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A source of vitamins, carotenoids and polyphenols

Yaiza de la Campa. Journalist

Juice is more than just a drink: it’s source of vitamins and minerals and it provides diverse nutrients that our bodies need, with the advantage that some are absorbed directly into the bloodstream and do not need to be digested or metabolized beforehand.

One of juice's main contributions to our diet in terms of nutrients is as a source of vitamins, antioxidants, carotenoids and polyphenols.

Vitamins are a very broad group of substances found naturally in fruits and vegetables, the consumption of which is the main method for incorporating them into our diet. Vitamins are considered essential as they are involved in important bodily functions.

Fruit juices have similar vitamin content to whole fruit and are a primary source of those nutrients.

The human body produces harmful substances called free radicals, which have a high oxidative capacity and speed up ageing and the development of several types of cancer. Our bodies have a natural defense again the negative effects of free radicals, though it's often not enough to counteract their impact.

Fruit juice is a natural source of vitamins with antioxidant capacity, mainly vitamin C and E. The former also plays an important role in iron absorption, and a deficiency of the latter is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

Fruit juice is also an important source of carotenoids, specifically vitamin A precursors, which also have a high antioxidant content and play a role on bone metabolism and visual function.

Another compound with health benefits are polyphenols, i.e. plant molecules that are naturally occurring in juice and whose antioxidant activity considerably strengthens the effects of vitamins A, C and E.

Fruit juice also offers a good supply of most of our daily recommended dose of folic acid (vitamin B9), which has proven very effective in preventing fetal malformation.

Color and contribution

The health effects of fruit vary depending on the pigment, or bioactive compound (carotenoids, flavonoids, lycopene, etc.).  

- White-green. The bioactive compound in fruits like apples are flavonoids (polyphenol), which protect cells and lower LDL cholesterol.

- Blue-dark red. Redcurrants, plums, cherries, bilberries and blueberries contain anthocyanin (polyphenol), which help with blood circulation and reduces vascular inflammation.

- Red. Lycopene (carotenoid) is the red-colored bioactive compound. Tomato, grapefruit, watermelon, guava and papaya help reduce the risk of prostate cancer and play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease.

- Orange. Orange is the color of beta-carotene (carotenoid), present in carrots, apricots, mangos and goji berries, among others. It captures free radicals, reduces the risk of cancer and boosts the immune system.

- Yellow-orange. The carotenoids found in pineapple, oranges, mandarins and peaches help fight oxidative stress and improve the immune system.  

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