Orange juice is healthier for you if it has been frozen and defrosted, according to research.
Scientists have discovered the body may absorb more of the orange's antioxidants from defrosted juice than it does from fresh or pasteurised juice.
When orange juice is frozen and thawed1 out, health-giving elements of the juice are broken down into smaller particles which are easier for the intestines2 to soak up.
These particles, called carotenoids, are thought to have cancer-fighting properties, can be converted to vitamin A, and have anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits which may help to prevent heart disease.
The research by the University of Seville studied how freezing or pasteurising orange juice affected3 the antioxidants.
They believe freezing, which is done in the food industry to preserve juice, improves the healthiness of the juice and now hope to test their theory outside of the lab.
The study focused on what the scientists call the bioaccessibility of the antioxidants; that is, how available they are to be absorbed from the food into the blood by the intestines.
Absorption into the blood and building up in organs and tissues is how the antioxidants deliver their health-giving properties to the body.
Scientists discovered that during freezing the antioxidants – the carotenoids – become more accessible but they also deteriorate4.
Although there are fewer carotenoids in the juice after it has been defrosted, what is left could be easier for the body to absorb, meaning the overall effect is positive.
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