Though juice is enjoyed around the world, it’s a controversial beverage.
When it comes to its healthiness, many people are divided. Some argue that it’s too high in sugar, while others champion its high nutrient content.
This article reviews the 9 healthiest juices and discusses whether juice is a healthy choice in general.
Cranberry juice is known for its ability to protect against urinary tract infections (UTIs). Though research on this effect has been mixed, a recent review found that drinking cranberry juice lowered the risk of getting a UTI by 32.5%
This juice is also high in antioxidants, including anthocyanins, flavonols, procyanidins, and vitamins C and E, which may help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Cranberry juice is high in potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins C and E. It may also help prevent UTIs, though research on this effect is mixed.
Tomato juice is not only a key ingredient in Bloody Marys but also enjoyed on its own as a delicious and healthy drink.
While many people consider the tomato to be a vegetable due to its culinary uses, it’s biologically a fruit. Still, many companies classify tomato juice as a vegetable juice due to its flavor and low sugar content.
Tomato juice is particularly high in vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that supports iron absorption and promotes skin and immune health.
It’s also a good source of lycopene, a carotenoid and antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color. In fact, 80% of dietary lycopene is reported to come from tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, or pizza sauce.
Lycopene may lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. For example, one review linked increased intake of lycopene to a 13% lower risk of heart disease.
However, tomato juice can be very high in salt, a mineral that can increase blood pressure when consumed in excess. Considering that most people consume too much salt, try to select low-sodium options when possible.
Tomato juice is very high in lycopene, which acts as an antioxidant and may lower your risk of heart disease. Furthermore, 1 cup (250 ml) provides almost twice your daily vitamin C needs. Choose low-sodium tomato juice whenever possible.
It’s relatively low in sugar, as most vegetables are naturally lower in sugar than fruits.
What’s more, beets are a great source of betalains, which are pigments that give the vegetable its deep-red color. They act as potent antioxidants, potentially lowering your risk of heart disease, inflammation, and certain types of cancer.
Beet juice is also high in inorganic nitrates, which have been shown to increase athletic performance and decrease blood pressure and heart disease risk.
Still, keep in mind that the inorganic nitrate content of beet juice depends on the variety and growing conditions of the vegetable, as well as the processing method.
Since the nitrate content is not listed on most labels, it’s difficult to know to what extent drinking beet juice will provide nitrate-related benefits.
Beet juice is rich in dietary nitrates and betalains, both of which are associated with a lower risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases. Furthermore, it’s much lower in sugar than other juices.
Apple juice is a moderate source of potassium, a mineral that acts as an electrolyte and is important for nerve signaling and heart health.
Although it’s naturally low in vitamin C, many commercial varieties are enriched with vitamin C, providing up to 106% of the DV per cup (240 ml) (25Trusted Source).
Furthermore, it’s high in antioxidant compounds like flavonoids and chlorogenic acid, which help neutralize cell-damaging free radicals.
Among the different types, cloudy apple juice is the highest in antioxidants. In one study, it was found to have 2–5 times the antioxidant content of clear apple juice.
Apple juice comes in both clear and cloudy varieties. Though both contain antioxidants, cloudy juice provides up to 2–5 times more. Most apple juices are enriched with vitamin C, furthering its antioxidant content.
Furthermore, it’s widely used as a remedy for constipation, especially in older populations. Its fiber content appears to help soften stool and acts as a mild laxative.
It’s also a good source of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and phenolic compounds.
Though prune juice is a natural source of sugar, it’s best to limit your intake to a small glass per day or dilute it with water.
Prune juice provides a rich source of iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and B vitamins. It’s commonly used as a remedy for constipation due to its stool-softening effect.
Pomegranate juice has gained popularity in recent years due to its nutritional benefits. Plus, it adds a vibrant splash of color to your day.
It’s also high in the antioxidant anthocyanin, which gives pomegranates their characteristic dark-red color.
Finally, many varieties contain added vitamin C, helping you reach up to 27% of the DV.
Pomegranate juice is rich in anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that give pomegranates their rich, dark-red color. The juice is also high in vitamin K, which is important for heart and bone health.
Acai juice is rich in various antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, ferulic acid, and chlorogenic acid. A diet rich in these compounds has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and mental decline.
In fact, acai berries contain significantly more antioxidants than blueberries, which are well known for their disease-fighting compounds.
Finally, a study in 14 participants with osteoarthritis found that drinking an acai-based fruit juice for 12 weeks significantly lowered perceived pain. However, larger studies are needed to better understand this relationship.
Acai juice is rich in potent antioxidants, such as flavonoids, ferulic acid, and chlorogenic acid. A diet high in these compounds has been linked to a lower risk of chronic disease.
Orange juice is a significant source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that is essential for skin health and iron absorption.
It’s also high in phenolic compounds, such as cinnamic, ferulic, and chlorogenic acids. These antioxidant compounds help fight free radicals, which can damage cells and lead to disease.
A study in 30 people found that drinking orange juice after a high-fat, carb-rich meal led to significantly lower inflammation levels, compared with drinking water or glucose-water. The researchers attributed this to the antioxidants in orange juice.
You can purchase orange juice with or without the pulp. The pulp adds a bit of fiber, though not a significant amount.
Plus, many orange juice varieties have added calcium to support bone health.
Orange juice is naturally high in vitamin C and other antioxidants. In one study, drinking orange juice after a high-fat, carb-rich meal reduced inflammation.
Grapefruit juice is rich in disease-fighting antioxidants like vitamin C and a compound known as naringin.
However, processing the fruit decreases its content of certain antioxidants. For example, whole grapefruit is rich in beta carotene and lycopene, but grapefruit juice lacks these nutrients.
It’s important to know that grapefruit and its juice interact with over 85 medications, including blood thinners, antidepressants, and cholesterol and blood pressure medications.
This is due to compounds in grapefruit known as furanocoumarins, which interact with your liver’s ability to process medications. Therefore, it’s crucial to speak with a healthcare professional before eating grapefruit and its derivatives.
Grapefruit juice is rich in antioxidants, such as naringin and vitamin C. However, grapefruit and its products interact with numerous medications. Consult a healthcare professional if you’re taking any medications that may interact with grapefruit.
Though juice contains many important nutrients, there are some downsides to drinking it.
Low in fiber
Unlike whole fruit, fruit juice is low in fiber. During processing, the juices are extracted from the fruit, and the remaining flesh and fiber are discarded. Fiber helps manage your blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. Without fiber, sugar can easily enter your blood and lead to a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin.
High in sugar
Both whole fruit and fruit juices are high in sugar, but they differ in the type of sugar they contain. The sugar in whole fruits is intrinsic sugar that exists within the cellular structure of a fruit or vegetable. These sugars aren’t absorbed as quickly as free sugars.
Free sugars are simple sugars that have either been added to food or exist naturally in some foods and beverages, including fruit juices and honey. Unlike intrinsic sugars, they’re absorbed quickly, as they’re not bound within a cell. A diet high in free sugars — especially sugar-sweetened beverages — is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
However, most free sugars in the diet come from sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda and energy drinks. In fact, a 2017 study found that fruit juice only accounts for an average of 2.9% of total sugar intake. Unlike other sugar-sweetened beverages, 100% fruit juice is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Therefore, many experts argue that it’s a much better alternative. Nonetheless, focus on getting your daily nutrients from whole fruits and vegetables, which often boast high fiber contents. Aim to not drink more than 1–2 cups (240–480 ml) of juice per day.
Finally, if you decide to drink juice, try to purchase 100% real fruit juice. Many people mistake fruit cocktails or fruit beverages as real juice. Yet, these drinks usually contain added sugar, colorings, and flavors.
Unlike whole fruits and veggies, fruit juice is a poor source of fiber and can spike blood sugar levels. While juice can be a great source of nutrition, limit your intake to 1–2 cups (240–480 ml) per day, and try to opt for whole fruits and vegetables more often.
Juice can be an excellent source of nutrients, especially antioxidants. While there is controversy surrounding the sugar content of juice, it’s a much healthier option than other sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda or energy drinks.
Try to limit your intake to 1–2 cups (240–480 ml) per day, and opt for whole fruits and vegetables instead whenever possible. If you’re looking for a quick, convenient source of nutrients, juice can be a part of a healthy diet — as long as you enjoy it in moderation.