Walk in the juice aisle of your local Large Y, there are countless flavors and varieties of fruit and vegetable juices, sometimes by mixing the two. Head over to the Products and Dairy departments and you’ll have even more options to choose from. But do you take juice and put it in your basket? Otherwise, I’m here to explain why you should do it.
The juice has gained a not-so-good reputation in recent years, largely due to its perceived high sugar content, and consumption rates have plummeted. But contrary to these beliefs, 100% juice contains only Natural sugars that are not counted in added daily sugar limits and offers many health benefits. Plus, because it’s considered a comfort food – evoking memories of childhood – juice is generally a nutritious drink that most people enjoy drinking.
Whether your favorite is orange juice with pulp, tropical mango or refreshing grapes, here are some great reasons to start enjoying 100% juice again.
- 100% juice helps you achieve My plate goals. According to research by Producing for Better Health Foundation, 9 in 10 Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables every day. This statistic is alarming because of the vast health benefits of fruits and vegetables. How much should we aim for? For an average 2,000 calorie meal plan, it is recommended that you consume 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables each day. Fortunately, drinking 100% juice counts toward these recommendations, making it easier for all of us to reach our daily goals. Just keep the servings at no more than 8 ounces per day for adults and 4 to 6 ounces for children.
- 100% juice is an important source of vitamins and minerals. Some of the most commonly found nutrients in juice include vitamins C and A, thiamine, potassium, and folate. Additionally, some juices are fortified with other vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and vitamin D. This is important because potassium, vitamin D, and calcium are all nutrients of concern that Americans tend not to. consume enough. Another fun fact? Information from the Association of juice products shows that 100% juice drinkers have healthier eating habits than non-juice drinkers. Juice drinkers have more whole fruit, vitamin C, magnesium, and fiber in their meal plans, and less saturated fat, total fat, added sugar, and sodium.
- 100% juice offers a source of protective plant compounds. When you look at a glass of juice, you will notice its vibrant color – the orange of orange juice, the purple of grape juice, or the red of tomato juice. This color comes from the unique compounds with antioxidant action of the pressed fruit or vegetable. Interestingly, since many juices are made from whole fruits or vegetables, higher levels of these compounds can be found in their juice form. For example, commercially produced orange juice contains considerably higher levels of hesperidin, a compound with antioxidant action, because high pressure releases it from the peels of the orange.
Author’s Note: Andrea Luttrell is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist with Big Y’s Eat Well Eat Well program. She was recently named a BusinessWest 40 Under Forty recipient. A nutritional question? Email him at [email protected] or write Living Well at 2145 Roosevelt Ave, Springfield, MA 01102.