Juicing is a popular form of increasing vitamin intake, as a cleanse or detox, and to help with weight loss and health. However, it is not always the best way to get fruit and vegetables into your day because if you are not careful, you could consume far too much natural sugar and lose that natural fiber in plants.
There are also some inherent risks of consuming too much of certain fruit juices, as they can alter blood sugar levels and increase caloric intake far greater than expected.
Another concern based on a study of citrus juice, specifically grapefruit and orange juice, showed a correlation between high consumption and malignant melanoma in women and men. Consuming citrus items ≥ 1.6 times daily increased melanoma risk by 36% compared to consuming it less than twice a week. Grapefruit juice had a significantly higher risk factor than orange juice due to the higher levels of furocoumarins and psoralens in grapefruits.
The risk also increased when combined with factors such as higher continuous sun exposure and in individuals with higher sunburn susceptibility. Because the study examined citrus in whole fruit and juice forms, consuming both in servings more than once daily could increase risk. More research is warranted as this was based on only one study.
Overall, fruit and fruit juices can benefit well-being as long as they are part of a well-balanced diet.
Types of Fruit Juices
With so many types of fruit juice available, knowing which ones will provide you with the most benefits may seem daunting. Part of that decision is based on whether you have specific health issues that you want help with. Taste, cost, and availability are other factors people consider when selecting fruit juices.
Another point to consider is that juice in any form is still a concentrated form of that fruit. Many types of fruit are high in pesticides and fertilizers when not in organic form. Those fruits are best purchased organic when looking for juice. You can search for each year’s “dirty dozen” fruit and vegetable lists online to help you select which produce options are best purchased organic and which ones are not necessary to buy organic.
Here are some of the leading types of fruit juice and their benefits:
Reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels, improve your memory and heart health, and fight other health issues thanks to the antioxidants and vitamin K in pomegranate juice that protect against damage from free radicals. Pomegranate juice also helps reduce inflammation, protect against certain cancers, improve digestion, especially for people with inflammatory bowel disease, improve sexual function and fertility, and reduce symptoms of arthritis.
With a much higher antioxidant concentration than blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries, acai juice can help protect the cells from oxidative damage, lower cholesterol, reduce swelling, improve immunity, and lower blood sugar levels.
Cranberry is well-known for helping prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) but is not a cure. The antioxidants in cranberry juice help improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, inflammation, glucose metabolism, and oxidative stress.
Your kidneys, blood cell production, and sleep will thank you for consuming cloudy apple juice (it has more polyphenols than clear apple juice). Thanks to vitamins A and C, apple juice may also help protect against heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Blueberries are a superfood – containing anthocyanins, antioxidants, and other compounds that protect against DNA damage, oxidative stress, and cancer cell growth. Healthy skin, eyes, and immunity are other benefits of blueberry juice, which can also help with digestion and weight management.
The resveratrol and flavonoids in red grape juice boost heart health and brain functions. Grape juice is also beneficial for liver health, immunity, and digestion.
High in B vitamins, potassium, antioxidants, and iron, prune juice can help with red blood cell production and maintain healthy eyes and skin. Prunes are also helpful for the nervous system and are a natural laxative.
Thanks to its hefty dose of vitamins A and C, tart cherry juice may help you sleep better at night. With plenty of antioxidants and nutrients, tart cherry juice can help reduce muscle pain, strengthen the immune system, improve brain functions, protect against cancer, and help with weight loss.
High in the antioxidant vitamin C, orange juice may help reduce risk factors for colds, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Oranges are also great for kidney health and fighting inflammation. The folate in orange juice can help support fetal development and growth.
Pineapple juice can help boost immunity, aid digestion, support eye health, improve skin appearance, and may fight some cancers thanks to abundant antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
Difference Between Fresh, Packaged, and From Concentrate Fruit Juices
Juicing fruit yourself at home is the freshest way to consume juice. You can also purchase it pasteurized or unpasteurized from grocers, roadside stands, farmer’s markets, and other locations and get it either from concentrate or “not from concentrate.”
With concentrated juice, a filtration process removes water from freshly juiced fruit, reducing transportation space. The concentrated juice may be sold in frozen form to manufacturers or consumers, as you might find in the grocery store’s freezer section. Manufacturers may receive the concentrate in liquid or frozen form. They add water back to the concentrate and then heat the juice to kill pathogens, bacteria, and microorganisms in a pasteurization process.
“Not from concentrate” juice may come pasteurized or unpasteurized. Fresh-squeezed unpasteurized juices have not been heated to remove possible toxins and can make people sick. Unpasteurized juices are a greater risk to the elderly, children, and those individuals with weakened immune systems.
Unpasteurized juices that are “not from concentrate” are often considered raw or fresh juice. You can also find some stores that offer machines to freshly squeeze oranges. These machines can cause problems if they are not adequately cleaned and sanitized, if the fruit is not cleaned before being placed into the machine, and if the fruit is not enclosed in a sealed container. If a basket or open bin holds the oranges, air can get to them, as can airborne particles and bacteria.
“Fresh-squeezed” is FDA-protected, and juices that state this must not be processed at all. That is not the same as juices labeled “pressed from oranges” or “squeezed fresh.” Do not be fooled by marketing gimmicks.
Juices in shelf-stable containers, such as juice boxes, pouches, cans, or bottles, and frozen concentrated juices, have been processed to remove harmful bacteria.
At-home juicing or going to juice bars can provide many health benefits. If you are juicing at home, you want a high-quality machine that extracts the fiber, pulp, and nutrients in the fruit and vegetables, not just the juice. They become more nutritious that way.
Some people supplement their regular diet with fresh juice, while others use juice to cleanse or detox the body to remove toxins. Research does not back up the effectiveness of juice cleanses, so if you are doing so, base it on preference and ensure you are still getting adequate nutrients during your detox.
The antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins in fruit provide many health benefits, including:
Lemons and grapes are high in magnesium, as are carrots, spinach, and lettuce – all good choices for headache help.
Juices can help lower oxidative stress markers and homocysteine levels to improve heart health. Pomegranate, blueberry, and acai juices are excellent for heart health and reducing oxidative stress.
People who produce a lot of acid can try juices from oranges, grapes, and limes. Vegetables such as spinach and carrots can also help.
Fruits and vegetables high in iron can help increase red blood cell production. Try apples, carrots, and beetroot.
Try lemon, ginger, parsley, and celery juices to help regulate insulin release and keep blood sugar levels in control.
- Liver health
A healthy liver keeps the body functioning in many ways. Grapes, papaya, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and beet provide carotenoids such as lycopene and carotene that can help.
Keeping the kidneys healthy is crucial. Turn to oranges, apples, lemons, beetroot, cucumber, parsley, and celery for help.
High blood pressure
Produce that is high in nitrates can help increase nitric oxide to reduce blood pressure. Pomegranate, lemon, and beetroot are good options.
The polyphenols in juice may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as they protect brain cells. Apple, red grapes, and tart cherry juices can help with cognitive functions.
Insomnia and other sleep disturbances can keep you from getting adequate rest. Apples, lemons, grapes, celery, and carrots help hydrate the body and assist with relaxation.
Cold and flu
Vitamin C is a frequently mentioned way to help strengthen immunity and combat cold and flu symptoms. Oranges, pineapple, garlic, and ginger are excellent options.
Reducing the pain of menstrual cramps can receive help from prunes, cherries, grapes, spinach, beetroot, and turnips.
Fatigue and low energy levels
Many factors contribute to a lack of energy, and ensuring your diet provides adequate vitamin C, iron, and folate is crucial. Try oranges, lemons, spinach, and carrots in your juice.
These symptoms also can point to hormonal imbalance, such as HGH deficiency. Low growth hormone levels can lead to decreased energy, weight gain, and even mental disorders. To know more, look at HGH before and after results.
Eye health benefits from lutein, beta-carotene, and lycopene. Find these nutrients in apricots, carrots, parsley, tomatoes, celery, and spinach.
Asthma and respiratory issues
Preventing free radical damage to respiratory cells can help reduce respiratory issues. Apricots, peaches, lemons, carrots, celery, and radishes can help.
Indigestion and digestive health
Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, including beetroot, cabbage, and carrots, are excellent options for digestive health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adult men consume a minimum of 2 cups of fruit per day and adult women at least 1 and one-half cups daily. At least half of those recommended amounts should be in whole fruit form – not juice – to maximize nutrients and fiber lost in the juicing process. Limit fruit juice to a maximum of 8 ounces per day.
Consuming whole fruit provides soluble fiber that can help improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Too much fruit juice can have the opposite effect, increasing type 2 diabetes risk. A study that compared apple juice to whole apples found that clear apple juice consumption increased LDL cholesterol over whole apple consumption. Juicers that keep the fiber in the juice are beneficial but still not as good as eating the whole fruit.
Juicing is also not recommended for weight loss, as it can slow metabolism on a low-calorie diet. It can cause nutrient deficiencies if you try a juice-only diet long-term. Since fruit is high in natural sugar, juicing can significantly increase sugar consumption without having fiber to offset it. Using juice as a detoxification is unnecessary as the kidneys and liver do that job naturally.
The best option for consuming fruit juice is to have it be a part of a well-rounded diet and not as a regular meal replacement. Remember that it is better to use organic fruit and vegetables to avoid pesticides and other toxins.
Ensure your juice is 100% fruit with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners.