Many people believe there’s nothing tastier and healthier juicing a glass of fresh fruit and vegetable juice. It’s a popular choice for health-conscious parents to give their kids as an alternative to soda, and dozens of diets recommend a glass at breakfast. Juice looks good, tastes great, and is natural. What could be wrong with it?
Not all juices are nutritious and healthy, however; certain juice drinks are no better than soda pop or candy. But there’s no need to throw out the juicer. Just make sure you understand which drinks are good for you and which aren’t.
Juicing: Vegetable Juice is Good for You
Vegetable juices are the best for your health.If you’re dieting, juicing your vegetables is a great way to get nutrients while cutting calories. Juiced, raw vegetables are high in fiber and water content, both of which make you feel full and so curb your appetite. You get all the nutrient value of the vegetables, too. Fruit juices are much higher in calories and lower in nutritional value. Tomato juice has lycopene, a chemical which reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Research suggests beet juice helps lower blood pressure.
Avoid So-Called “Juice Cocktails”
Products called “juice cocktail” or “juice drink” contain little real juice. They’re mostly water and sugar. They may be tasty, but they’re no better for you than other soft drinks. If you’re dieting, leave these on the shelf. You should avoid giving these to kids, too, as the sugar they have in them can damage teeth, artificially peak energy levels, and may also turn to fat.
What About 100% Pure Fruit Juice?
Pure fruit juice, from oranges and kiwis, for example, is an excellent source of vitamin C, and others such as banana are high in potassium. But all fruit juices are full of natural sugars and weigh in heavily on the calorie scale. When you juice fruit, it also loses much of its beneficial fiber and other nutrients in the pulp and skin. One glass of juice a day won’t do you any harm. But whole, raw fruit is a better choice.
Is Juicing Good for Kids?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children under 6 years old drink only 6 ounces of pure juice a day. The AAP advises no more than 12 ounces between that age and adulthood. Kids love the bright colors and taste, so if they want more than one cup at breakfast, you can make the juice go further by diluting it with equal parts of water.
What’s Better than Juice?
There’s no reason to stop drinking juice altogether, but it’s worth thinking about which ones you choose, in what quantities your drink them, and how often. Most dietitians agree that while juice can be good for you, eating whole fruits is a better alternative. A juicer that doesn’t peel the skin and separate out the pulp is a good option for juicing whole fruit and vegetable drinks at home.
Here’s a list of the 6 best fruit juices for your health:
- Pomegranate — Like all fruits, pomegranate is high in calories and sugar compared to other natural foods. But it’s also packed with dozens of nutrients and antioxidants. Add to that its delicious flavor, and you can understand why it was once considered the “food of the gods.”
- Cranberry — Besides its high vitamin C content, research suggests cranberry juice may also help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Some studies show its anti-bacterial qualities and can lower your chance of getting a urinary tract infection (UTI). The flavor is sharp and not to everyone’s taste; Unfortunately, sweetening it with sugar can counter many of the health benefits.
- Acai Berry — Acai berries are one of the so-called “superfoods.” But research has shown that cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries are just as good for you. They are all high in vitamins and antioxidants. If you have a juicer, try mixing them up for a range of tasty morning fruit drink options.
- Red Grape — In the same way an occasional glass of red wine can be good for you, red grape juice also can have beneficial effects on your health. Made from the whole fruit (unlike its extracted counterparts), it retains much of the fiber. In addition to its vitamin and nutrient content, it’s full of flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits.
- Prune — It may not be to everyone’s taste because of its strong and distinctive flavor, but prune juice has a lot going for it. It has a high fiber content and a substance called “sorbitol,” which helps support good digestive health. Not only is prune juice known for its laxative effects, but it also boasts all the usual vitamins and minerals and is high in iron and potassium.
- Orange — Orange juice is the nation’s favorite, an excellent source of vitamin C that’s low in fiber and antioxidants. It’s also one of the sweetest juices, making it much higher in calories than others such as grape and pomegranate.