Fruit and vegetable juices such as orange, beet and carrot juice are nutritious beverages that contain vitamins and other health-promoting nutrients, usually made by squeezing or macerating fruit or vegetable flesh. In some types, juice is filtered to clear it, removing pulp but lowering its content of healthy fiber. Today, unfiltered juice is readily available at groceries or health food stores, or you can make your own with a juicer at home. These juices may be a bit more expensive that those made commercially from concentrate, but they can have a fresher taste, in addition to higher fiber content.
Carrot Juice -- More Than a Pretty Color
Carrot juice, produced from carrots, is rich in beta-carotene, B-vitamins, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron. In a study published in 2003 in “Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism,” healthy males on a low-carotenoid diet consumed about 1.5 cups of carrot juice daily for two weeks, rapidly raising their blood levels of carotenoids and eventually leading to improved immune responses in these subjects. Because of its high content of beta-carotene, consuming carrot juice can also improve on night vision, especially in someone deficient in vitamin A, an important requirement for good vision.
Orange Juice -- Loaded With Vitamins
Orange juice is particularly rich in vitamin C, a vitamin with antioxidant properties that's also important in collagen production, to support immune function, and in wound healing. It also promotes absorption of iron and calcium. People with iron deficiency are advised to drink orange juice with iron-containing meals. Other nutrients found in this juice include potassium, thiamine, phosphorus, folate and vitamin B-6. Laboratory research published in 1998 in "Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology" found that orange juice consumption prevented breast cancer in rats and that the juice increase the anti-cancer effects of the drug tamoxifen, but these promising findings still need confirmation in trials with human subjects.
Beet Juice -- Lowering Pressure
Beet juice is made by compressing the common root vegetable. According to a paper published in "Hypertension" in 2008,“ consuming 2 cups of beet juice may lower blood pressure as effectively as some prescription drugs, possibly through production of nitric oxide from beet compounds, which causes blood vessels to relax, thus lowering blood pressure. According to a laboratory study 2006 issue of the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” in 2006, beet juice also raised excretion of bile acids and cholesterol. In some people, consuming large quantities of beet juice cause tightness of vocal cords, rashes or beeturia, a reddening of the urine and stools, but mixing it with other juices and consuming it slowly might lessen these effects. .
Although juice can be a source of sugar and calories, vegetable juices generally contain less sugar than fruit juices and can work well in a weight reduction program. You should not use juice in place of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, because these provide addition benefits from dietary fiber, including aiding digestion and preventing constipation.
- Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism: Supplementation of a Low-Carotenoid Diet with Tomato or Carrot Juice Modulates Immune Functions in Healthy Men
- Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology: Inhibition of Mammary Cancer by Citrus Flavonoids
- Hypertension: Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective, and antiplatelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrite.
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Physiological Effects of Extraction Juices from Apple, Grape and Red Beet Pomaces in Rats