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Juice is the expressed liquid from fruits or vegetables. As a highly concentrated source of nutrition—including vitamins, minerals, natural sugars, and healing phytochemicals—juice is an easy way to add more fruits and vegetables to any diet. But the term “juice” can be used loosely: many packaged, processed “juice drinks” or “fruit nectars” are loaded with artificial ingredients and sugar—you might as well drink soda.
Almost any fruit or vegetable can be juiced. Vegetable juices are lower in calories than fruit juices, and the most common are tomato, carrot, and mixed vegetable juices. Fruit juices include temperate fruit juices (such as apple, pear, peach, nectarine, apricot, prune, and cherry), berry juices (including cranberry), grape juice, melon juices, citrus juices, and tropical juices.
Freshly squeezed or extracted juice made at a juice bar or from a home juicer has the best flavor. Fresh frozen juices are quickly frozen after extraction, without pasteurization, and retain most of the nutrients and taste. Chilled fresh juices, found in the refrigerated section of the grocer store, are freshly extracted juices that are then packaged for shipping and distribution. Frozen juice concentrates are made from pasteurized juice from which the water has been extracted before freezing the solid, concentrated portion. Reconstituted juices, made from juice concentrates that have been pasteurized, must be labeled “from concentrates.” One-hundred percent, canned or bottled juices may be made from a single fruit or from a blend of fruits to create a certain flavor and level of sweetness. Those made from a single fruit may be sweetened with grape juice. Like their frozen counterparts, canned concentrates made from evaporated pasteurized juices do not require refrigeration until they are reconstituted.
Fruit beverages or drinks may contain only a small amount of real juice and may contain sugar and artificial flavors and colors. These shouldn’t be counted as a fruit serving.
Juice may be pasteurized or non-pasteurized. Pasteurization destroys many vitamins and minerals, but it also kills microbes and bacteria that cause spoilage and potential infection.
Keep single-serving cans of orange juice or tomato juice on hand for a fast, healthful beverage. Use fruit juice as the base for fat-free salad dressing and marinades.
Apple Juice (canned, unsweetened), 1 cup
Total Fat: 0.27g
Grapefruit Juice (canned, unsweetened), 1 cup
Total Fat: 0.25g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin C (72mg)
*Good source of: Potassium (378mg)
Orange Juice (canned, unsweetened), 1 cup
Total Fat: 0.35g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin C (86mg)
*Good source of: Potassium (436mg), Vitamin B6 (0.22mg), and Folate (45mcg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value, based upon United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the USDA Recommended Daily Value. Nutritional information and daily nutritional guidelines may vary in different countries. Please consult the appropriate organization in your country for specific nutritional values and the recommended daily guidelines.
Some doctors recommended that people with CHF consume whole fruit and fruit and vegetable juices, all of which are high in potassium; however, this dietary change should be discussed with a healthcare provider, because several drugs given to people with CHF (e.g., “potassium-sparing diuretics”) can actually cause retention of potassium, making dietary potassium, even from fruit, dangerous.
Some juices contain sugars that are absorbed slowly, such as fructose in fruit juice or sorbitol. Through a process called osmosis, these unabsorbed sugars hold onto water in the intestines, sometimes leading to diarrhea. By reading labels, people with chronic, noninfectious diarrhea can easily avoid fruit juice, fructose, and sorbitol to see if this eliminates the problem.
Acidic beverages, such as juices, have been linked to increased heartburn pain and can contribute to symptoms in people with GERD.
Preliminary evidence suggests that some people with IBS have greater trouble absorbing fructose, a sugar found in high concentration in fruit juice, than do healthy people. Therefore, when attempting to uncover food sensitivities, people with IBS should consider the possibility that fruit juice might trigger symptoms.
A survey in which researchers gathered information from nearly 400 people (half with MS) over three years, found that consumption of vegetable protein, fruit juice, and foods rich in vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, and potassium correlated with a decreased MS risk.
Modern research suggests that cranberry may prevent urinary tract infections. Cranberry may be effective because it may prevent E. coli, the bacterium that causes most urinary tract infections, from attaching to the walls of the bladder. However, cranberry is not a substitute for antibiotics in the treatment of acute UTIs. Moreover, in children whose UTIs are due to “neurogenic bladder” (a condition caused by spinal cord injury or myelomeningocele), cranberry juice supplementation did not reduce the rate of infection. Drinking 300–500ml (10–16 oz.) unsweetened or lightly sweetened cranberry juice is recommended by many doctors for prevention and as part of the treatment of urinary tract infections.
Some doctors believe that a well-balanced diet low in fats, sugars, and refined foods is important for preventing vaginal infections caused by Candida albicans (a type of fungus). Many doctors advise women who have a yeast infection (or are predisposed to such infections) to limit their intake of sugar, fruit juices, and refined carbohydrates. For persistent or recurrent infections, some doctors recommend that fruit also be avoided. Food allergies are believed to be a contributory factor in some cases of recurrent irritant vaginitis.
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The information presented in VitaminLore is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of U.S. registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications.