Is there really as much nutrition in juice as we all think? It comes from fruits and vegetables, but how healthy is it really? Many of us prefer it to drinking water, but is it as good for you?
The Pros of Juice
Real fruit juices provide vitamins, minerals, and are typically high in antioxidants. Beware of the term "fruit cocktail," which has less nutrients and more sugars. Look for 100% fruit or vegetable labels.
Juice machines can help you create your own low-fat, high energy, nutrient-rich juice with both fruits and vegetables. A cup of carrots has just 52 calories, and it is high in beta carotene.
While fruit does have calories, 100% juice with no added sugar is not as high in calories as you may think. A cup of strawberries has only 49 calories, but lots of vitamin C.
The Cons of Juice
Many store bought juices contain extra sugars that make them high in calories. Become a label reader so you avoid these. Juices eliminate the critical fiber found in fruit that your body needs for healthy digestion. Don't replace all your fruit intake with juice.
Some juices contain less real fruit nutrients and more artificial flavors and colors to which consumers can be allergic. Consider a juicer to make your own fresh juice. Many store bought juices and sports drinks contain high levels of sodium, to promote taste, that are unhealthy for those with hypertension.
Juice and Protein
Sometimes it's important for athletes, or people with trouble gaining weight, to add calories to build muscle. Few juices contain much additional protein. Muscle 2544 is a high-calorie protein weight gainer designed to build muscle mass with a special slow-release energy that doesn't effect cholesterol levels. It may be a better alternative to high-calorie juice drinks that don't have additional protein benefits.
Moderation and no-added-sugar is the key with juices. Don't replace all water with juice (or all fruit in your diet with juice). Enjoy the nutrient-rich versions, with plenty of water and whole fruits each day for a healthy lifestyle!