Brimming with nutrients and antioxidants, 100 percent fruit juices make valuable additions to any diet. Start juicing with these recipes and reap its benefits.
Brimming with health-promoting nutrients and disease-fighting antioxidants, 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices make valuable additions to any well-balanced diet when consumed in moderation.
Diets rich in a diverse range of fruits and vegetables have been linked to decreased risk of chronic diseases, including cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes. Additionally, children who do not consume enough fruits and vegetables may be at higher risk of becoming overweight or obese.
As a 1/2 cup (125 mL) serving of juice is equal to one full serving of fruits or vegetables, 100 percent juice is a convenient way to get more fruits and vegetables into a child’s diet.
Promotes healthy eating habits
Researchers have found that children who regularly drink fruit juice not only consume more nutrients than non-juice drinkers, but also may actually eat better.
In a review of government data, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine found that children between the ages of two and 11 who consumed an average of 4.1 fl oz (120 mL) of 100 percent fruit juice daily had significantly higher intake levels of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, riboflavin, magnesium, iron, and folate than non-juice drinkers, who, on average, did not meet the recommended intake levels for many of these essential nutrients.
In addition, the fruit-juice-drinking group also consumed significantly more whole fruits and fewer added sugars and fats. Researchers from Louisiana State University found similar findings in children between the ages of 12 and 18.
Good versus bad
When choosing juice for your family, remember not all juices are created nutritionally equal. Keep the following suggestions in mind the next time you stroll down the juice aisle.
- Look for juices labelled “100 percent juice.” Juices labelled “beverage,” “drink,” or “cocktail” often contain added sugars (such as high-fructose corn syrup), sodium, and artificial colours.
- Opt for cloudy juices with visible sediment at the bottom of the bottle. The cloudier the juice, the more skin, pulp, and seeds it contains. For example, a glass of pulpy orange juice packs a stronger nutritional punch than a glass of clear apple juice.
- When possible, choose organic juices to avoid pesticide and chemical contamination.
- Look for juices that are pasteurized, as unpasteurized juices may contain pathogens that may cause illness.
Best of the bunch
When in doubt, try one of the following nutritious and antioxidant-rich juices.
When it comes to vitamin C content, orange juice is one of the best. Just 1 cup (250 mL) provides 207 percent of the daily recommended value of this immune-boosting vitamin. Vitamin C protects the body from damaging free radicals, promotes healthy growth and repair of tissues, is essential in wound healing, and, when eaten with a meal, even aids in iron absorption.
Commercially available orange juice is also commonly fortified with bone-building calcium and vitamin D.
Powerful purple juices
Grape, cranberry, and pomegranate juices get their deep red and purple hues from a flavonoid pigment called anthocyanin and contain disease-fighting flavonoids called proanthocyanidins. One study found proanthocyanidins to possess 50 times the antioxidant activity of vitamin C and 20 times the antioxidant activity of vitamin E. The proanthocyanidins in cranberry juice, in particular, are thought to ward off bacterial and viral infections.
Another purple superstar, prune juice, is proving to be more than just a digestive aid. Prune juice is high in iron, zinc, and dietary fibre. It also contains neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, two unique plant phenols that may protect the fat in cell membranes from oxidative damage.
Tomato juice is packed full of heart-healthy lycopene, while kid-friendly carrot juice is high in the antioxidant beta carotene. When needed, our bodies convert beta carotene into vitamin A, which is essential for maintaining a strong immune system, healthy skin, and good vision. One cup (250 mL) of carrot juice provides a whopping 903 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin A.
Vegetable juices also often contain more dietary fibre than fruit juices.
Moderation is key
Although there are many positive health benefits associated with drinking 100 percent juice, because of its tendency to be high in calories and natural sugars, drinking too much of it can lead to weight gain, tooth decay, and even malnutrition.
Make your own
Kids may find that juice tastes even better when they prepare it themselves. Try the following easy recipes for a fun family activity.
- Apple Lemonade
- Blue Banana Smoothie / Carrot Mango Delight
- Wonderful Watermelon Juice