Love to drink your fruits? Many juices are packed with nutrients, but not all are equal. Here are tips from Portland, Oregon-based Steven Bailey, ND—coauthor of Juice Alive (Square One, 2006)—on how to enjoy the healthiest nectars, blends, cocktails, and concentrates.
Choose 100 percent juice>> "Natural fruit juice consists of water, natural sugars, nutrients, enzymes, and sometimes fiber or pulp," says Bailey. "That's all you need in juice." Avoid added sugars (such as high fructose corn syrup), coloring, and other artificial ingredients.
The less processed, the better>> When juice is filtered and pasteurized, it loses nutrients. Next to fresh-squeezed, look for juices that are flash pasteurized, such as Odwalla. (Flash pasteurization briefly heats liquid to kill harmful bacteria, then quickly cools it to retain flavor and nutrients.) Bottled or frozen? Both have benefits. "Freezing preserves nutrients longer, but bottled juice is generally less processed," explains Bailey.
Go organic>> Fruits grown organically have "minimal pesticide residue and significantly broader natural mineral content and other important nutrients," says Bailey.
Enjoy in moderation>> No more than 15 percent of your total daily calorie intake should consist of sugars and processed foods, including fruit juices, he says. "Healthy and active children often burn the same number of calories per day as adults," Bailey adds. So whether you're 2 or 62, drink just one or two 8-ounce cups of juice daily. Or double your fluid intake—without adding calories or juice—by diluting the juice 50/50 with water.