Fruit Juice Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Orange juice
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Drinking fruit juice can be a good way to get one or two servings of fruit and increase the amount of antioxidants you consume. Fruit juice can be high in calories if it has added sugar, an important caveat for those watching sugar intake.

It's also important to choose 100% fruit juice, rather than soft drinks made with fruit juice, because the nutritional value per calorie is more beneficial in 100% juice. There are many different juices and juice blends to choose from, but the most nutritious juice varieties include orange juice, pomegranate juice, and pink grapefruit juice.

Fruit Juice Nutrition Facts

Each variety of fruit juice will have slightly different nutrition facts, but here we will use orange juice as an example because it ranks as the most popular fruit juice in the U.S. A 1-cup (8 ounce) serving of juice contains around 90 to 110 calories, 0 to 2 grams of protein, 25 to 30 grams of carbohydrates, and 0 grams of fat.

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (240 milliliters) of orange juice.

  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 10mg
  • Carbohydrates: 27g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 20g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Vitamin C: 60mg
  • Vitamin A: 101 IU
  • Calcium: 40.8mg


Orange juice is among the best options because it contains vital nutrients, it is easy to find, and is not as expensive as more exotic juices. It's high in vitamin C, folate and minerals. In fact, 1 cup of orange juice provides all the vitamin C you need for one day.

Orange juice is also high in potassium which helps counteract sodium to regulate blood pressure and body fluid balance. It's also needed for muscle and nerve function. Drinking orange juice also gives you folate, a B vitamin that's good for heart health and blood cell production and is especially important for pregnant people.

Orange juice is also a good source of magnesium. Some commercial brands of orange juice have been fortified with calcium to make it even more nutritious.

Pink grapefruit juice is also a good choice, as long as you opt for juice that's not sweetened with added sugar. It's almost as high in vitamin C as orange juice and has plenty of minerals. It's also a good source of vitamin A. One cup of grapefruit juice has fewer than 100 calories.

Grapefruit juice can interact with several different types of prescription medications such as cholesterol-lowering statins, blood pressure medicines, corticosteroids, and others. The juice changes the way your body metabolizes drugs, causing a higher concentration of medicine in your body. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to see if you should be careful with your consumption of grapefruit juice.

Pomegranate juice is another excellent choice of fruit juice because it is high in potassium and magnesium. It's also a good source of calcium and antioxidants. However, it contains very little vitamin C.

Pomegranate juice is also high in antioxidants called polyphenols that may help maintain healthy blood pressure. It has a few more calories than a similarly sized serving of orange juice with about 135 calories per cup.

Carbs

Fruit juice generally provides a high amount of carbohydrates, mostly coming from the naturally-occurring fruit sugars. Making sure you are consuming 100% fruit juice is important in reducing extra sugars that might be added to juice beverages. Calories from added sugar are not providing the nutritional punch that calories from natural fruit sugars provide.

Fats

In general, fruit juice is fat-free. If you are having a juice smoothie, it is possible that the other ingredients in the beverage could contain fat. For example, some smoothies contain yogurt or milk, which can contain fat. But 100% fruit juice will not contribute to your fat intake for the day.

Protein

Fruit juice is not a high-protein food. Orange juice has 2 grams of protein, which is among the highest amounts for fruit juice. The most protein-packed fruits, like guava and avocado, are not typically juiced. If you're going for the whole fruit experience, those two are your best bet for protein.

As you can see, fruit juice does not contain a good balance of the macronutrients fat and protein. Because of this, juice cleanses are not healthy for a balanced diet.

Vitamins and Minerals

The amount of vitamins and minerals in fruit juice is what makes it such a nutritious choice. Each juice will have a different profile of vitamins and minerals, but some great choices are pomegranate juice, cherry juice, cranberry juice, and, of course, orange juice. Pomegranate juice has almost half of the vitamin K needed in a day.

One important thing to note is how the fruit juice was made. Cold-pressed juice preserves the nutritional content of the fruits best. Any juicing method that involves heat, such as centrifugal machines, will degrade some of the nutritional value.

Calories

The number of calories in fruit juice depends on the variety of juice you're drinking. Fruit juices contain calories that come from carbohydrates almost exclusively. Most juice contains between 100 to 140 calories per cup. If you want to lower the number of calories you drink, you can dilute fruit juice with sparkling or still water.

Summary

Fruit juices contain a multitude of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and the original fruit that is juiced determines which specific nutrients are most abundant. While micronutrients are abundant, fruit juice contains very little fat and protein.

Health Benefits

Fruit juices contain a wide variety of nutrients. You can tailor your fruit juice consumption based on which nutrients you think you might be lacking and what health benefits would be most advantageous for you. Here are some of the potential health benefits of fruit juice.

Reduces inflammation

Fruit juices contain an array of antioxidants, compounds that help protect the body from inflammation and reduce the impact of free radicals on your body. Chronic inflammation can lead to chronic illness and autoimmune disorders.

Protects cardiovascular health

Antioxidants have also been shown to help reduce the free radical damage that can lead to the early stages of clogged arteries. In this way, fruit juices can be part of an antioxidant-rich diet to help preserve cardiovascular health. Whole fruits and vegetables are also important sources of antioxidants.

Muscle recovery

Tart cherry juice has been touted for its ability to help muscle recovery after intense workouts. In a study, marathon runners were given cherry juice 5 days before running a marathon, the day of, and 2 days later. In the group of runners who drank cherry juice, the markers of inflammation, muscle damage, and oxidative stress were better than those in a placebo group.

Immune function

Vitamin C is a nutrient found in many types of fruit juice, including, of course, orange juice. But why is vitamin C so important? It's essential for strong connective tissue and healthy blood vessels. Vitamin C is also needed for normal immune system function.

Digestive health

Prune juice is known for its role in bowel regularity. But there are other fruit juices that can also help promote bowel movements in those with constipation. Apple juice and pear juice are both options to consider if you are drinking fruit juice to help with regularity.

Prevent birth defects

Pineapple juice contains folate. Folate is a vital nutrient for pregnant people because it helps prevent a birth defect called spina bifida, a neural tube defect in which the spine does not form properly. Orange juice is also a good source of folate.

Allergies

If you're allergic to a particular fruit, it's possible you are also allergic to its juice, depending on how that juice was extracted. If the extraction method involved heat, the proteins that triggered the allergic reaction may be destroyed in the process.

Surprisingly, it is also possible to be allergic to a fruit juice even if you are not allergic to the fruit itself. This can happen when fruit juice has other additives, preservatives, or ingredients that you are allergic to.

In addition to regular allergies, some people have an intolerance to fruit juice. This is not the same as an allergy. However, it can make consuming fruit juice unpleasant, causing a stomach ache after consumption. If this happens, an intolerance to the fructose in fruit juice could be the cause. Speak with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns about fruit juice allergy or intolerance.

Adverse Effects

Many fruit juices are high in calories. Because of this, many dietitians recommend limiting fruit juice to no more than one serving per day. Whole fruits are better than fruit juice because they contain fewer calories, and because they also contain fiber. Drinking juice that is excessive in sugar also can lead to weight gain and even diabetes.

The least beneficial fruit juices are fruit juice drinks or fruit punch. These beverages may claim to be "made with real fruit juice," but only contain a small amount of juice and are mostly water and sugar or corn syrup. As a result, they don't have much nutrition. Be sure to read food labels and ingredients lists and choose 100% fruit juice.

If you want to make your own juice drink, add some sparkling water to 100% juice to make a refreshing fruity soda.

Powdered juice drinks are not a good choice for the same reason. They are mostly sugar with just a little fruit flavoring. These beverages have no nutrition beyond the calories.

Varieties

There are a vast variety of fruit juices available for sale, and with a home juicing machine, almost any fruit can be processed for its juice. Different juices will have a different profile of nutrients, which makes drinking fruit juice an excellent way of consuming a wider variety of fruits.

The juice of a particular fruit may be available year-round, even if the fruit itself is limited to a specific growing season. This means you have the opportunity to benefit from varied nutrient profiles at any time, even if the fruit itself is not available.

When It's Best

Drinking fruit juice is one way to get the recommended amount of fruit in for the day. Most people do not consume enough servings of fruit, and fruit juice is one way to do so. Pay attention to serving size so you know exactly how many servings of fruit you are getting from juice.

Aim to get no more than one or two servings of fruit from juice. You also need the fiber that comes from eating the whole fruit in order to meet nutritional goals.

While there has been a lot of media cautioning against drinking fruit juice because of its caloric content, studies have found that people who drink fruit juice generally have a better diet and a lower risk of being obese.

Storage and Food Safety

Most fruit juice is sold in bottles or cartons and will need to be refrigerated after opening while some will need to be refrigerated right away. Frozen juice concentrates can be kept in your freezer for several months until you're ready to add water and serve.

Always consume homemade juices right away or store them in the refrigerator for 24 to 72 hours, depending on whether the juice is slow-pressed or made with a centrifugal juicer.

How to Prepare

Some people choose to make their own juice instead of purchasing fruit juice. Whether you're using a manual citrus juicer or an electric juicer, making your own is one way to ensure your fruit juice does not have added sugars.

Freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juices are easy to make with a manual juicer. All you need to do is wash your fruit, roll it around on the countertop while applying pressure, and then cut the fruit in half and use the juicer. If you have a high-speed blender or electric juicer at home you can make most any kind of fruit juice (if you leave the pulp in the juice, you get an added boost of fiber).

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