A study by researchers based in University of Reading in the UK has found that drinking orange juice is associated with improved cognitive functions. The researchers looked at healthy middle-aged males to see what would happen to their ability to perform standard cognitive tests after drinking orange juice.
It’s the Flavonoids
The study chose orange juice in particular because the researchers wanted to gauge the effects of a flavonoid rich drink. Flavonoids are biological compounds in fruits and many other plants. They are, as the scientific name suggests, responsible for the flavors and tastes where they are found. In oranges, they impart its unique blend of tart sweetness.
They looked in particular at the effects during the so-called postprandial period, which is the period directly after eating or ingesting the orange juice. They looked for benefits to cognitive functions that lasted more than 6 hours.
What are Cognitive Functions?
Cognitive functions are the intellectual activities of your brain. That includes things like memory, attention span, processing speed, learning, and verbal fluency.
The study used a double-blind method, where half the group received a placebo, and others drank 240ml of flavonoid rich orange juice one day, then again two weeks later. The test subjects were fed a standardized breakfast before and lunch after they drank the orange juice. A series of eight cognitive tests were performed.
The results showed significant improvements on executive function, which essentially means self control and the ability to act rationally, and psychomoter speed, essentially, reaction time. Those improvements lasted over 6 hours after the orange juice was ingested. In addition, there were improvements in subjective elements such as alertness.
Lemons, grapefruits, and oranges are all rich in flavonoids. This adds to the long list of health benefits in all citrus fruits.