Juice has been demonized over the years. It gets lumped together in the same category as soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, including “juice drinks” that often have more added sugar than they do fruit. While sugar-sweetened drinks are fine from time to time, there are many juice varieties that contain helpful nutrients and serve up tons of health benefits. The key is to look for the words “100% juice” on the label. This means that the juice contains only fruit and/or vegetables. You can also look at the ingredient list to see what is in the juice bottle.
Here are six 100% juices to try (hint: an 8-oz glass counts as a serving of fruit!)
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This morning staple is packed with nutrition: an 8-oz glass of 100% orange juice gives you over 100% of the recommended Daily Value for vitamin C, has as much potassium as a medium banana, and is a good source of folate and thiamin, two important B vitamins. Plus, many varieties of OJ are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which are both important for bone health. 100% orange juice also contains hesperidin, a plant polyphenol that can help fight inflammation, keep your blood sugar levels stable, and has brain and heart benefits.
If prune juice makes you think of your grandparents, you’re not alone. But prune juice isn’t just for old age! Prunes, or dried plums, are full of fiber and nutrients that help keep you regular. An 8-oz glass of 100% prune juice contains 3 grams of fiber, is a good source of potassium and contains other essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin A and iron.
This juice has been gaining popularity with athletes. That’s because beetroot juice contains nitrates, which your body uses to deliver oxygen to working muscles. This means faster speeds and more endurance during a workout or sports performance. There is also some research that suggests that beets may help you recover faster post-workout, which may be due to nitrates helping with muscle inflammation. In addition to the exercise benefits, the nitrates found in beetroot juice have been shown to help lower blood pressure and therefore protect your heart. To get these benefits you can either drink an 8-ounce glass of juice or take a shot (2.4 oz) of concentrated juice.
Tart Cherry Juice
Another juice often used by athletes, tart cherry juice has been shown to help with recovery post-workout. While the studies have been small, tart cherry juice was linked to less muscle soreness and faster recovery after strength workouts. Other potential benefits: lower levels of inflammation, better sleep, and lower blood pressure. Plus, 4 oz of tart cherry juice meets 100 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. For exercise recovery, 10 ounces of juice pre and post-workout is recommended.
Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants that are linked to many health benefits including decreased blood pressure, anti-inflammatory effects, and improved memory and cognition. There is even some research showing that drinking pomegranate juice may slow the growth of prostate cancer. Each 8-ounce glass of pomegranate juice contains the juice from two whole pomegranates, with no added sugar, preservatives or colors.
Grape juice is an excellent source of vitamin C, with an 8-ounce glass providing over 100 percent of your daily needs. It also contains polyphenols, a type of plant antioxidant that is linked to heart health. Some research even suggests that red and purple grape juices may provide similar heart healthy benefits as red wine. Now there’s something we can raise a glass to.
What is your favorite juice? Share in the comments below.
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