The increased intake of fruit and vegetables has been associated with a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke. Deep and brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain many important nutrients, like vitamins A and C, folate, and the minerals copper, magnesium, and iron. These foods also contain various phytochemicals, which are known to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
But what if you don’t want to eat the whole fruit? Is it possible to get the same benefit from drinking the juice made from the fruit? Well, that depends.
Alternatives To Orange Juice
Cranberry Juice & Blueberry Juice
Cranberry and blueberry juice contain chemicals known as anthocyanins, which have been previously shown to decrease free radical production and levels of inflammation inside arteries.
These amazing chemicals can actually influence the innermost membranes of your arteries, reducing damage from plaques and causing relaxation of the artery walls.
Pure cranberry juice can also be used to successfully manage urinary tract infections. The chemicals that give these berries their amazing attributes are found in the inner pigmented areas of the skin. These juices can also be mixed with apple juice for added sweetness, as these tend to be a bit sour.
I prefer that the whole berry is used in the process of juicing, so as much of the pulp as possible is included in the juice. The added pulp increases the amount of valuable fiber and causes a smaller insulin spike. If you purchase these juices, try and get them freshly squeezed, not concentrated, and without added sugar.
Grape juice, made from whole, red grapes, contain another interesting chemical called resveratrol. This compound is also found in high amounts in wine and can lower inflammation, reduce blood clotting, and encourage the secretion of enzymes that relax arteries.
There is no doubt that the increased consumption of whole grape juice can decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The recommendation is that this juice be consumed in its whole form and freshly squeezed, without added sugar or concentrates.
The great thing about drinking this type of juice is that only four to six ounces are required to deliver a very potent burst of nutrients.
Pomegranate juice is a fruit native to the Middle East and has been used for centuries to treat heart disease and diabetes. Of all the fruit juices, pomegranate has one of the highest amounts of antioxidant chemicals found in nature.
The anthocyanins contained within pomegranate juice are very helpful at lowering blood pressure, blood fats, and levels of inflammation within the artery itself.
These chemicals can also cause relaxation of the artery walls and discourage artery plaque formation. I recommend that you consume four to six ounces of freshly squeezed juice on a daily basis to get these nutritionally dense nutrients into your diet.
Riso, P., “Effect of a wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) drink intervention on markers of oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial function in humans with cardiovascular risk factors,” Eur J Nutr. April 2013; 52(3): 949-61.
Grace, M.H., “Comparison of health-relevant flavonoids in commonly consumed cranberry products,” J Food Sci. August 2012; 77(8): H176-83.
Tomé-Carneiro, J., et al., “One-year consumption of a grape nutraceutical containing resveratrol improves the inflammatory and fibrinolytic status of patients in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease,” Am J Cardiol. August 1, 2012; 110(3): 356-63.
Asgary, S., “Clinical Evaluation of Blood Pressure Lowering, Endothelial Function Improving, Hypolipidemic and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Pomegranate Juice in Hypertensive Subjects,” Phytother Res. March 21, 2013.