While fruit is a critical part of a nutritious daily diet, the fact is that most Americans do not consume the recommended amount each day. Thus, they do not get their fill of the essential nutrients that power the body’s many processes and protect it from disease.
Thus, finding quick and simple ways to add additional fruit servings — and the wide scope of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients they contain — is more critical than ever. Though the USDA recognizes that a four-ounce serving of 100% juice supplies one serving (1/2 cup) of fruit, confusion still runs through the consumer marketplace. How healthy is juice?
New research presented last week at the American Dietetic Association’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo highlighted the benefits of 100% juice. It revealed that fruit juice drinkers were more likely than non-juice drinkers to have strong levels of key nutrients.
The new study examined a nationally representative sample of adults and found that drinking 100% fruit juice was closely linked to improved nutrient intake. More specifically, the researchers used data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to compare intake of nutrients most frequently under-consumed by Americans among those who drank juice and those who didn’t.
According to researchers, adults who did not drink fruit juice were more likely to fall below recommended levels for several vital nutrients. These included vitamins A and C, and the mineral magnesium. As well, a greater percentage of those consuming fruit juice exceeded recommended levels for calcium and potassium — two important minerals for promoting bone health and regulating blood pressure.
The study supports the role of fruit juice as a nutrient-dense beverage filled with valuable vitamins and minerals. The researchers believe that drinking 100% fruit juice is an excellent way to ensure your nutrient levels are high, and believe juice should be encouraged as part of an overall balanced diet.
Juice is an excellent way to digest nutrients, as your body doesn’t have to deal with the fibrous nature of the actual fruit. The best juice is self-made at home using a juicer; though, since this can be laborious, many people opt for juice from the grocery store. Look for options that are not from concentrate and do not have any added sugar.