie is an easy way to load up on antioxidants first thing in the morning.

Fiber Content

While oranges themselves are a good source of fiber, you lose most of the fiber when making orange juice. However, it still contains a small amount – 0.5 grams per 6 ounce serving.

This is beneficial when adding orange juice to smoothies made with low fiber ingredients like milk, yogurt, bananas and soft fruits like peaches. The bit of fiber from the orange juice helps balance out the lack of fiber and provides some gut-healthy benefits.

Blood Sugar Control

The fiber content may also help stabilize blood sugar levels when drinking smoothies. Though fruit-based smoothies are typically high in natural sugar, the fiber can slow digestion, leading to a more gradual rise in blood sugar (4).

Additionally, hesperidin and naringin – antioxidants found in orange juice – have been shown to help improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation in animal and test tube studies (5).


Smoothies are a handy way to increase your fluid intake, especially if you don’t always drink enough plain water. Since orange juice is over 85% water, it can help hydrate the body.

However, note that the hydrating properties of orange juice are less than plain water due to its sugar and carb content. It’s best to limit orange juice to a modest part of your smoothie and fill the rest with water or coconut water if you need a hydration boost (6).

Boosts Absorption of Plant Compounds

Interestingly, pairing orange juice with green leafy vegetables like spinach may increase the absorption of protective plant compounds like lutein and beta-carotene.

These compounds are fat soluble, meaning they need a fat source to be fully absorbed. The natural oils in orange juice may help facilitate this process (7).

So adding orange juice to your spinach or kale smoothie may help you get even more nutritional benefits from these antioxidant-rich greens.

Taste and Texture

Of course, one of the main reasons people add orange juice to smoothies is that it simply tastes good! The sweet, bright flavor balances out bitter greens, earthy spices and tart fruits that are often used in smoothies.

It also gives smoothies a thicker, creamier texture when blended with ice compared to water or coconut water. This can make smoothies richer and more satisfying.

Acidic Properties

Citrus juice like orange juice has acidic properties, with a pH around 3-4 (8). Adding it to smoothies promotes color and flavor retention by preventing oxidation of sensitive nutrients like vitamin C and anthocyanins in berries.

The acidic quality also activates plant enzymes like myrosinase in cruciferous vegetables, which enhances the release of protective compounds in greens like kale and broccoli (9).

Ingredient Synergies

Blending orange juice with certain smoothie superfoods may provide additional health perks. Here are some of the best ingredients to mix with orange juice:

  • Berries – Combining with raspberries, blueberries and strawberries provides an antioxidant and vitamin C boost.
  • Greens – Spinach, kale and greens pair perfectly with orange juice’s acidity.
  • Turmeric – The oils may increase curcumin absorption for anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Chia seeds – Provide extra fiber and fat for blood sugar control.
  • Ginger – Adds anti-nausea effects and balances the sweetness.
  • Yogurt – Provides protein to help stabilize blood sugar.

Potential Downsides

While orange juice can be a nutritious smoothie addition, there are a few potential downsides to keep in mind:

  • High in sugar – A 6 oz serving has 21 grams of sugar, mainly from natural fructose.
  • May irritate reflux – The high acidity may aggravate heartburn or GERD.
  • store-bought varieties may contain additives – Check labels and opt for not-from-concentrate when possible.

To prevent adverse effects, limit orange juice to about 1/4 to 1/2 cup (4-8 oz) per smoothie and balance out the sugar with protein, fat and fiber. Make sure to brush teeth after drinking acidic smoothies to protect tooth enamel.

The Best Orange Smoothie Recipes

Here are some delicious and nutritious orange juice smoothie ideas to try:

Green Orange Julius

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Ice cubes

Carrot Orange Smoothie

  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 ice cubes

Orange Blueberry Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • Ice cubes

Orange Ginger Smoothie

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup mango chunks
  • 1/2″ knob ginger, peeled
  • 1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Ice cubes

Orange Kale Smoothie

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut flakes
  • Ice cubes


Orange juice is far more than just a vitamin C source. It brings an array of nutrients, antioxidants and health benefits that make it right at home in smoothies. By complementing ingredients like greens, berries and spices, orange juice adds nutrition, hydration and creamy texture.

Aim for about 1/2 cup per smoothie. Be sure to keep portions in check and fill the rest of your smoothie with whole foods sources like fruits, veggies, nut butters and yogurt to mitigate potential downsides. This allows you to enjoy the perks of orange juice as part of a healthy, balanced smoothie.