Fruit Juice: The Pros and Cons

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38676594 - fruit juiceJuice is good for you, right? That depends. Juice can be a great way to boost your intake of potassium, vitamin C, health-enhancing phytonutrients. And, 6 ounces is a serving of fruit, which helps you meet your daily quota of fruits and vegetables. That is if it is high-quality juice. There is more junk than juice at the market these days.
Anytime juice contains the words “beverage,” “ade,” “cocktail,” “drink,” or “blend” in the title, you’re likely to be gulping down more sugar than nutrients. It doesn’t matter if it’s natural, real, or fortified with vitamins. Also, by-pass any juice made from concentrated apple, pear, and/or white grape juice. These are just highly-refined sugar water, not much better than soda pop, even though the manufacturers can tout the beverage as 100% juice.
Keep in mind all juice has more calories and none of the fiber of whole fruit. It is best to put a limit on intake to 6 ounces a day. Here are your best bets, in order.
#1. Orange Juice: Loaded with vitamin C (97 milligrams, which is 162% of your daily need in a 1 cup serving), it’s also a great source of folate, a B vitamin that lowers your risk for heart disease, birth defects, depression, and possibly cancer. And, people who drink OJ have lower LDL-cholesterol, (the “bad” cholesterol) and higher HDL-cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol), thus lowering heart-disease risk. It doesn’t matter whether you choose fresh squeezed, canned, bottled, or “from concentrate. Note: Don’t be fooled by orange juice with pulp; it has little or no fiber.
#2. Grapefruit Juice: Grapefruit juice is a great source of potassium, vitamin C, and the antioxidant limonene. Only downside is for people on certain medications, such as antihistamines, sedatives, hypertensive medications, estrogens, and HIV drugs, and possibly the antibiotic erythromycin. Grapefruit contains a compound that reduces an enzyme in the intestines that helps metabolize certain drugs. Without this enzyme or with very low levels of it, more amounts of these drugs are absorbed into the bloodstream. As a result, you might get an overdose of the medication. If you take any of these drugs, talk to you physician or pharmacist before adding grapefruit juice to your diet.
#3. Prune Juice: Prune juice is a great source of potassium and iron, and supplies modest amounts of vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium. In addition, prunes contain hefty amounts of antioxidants, such as phenolics. These compounds lower the risk for everything from heart disease to cancer and cataracts. Prune juice does have more calories than other juice, or about 181 calories/1 cup.
#5 Grape Juice: Grape juice contains phytonutrients, called polyphenols (the same health-enhancing compounds found in red wine) that help prevent heart disease by preventing blood clots, keeping LDL-cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) from getting oxidized, and enlarging the arteries to increase blood flow. Compounds in grape juice also help keep blood from clotting, which should reduce the risk for stroke and heart attack. Just make sure the grape juice has no added sugar.
#6. Cranberry Juice: Cranberry juice contains a group of phytonutrients that block the binding of germs (E. coli) to cells in the lining of the urinary bladder, thus helping to flush harmful bacteria out of the body and prevent or treat bladder infections. (Blueberries also contain these compounds.) Check labels, since most cranberry beverages contain anywhere from 10% to 33% cranberry juice, and some are sweetened with highly processed pear or apple juice so that the label reads 100% juice.
British Medical Journal Open 2016;March 23rd/Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research 2016;10(4):FF06-10/Nursing Standard 2016;April 6th.

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