Fruit juice often gets a bad rap, but it really is good for you if you choose healthy juices and consume them in moderation. Drinking 100 percent fruit juice counts as a serving of fruit, according to the USDA. So drink up, but make sure you are choosing your fruit juice wisely.
Why is fruit juice good for you?
Yes, fruit juice contains sugar. Some think this automatically means fruit juice is not good for you. However, along with the naturally occurring sugar found in 100 percent fruit juice, you also get a nutrient dense, disease fighting treat that is naturally low in fat and sodium.
Antioxidants are another reason pure fruit juice is good for you. Antioxidants do just what they sound like they should do – help rid your body of oxidants. Oxidants are natural products of oxygen that can latch on to substances in the body, potentially causing disease. The antioxidants found in fruit juice protect your body from this kind of damage.
Why might fruit juice not be good for you?
Because of the aforementioned sugar situation, of course. Sugar, even if it’s naturally occurring sugar, still means calories. If you go overboard with juice, you may be consuming too many calories.
How to pick juice that’s good for you:
1. Avoid fruit drinks. If the product you are about to put in your shopping cart says something like “juice cocktail”, “juice drink”, or ends in “ade”, keep shopping. You might as well save your money and drink a tall glass of sugar water, because that’s what you’ll be getting with these drinks. These juice beverages typically contain less than ten percent fruit juice. Fruit juice is good for you, fruit drinks are not.
2. Make sure fruit juice is pasteurized if you are buying it for a child, elderly person, or someone with a weakened immune system. According to the CDC, 98 percent of juice in the United States is pasteurized. Raw fruit juice is available though, and it could contain harmful bacteria. The CDC recommends that high risk groups and anyone else wanting to minimize risk only consume pasteurized juice. You will know if a juice is pasteurized – it has to be printed on the packaging.
3. Pick the healthiest juices.
– When it comes to fruit juice that is delicious and good for you, orange juice is one of the best. It is higher in vitamin C than other juices, very high in potassium, a good source of folate, and it contains antioxidants.
– UCLA recently named pomegranate juice the top choice when it comes to antioxidants. It may not be as common as other juices, but this is one fruit juice that is really good for you.
– Other good fruit juice choices include: grapefruit; apricot; prune; grape; blueberry; black cherry; cranberry; and apple.
Fruit juice really is good for you, you just have to make the right selections. Adding 100 percent pure fruit juice to your diet is a great way to meet the recommended daily 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables, as long as you enjoy it in moderation.
Fruit Juice Facts.
The truth about pure fruit juices vs. fruit beverages. Dr. Sears.
Pomegranate Juice Is Packed With Antioxidants. Health.com.
Preventing Health Risks Associated with Drinking Unpasteurized or Untreated Juice. CDC.
Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention. National Cancer Institute.