Wiki Spanish Food editorial team
More than just a drink, juices are a source of vitamins and minerals, and they provide a wide range of nutrients our bodies need, with the advantage that some of their components directly enter the bloodstream and need not be digested or expended through physical activity. The main values that juices contribute to our diet can be organized into three groups, according to the nutrients they provide:
Juice as a source of vitamins and polyphenols
Vitamins are a very broad group of substances that are found naturally in fruits and vegetables, and these foods are the primary method for incorporating them into our diet. They are considered essential as they take part in important bodily functions. Fruit juices contain vitamins in a quantity similar to the fruit used to make them and, therefore, are a primary source of these nutrients.
The body has the capacity to create damaging substances called free radicals, which have a high oxidant capacity and a negative impact on aging and play a role in the development of various types of cancer. Our bodies are able to defend themselves naturally from the negative impact of free radicals, although often times it may not be enough to offset their effects.
Fruit juice is a natural source of antioxidant vitamins, the main ones being vitamins C and E. Vitamin C also plays an important role in iron absorption, and people with a vitamin E deficiency are at greater risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Fruit juice is also an important source of carotenoids, specifically precursors of vitamin A, which also have a high antioxidant capacity while also playing a role in bone metabolism and vision, among others.
Aside from vitamins, similar health benefits are provided by polyphenols, which are organic molecules found naturally in juice and whose antioxidant activity strengthens the effects of vitamins A, C and E to a large extent. Fruit juice also provides us with a good portion of the daily intake recommendation for folic acid, also known as B9, the effects of which are known to help prevent fetal malformation.
Juice as a source of minerals
Minerals also take part in many of our bodily functions, and drinking fruit juice is a very balanced way of including some of them in our diet. This includes potassium, which helps maintain water balance; magnesium, which helps bones form and strengthens the immune system; and calcium which, although fruit juice does not contain a large amount, does have a noteworthy contribution. They also contain magnesium, zinc, bromine and copper, which play a role in important biological functions.
Juice as a hydrator
Fruits and vegetables contribute a significant amount of water to our diet, as water is their largest component, especially in fruit such as orange, pineapple, watermelon, honeydew, and many others. Fruit juices, which are made by squeezing or blending, have the same amount of water as the fruit from which they are made. A large percentage of the body is made up of water and it's important to maintain the proper water balance, which is measured as a function of the water we consume and the water that leaves the body when we breathe, sweat and go to the bathroom.
Physical quantities vary from person to person. We need water to survive, and maintaining a proper water balance is essential for the many functions we execute in our day to day. Juices are a very healthy alternative for staying hydrated since not only do they provide a significant amount of water naturally, but they also contain the above-mentioned nutrients.
In short, juices have hydrating, antioxidant, remineralizing and toning properties. Moreover, since they come from fruit, they have detoxifying properties, which aid in digestion and can help prevent some of the risks which trigger cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer.