Today I'm dropping another surprising opinion on you- I'm a HUGE fan of — wait for it — juice! But not just any old juice like 95% of the juice-like products you'll find in the grocery store. I'm talking about pure, unadulterated, additive free, organic juice. I'm also not advocating drinking juice anytime or in any amount; it must be used strategically so it can work with your body and not against it (more about that kind of thing here).
Juice has been demonized as empty, liquid calories, a sugar bomb, and other much more harmful slander. However, is it all really true or is it just a side effect reflecting the "fake" juices on the market and the sugar-hating society in which we live? Here's my take and 5 reasons why I drink juice almost every day...
1) Pure unadulterated juice is easy, nutrient dense calories.
Your body LIKES calories. Your body NEEDS calories to fuel cellular energy production, regulate your metabolism, build/heal/repair tissues, and help facilitate everything you do. A lack of calories is so harmful, in fact, that the body will actually adapt very quickly by lowering the body's output if you don't get enough; including reducing the body temperature, slowing the metabolism, weakening digestion, slowing hormone synthesis just to keep you alive longer on less calories. Living on limited calories is not a proper lifestyle for optimal health and happiness. Calories are your friend, particularly those calories that actually contain nutrients!
2) Chances are you can't eat 10 oranges every day, but you CAN drink them!
Supplements are not without risk, and of little need when you can easily gather those nutrients from real food. I would much rather drink some organic, 100% orange juice everyday to help get enough vitamin C, magnesium, folate, and potassium than take a supplement.
A 2015 study by the Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition found that "Citrus juices are excellent sources of vitamin C and contribute other key nutrients such as potassium, folate, magnesium and vitamin A. Orange juice intake has been associated with better diet quality in children and adults. OJ intake has not been associated with adverse effects on weight or other body measures in observational studies in children and adults."
If you don't care for orange juice or citrus juices, then apple juice, pineapple, and grape juice are readily available options as well. Lita Lee, Ph.D. who is a chemist, enzyme therapist, nutritionist, author and lecturer even claims "Fruit juices are high in salicylates so it’s like drinking organic aspirin (very anti-inflammatory)." She also maintains juice as a key component to a pro-thyroid diet.
3) Juice is EASY to digest.
One of the most common problems my clients have is some level of digestive distress that decreases digestive enzyme activity in the small intestines (read: bloating, bathroom misery, discomfort & fatigue). When digestive juices are weak, more complex carbohydrates will be difficult to digest, and that will often cause bloating. While the gut is being repaired, it is best to focus on easier-to-digest carbohydrates (shown below), until digestive juices properly increased. This is because the stomach may have a hard time breaking down the bonds between disaccharides and polysaccharides. This is why monosaccharides are the best carbohydrates choice in the interim, because they require little digestion.
That is where juice comes into play! It’s absorbed very easily in the small intestines without needing a lot of digestive enzyme action making it a great tool when used properly.
4) Its FAST FOOD!
Juice is so easy to drink on the go. I usually add in a few pastured egg yolks and collagen (like this) in with mine, blend and drink on the go! A perfect blood sugar balanced meal in a glass.
5) Vitamins & minerals.
Where do you choose to get your vitamins and minerals for optimal nutrition? Do you choose fortified foods, risky synthetic supplements or ignore them all together? One glass of Pulp Free Organic OJ from Uncle Matt’s contains the following daily values (based on a 2,000 calorie diet): 13% potassium, 2% calcium, 120% Vitamin C, 15% folate, 10% thiamine, 6% Vitamin B6 and 4% niacin.
One more little orange juice tidbit for those of you readers who are keen on "happy hour." According to Dr. Ray Peat, PhD, drinking alcohol with fructose containing juice (like orange juice) is better than drinking alcohol alone, due to the fructose's help to stimulate the detoxification of the ethyl alcohol from the body.
When choosing juice you should be aware of the following:
-Organic, 100% juice without vitamins and additives is not cheap, just like organic fruit isn’t.
-Always read your labels. Watch out for juices that use "flavor packs." Tropicana, Minute Maid and Simply Orange have been accused of this. And surprise, both Simply Orange and Minute Maid are owned by the Cocoa Cola Company...
-If your digestion is poor, try “pulp free” versions.
-Citrus sensitivities are common in those with digestive weakness, so if citrus doesn’t fit your fancy try pineapple juice, apple cider or coconut water as they are usually easy to find in the supermarket.
Do you drink juice or do you think it's bad for you? Please share in the comments!
- Critical Review Food Science & Nutrition. 2015 Apr 1:0. 100% Citrus Juice: Nutritional Contribution, Dietary Benefits, and Association with Anthropometric Measures. Rampersaud GC1, Valim MF.
- Peat, Ray, Ph.D. Sugar Issues. Retrieved 15 May 2015 from http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/sugar-issues.shtml
- Lee, Lita, Ph.D. To Your Health Newsletter: January 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2015 from http://www.litalee.com/shopexd.asp?id=471-Photo Credits: Uncle Matt's OJ, Depositphotos.com/glougass