Health & Nutrition

Fruit Juice is a part of a Healthy Balanced Diet

Fruit juices can play an important role as part of a healthy diet. Apart from being an important source of fluids, fruit juice provides essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, folate, potassium and antioxidants. A glass of fruit juice can count towards the 5-a-day recommendation for food and vegetables. Fruit juice does however contain carbohydrate-derived kilojoules and therefore should be enjoyed in moderation.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and has an important role in wound-healing, prevention of chronic disease and collagen formation. It also increases the absorption of iron from food consumed. Fruit juices are an important source of this essential vitamin.

Phytonutrients

Phytochemicals have antioxidant properties that can protect the body's tissue against oxidative stress which in turn may protect against associated diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants such as lycopene in tomatoes may reduce the incidence of prostate cancer, cranberry juice may reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections in women and grape juice having beneficial effects on the markers of coronary heart disease.

Potassium

Many fruit juices such as orange juice are an important source of potassium – an essential mineral for fluid balance and nerve transmission. Potassium helps to blunt the effect of sodium on blood pressure and protect against the development of renal stones. Dietary advice for blood pressure management does include a diet rich in fruit and vegetables.

Low Glycemic Index

Fruit juices generally have a low Glycemic index – a ranking of carbohydrate foods based on their effect on blood sugar levels. The carbohydrates in a low Glycemic index food break down more slowly than in a high Glycemic index food, causing a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels.

Conclusion

Fruit juice is an important food in the diet as it provides nutrients vital for good health and disease prevention. Independent analyses of dietary intakes reveal average energy (calorie) intakes from juice are not excessive and are consistent with good health.

Ref: Fruit Juice, Nutrition and Health – A Review
August 2006
Australian Fruit Juice Association www.fruitjuiceaustralia.org