Although more Americans are overweight and obese than ever, many still don't consume enough essential vitamins and minerals. That's largely because 90 percent fail to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables daily, reported a study published in the "Medscape Journal of Medicine" in 2009. Adding low-sugar, fresh juice mixes to your diet can help. Enjoy them in moderation: Even healthy foods can lead to weight gain and weight-related health problems if you consume more calories than you need.
Juice for Absorbable Iron
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more Americans are deficient in iron than in any other nutrient. Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and Swiss chard are rich in iron, but the form they contain is nonheme iron, a type that the body doesn't absorb as well as the heme iron in animal products. Eating nonheme iron along with a source of vitamin C, however, increases the amount of iron absorbed in the intestines. For an iron-rich juice mix, try combining several handfuls of your favorite leafy green with a vitamin C-rich fruit, such as guava, kiwi or strawberries. Thin the mixture with orange, grapefruit or tomato juice.
Fill Up on Magnesium
Men need approximately 420 milligrams of magnesium each day; women should have 320 milligrams. Yet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says over half don't meet this requirement. Green vegetables, grains, nuts and some fruits, such as bananas, are all naturally high in magnesium. Boost the magnesium in your diet with a juice mix based on several handfuls of a leafy green like spinach, which contains 24 milligrams of magnesium per cup.
Pick Fruits High in Potassium
The average American doesn't eat enough produce to reach the 4,700-milligram daily potassium recommendation for adults. A low intake of potassium can increase your risk of osteoporosis, stroke, high blood pressure and kidney stones. A healthy, potassium-rich juice mix might begin with prune, orange or low-sodium tomato juice, all of which supply between 370 and 530 milligrams of potassium in every 6 ounces. Add in a banana, melons like cantaloupe or honeydew, papaya, mangoes, avocados, figs, apricots or nectarines for an additional 200 milligrams of potassium or more per serving.
Turn to Leafy Greens for Vitamin K
Your body needs vitamin K to coagulate blood properly and to maintain bone strength, but only about 25 percent of adults consume a diet that supplies the 120 micrograms per day needed by men and the 90 micrograms advised for women. Leafy green vegetables such as parsley, kale, Swiss chard, watercress, leaf lettuce and spinach are your best options for increasing your vitamin K intake. A juice mix containing, for example, 1 cup of raw kale would supply 472 micrograms of the nutrient, far more than the recommended daily allowance.
Sample Juice Mixes
For a juice mix that's rich in vitamin K, vitamin C and iron, Serious Eats contributor and food writer Carolyn Cope suggests mixing together the juice from a cucumber, several kale leaves, a bunch of fresh cilantro, an apple, limes, celery and a small piece of ginger. Combine the juice of a few tomatoes, a peeled carrot, a red bell pepper, romaine lettuce, some celery stalks, chopped chives and seeded jalapeno for 466 milligrams of potassium per drink. A mix containing raw spinach, apples, peeled grapefruit, ginger and celery supplies magnesium as well as plenty of vitamin C.
- Medscape Journal of Medicine: Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among Adolescents and Adults in the United States: Percentage Meeting Individualized Requirements
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Iron and Iron Deficiency
- Precision Nutrition: The Super Shake Guide - Turn Your Protein Shake Into a Super Shake
- Linus Pauling Institute: Magnesium
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2001-2002: Usual Nutrient Intakes From Food Compared to Dietary Reference Intakes
- Linus Pauling Institute: Potassium
- New York University Langone Medical Center: Potassium Content of Foods
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin K
- Serious Eats: Balanced Green Juice
- Eating Well: How to Start Juicing - 7-Day Juice Plan to Add More Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet