We all know that fruits and vegetables are key ingredients of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, few people act on that knowledge. Recent studies have shown that nearly 70% of people don’t eat more than two servings of fruit a day. There are many reasons for this – laziness, expense, bad habits, motivation, etc. – but with the abundant supply of fruits available, there really is no true excuse.
One great way to add fruits to a diet is to drink fruit juice. Of course, eating a raw, whole fruit is the best choice, but for those who’d like to build fruit into their diet more consistently, fruit juice will be a great help. You need about two to four fruit servings a day, and a 4 ounce glass of 100% juice counts as one serving. Thus, adding an 8 oz. glass of juice to your morning routine is an easy way to meet the minimum requirements, though of course going beyond those requirements will improve your health further.
Benefits of Fruit Juice
The main benefit of drinking fruit juice is in the vitamins and minerals it naturally contains. Many juices are even fortified with more nutrients, like vitamin C, vitamin D, and calcium. Juice is the most ‘nutrient dense’ beverage you can drink, as it also contains phytonutrients and other compounds that help fight disease. Juices also contain natural sugars, providing you energy for your day. Plus, juice is mostly water, so drinking it can help you stay hydrated. Don’t forget that juice is quite tasty, too!
Best Fruit Juices to Drink
While drinking any juice is a good thing, some juices are better than others. There are two general categories to look for. First, find the standard juices that you like that have been fortified with more nutrients. For example, the only standby, orange juice, is a good one, especially when it’s fortified with calcium or other nutrients. “Cloudy” apple juice contains more solid apple matter, giving you more phytochemicals and nutrients per serving. The second general category of juice is the ‘unusual’ juices, particularly those made from berries.
Berries are among the best fruits, and their juices are among the healthiest. Cranberry juice, for example, can give you profound cardiovascular benefits. Wild blueberry juice and concord grape juice pack a ton of antioxidants and other healthy chemicals into every serving.
Fruit Juice to Avoid
Remember that fruit juices contain calories from sugar, so if you are losing weight you might want to look for the lowest calorie options available. In addition, completely avoid fruit juices with added sugars. This includes both ‘standard’ fruit juices with sugar added and kids’ faux “juices” that just so happen to have a little fruit juice included in the mix.
Drinking these is like drinking soda or other sugared beverages. These sugared fruit juices do give you some nutrition, but it’s largely outweighed by the damage they can do. The worst part is that these juices ‘seem’ healthy, when in fact they are not. So always check labels before you purchase and consume a fruit juice product.