When it comes to drinking juice, most people automatically think of kids, but kids aren’t the only ones who like juice.  Adults drink juice too – often in the form of smoothies, fruit punches or simply alone as an early morning or afternoon thirst quencher. For kids, research shows that drinking 100% juice is another way to ensure they hit their recommended daily intake.  But, did you know adults can benefit from drinking 100% juice too? Like children, adults don’t get enough fruits and vegetables in their diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only 1 in 10 adults meet dietary guidance for fruit and vegetable intake.

The US Dietary Guidelines recognize 100% juice as part of the fruit group and state that one cup of 100% fruit juice is nutritionally equivalent to one cup of fruit. For people who don’t have the time, money or ability to buy whole fruit, nutrient dense 100% juice can help fill in the gaps. This is especially true for seniors who may prefer juice over fruit due to its ease, long shelf life and convenience but juice can also be a boon for Millennials as well as young and middle aged adults. Other ways 100% juice can help:

Delivers valuable nutrients to the diet
Juice contains important nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, folate and thiamin (vitamin B1), and in fortified juices, calcium and vitamin D. Of those nutrients, three (calcium, vitamin D (both found in fortified juices), and potassium) are considered, “nutrients of concern” meaning we need more of them in our diets. Juice also supplies small amounts of other nutrients too like magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin K. In addition, juice has a significant number of bioactives like carotenoids and polyphenols, which have been shown to have a positive impact on health.

Improves Diet Quality
Studies from France and Sweden have shown that adults who regularly drink 100% juice had healthier diets and experienced no increased weight gain. They also consumed less alcohol, had higher intakes of fruit, vegetables, fiber and various other vitamins and minerals as well as increased physical activity and a lower incidence of smoking. In the US, an NHANES analysis study showed that 100% fruit juice consumption is associated with a 10% higher Healthy Eating Index (HEI) score than non-juice consumption. The higher HEI score was due to higher intakes of whole fruit and total fruit and lower intakes of added sugar, saturated fat and sodium.

Helps with Weight Management
This same NHANES analysis showed adults who consume 100% fruit juice had lower body mass index, lower body weight, a 22% lower risk for being overweight or obese and a 27% lower risk of metabolic syndrome compared to non-consumers.

May Protect Health
Similar to coffee and tea, fruit and fruit juices provide a significant number of bioactives to the diet. Of these bioactives, polyphenols are the most prevalent, as fruit and fruit juices are key sources of this nutrient in the US diet. Research shows polyphenols, which include flavonoids, are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, aged related vision loss (macular degeneration) and urinary tract infections. Studies show these bioactives also may help preserve cognition, reducing risk of dementia and benefit exercise performance.

Keeps you Hydrated
Whether replenishing fluids after a workout or simply staying hydrated during a hot day, 100% juice does the trick. In fact, a recent study found, post-exercise people consuming orange juice hydrated just as well as those drinking sports drinks or water. For seniors who may not drink as much as they need to, juice is a refreshing treat, particularly in drinks like Citrus Berry Cooler and Apple Pineapple Colada. Looking for something more unusual, why not check out our adult-oriented Lemonade, Cucumber, Mint Popsicle or Tangy Barbecue Meatballs.

For more juice recipes with an adult twist, visit our website at Sipsmarter.org.

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