If fruits and vegetables are as good for you as most experts say, it stands to reason that fruit and vegetable juices would be just as good for you. A quick glance at juice bottles in stores will have you seeing all sorts of vitamins and minerals advertised on the packages, letting you know just how good for you they are.
But amid all the flashy logos, bold type and bright colors, the one element you should really look for is whether the product contains 100 percent fruit juice, which you might not see unless you take a peek at the label on the back of the bottle.
Blount Memorial registered dietitian Heather Pierce says juices, when incorporated into your diet in moderation, can help you meet nutrient needs for certain vitamins and minerals.
“Research has found that those who included a moderate amount of 100 percent fruit juice in their diets, particularly 100% orange juice, actually have a better overall diet, tend to have lower bad cholesterol and a have a lower risk of obesity,” Pierce said. “This can be good news for those who are very resistant to eating fruits and vegetables or for those who find it very difficult to meet the recommended five-to-nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day. In particular, those who include some moderate juice consumption into their diets increase their intake of vitamin A, B6, Vitamin C, folate, potassium and magnesium.”
Pierce says there are some tips to keep in mind before guzzling juice, though.
“The key is to always make sure you’re drinking 100 percent fruit juice,” she said. “Serving size also should be considered, especially for those interested in weight loss. Each ounce of juice contains about 15 calories. A large orange juice could contain more than 300 calories, so stick to a smaller size — below 12 ounces per day — to ensure you get the nutrients you want without the excess calories.”
If you grow tired of fruit juices, Pierce says vegetable juice can be a great alternative.
“Vegetable juice can be very nutritious without the excess calories. Some of the fruit and vegetable juice blends may make the taste more palatable for some,” she said.
Some proponents of juicing believe it is better than eating fruits and vegetables because the body can better absorb the nutrients and it gives your digestive system time to rest. “There’s really no scientific evidence that juices are healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables, however, for those who dislike fruits and vegetables, juicing can be a good alternative,” Pierce said. “This way, you can get a concentrated amount in one drink.”
If buying juices in the grocery store isn’t for you, Pierce says juicing machines are quite popular, though she notes that some actually can remove the fiber from the fruits.
“A high-powered blender can do just as well as a lot of juicing machines,” she said. “Try including the actual fruit or vegetable inside your blender to get the maximum fiber and benefits.”