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Want to increase your nutrient intake? Pour a glass of OJ

Published On: Jan 03 2013 09:45:40 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 14 2013 03:42:41 PM CST
Orange Juice

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(NewsUSA) - To many people, orange juice is like that best friend from childhood you eventually lost touch with over the years. Chances are, you lost more than a friend -- and it's time to get reacquainted.

Dietary Guidelines from 2010 pointed out an overweight, nutrient-challenged population whose downfall is somewhat anticlimactic: a lack of fruits and vegetables. But, the reality is alarming.

The National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance reports that 88 percent of children do not eat the suggested amount of fruit. Only 8 percent of individuals even eat enough fruit to achieve daily goals.

One easy way to get more fruit in your diet -- and the nutrients that go with it -- is to carve out a 15-minute window for a quick breakfast. Even something as small as a piece of fruit, oatmeal and a glass of orange juice will improve your vitamin and nutrient intake.

According to an article in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, kids and adults who eat breakfast tend to get more key vitamins than people who skip it. In addition to eating fruit, drinking 100-percent fruit juice can help Americans reach daily fruit and nutrient recommendations.

Since OJ is one of the most nutrient-dense juices, it's a great source for nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. Although orange juice has a day's supply of vitamin C and two servings of fruit, it doesn't only support a healthy immune system. Potassium plays an active role in heart health, and the B vitamin folate helps with cell development -- which is especially important for pregnant women.

Drinking OJ with breakfast can help maintain nerve and muscle function as a result of high thiamin levels. Now, doesn't that sound like a friend you need in your life?

In case you're hesitant due to old myths about your former BFF, here are some important facts:

Myth: 100-percent juice has added sugar.

Fact: FDA-certified 100-percent fruit juice has no added sugars or artificial sweeteners.

Myth: 100-percent juice does not count as a fruit serving.

Fact: One eight-ounce glass of orange juice provides two fruit servings.

Myth: Children who drink juice are less healthy than those who don't.

Fact: NHANES data say those who drink fruit juice tend to have more nutritious diets than those who don't, plus drinking juice daily is linked to consuming more servings of total whole fruit.