A glass of juice a day could make you healthier

Juice drinkers rejoice! A new study published in the British Medical Journal has found that drinking a glass of 100% fruit or vegetable juice is associated with higher blood levels of vitamin C and bioactive compounds, compared with other foods including several categories of fruits and vegetables.

The researchers, led by a team at the University of Cambridge, analysed data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. A study which includes more than 340,000 adults from eight different countries.

9754 participants with existing type 2 diabetes had their diets and blood samples compared with those from 13,662 individuals without diabetes. The sample were assessed for blood levels of vitamin C and carotenoids (bioactive compounds found in orange/yellow/red fruits and vegetables) and an overall ‘bioactive score’ was calculated.

The results showed that you are statistically at less risk of getting type 2 diabetes if you have higher blood levels of vitamin C and carotenoids, as well as a higher overall bioactive score. The researchers to concluded that boosting fruit and vegetable intakes, especially amongst habitual low consumers of these foods, could help to reduce the prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

The researchers found that the top scoring categories for vitamin C were fruit and vegetable juices followed by citrus fruits, fruiting vegetables (e.g. tomatoes, avocados, peppers, courgettes) and cabbage. Fruit juices, especially citrus juices, are known to be rich in vitamin C, containing 80-100% of the daily recommendation in just one glass.

Commenting on the new study, dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton said: “While it’s important to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetable daily, this study suggests that certain categories are more effective than others for raising blood levels of specific compounds. Pure fruit and vegetable juices were most strongly correlated with vitamin C levels, while root vegetables were top for the overall bioactive score.

“Vitamin C is proven to support normal immune function, according to the European Food Safety Authority which recommended an official health claim. On the basis of this study, the best advice to ensure optimal vitamin C levels would be to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables and include a daily 150 mL glass of 100% juice”.

So adding one glass of fruit or vegetable juice might be a simple way to boost your health. But remember, fruit juice is also very high in sugar so like anything we consume, we should always think about moderation. One glass might be healthy, a whole bottle probably isn’t.

What small change have you made recently to help lead a healthier life? Let us know in the comments.