Are There Health Benefits to Juicing?

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on June 29, 2023
5 min read

Juicing involves grinding, squeezing, or pressing fresh fruits and/or vegetables for their juice. It's a modern term for a long-standing practice of pressing harvested fruits for quickly accessing their nutrients.

Juicing as a trend began early in the 1920s and 1930s, but it increased in the 1970s. By the 1990s, juice shops and healthy dining trends became more mainstream.

Drinking fresh juice is an easy way to get numerous vitamins and minerals. Although research shows some support for juicing, the potential health benefits vary drastically depending on what's exactly in the juice. If you're not careful, you may end up drinking too many calories and too much sugar.

Nutrients vary widely depending on the fruits and vegetables you use for juicing and whether you buy the juice or make your own at home.

For example, an 8-ounce serving of carrot juice could contain:

  • Calories: 96
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0.36 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 22 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugar: 9 grams

An 8-ounce serving of passion fruit juice could contain:

  • Calories: 126
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 34 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 335 grams

An 8-ounce serving of cranberry juice could contain:

  • Calories: 114
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 28 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 22 grams

An 8-ounce serving of apple juice could contain:

  • Calories: 119
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 28 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 25 grams

Depending on the fruits and vegetables used, juice can be a good source of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Iron

The amount of nutrients in your juice can depend on whether the fruits and vegetables are grown commercially or organically. Cooking or pasteurization can also reduce the nutrients available in the juice.

Research on juicing is limited, but it does show some potential health benefits:

Increased nutrient intake

By drinking juice, your body can absorb nutrients quickly, without having to digest fibers and other components in whole foods. Moreover, it helps you get a larger intake of vitamins and minerals—more so than you may be getting in your regular diet. If you don't consume many whole fruits and vegetables, it's possible that you're lacking in important nutrients.

Cardiovascular system support

Limited research shows that drinking pure fruit and vegetable juice can lead to more nitric oxide in the blood. Nitric oxide acts to expand your blood vessels and lower blood pressure, helping your vessels remain supple and healthy.

The risks of juicing may end up outweighing the health benefits. These potential risks vary based on how much juice you drink, how often you drink it, and what types of fruits and vegetables you use:

Too many calories

All fruits and vegetables contain calories, but they're balanced by components such as fiber and other tissues. Many juices have about 100-180 calories in an 8-ounce glass, which means watching your portion size is important. Too many calories can lead to weight gain.

Too much sugar intake

In fruit juice, calories mostly come from sugar. When you drink juice, you often experience a spike in blood sugar levels because there's no fiber to slow down the absorption of sugar. The best way to keep your sugar intake down is by drinking juices that contain all or mostly vegetables.

Lack of fiber and protein

Simply drinking juice could lead to malnutrition because all types of juice (even vegetable) contain very little, if any, fiber or protein. Fiber is crucial for digestive health, whereas protein is vital for the support of muscles, bones, and blood.

Blending benefits

Smoothies can be a healthy snack or even a meal if you add other ingredients. Add protein such as nuts, seeds, or yogurt to keep you full and satisfied. Blended smoothies also tend to have more phytonutrients (natural chemicals found in plants) than juices. Smoothies use the membrane of citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruits, which are high in flavonoids—phytonutrients that help prevent certain diseases.

Blending smoothies is an especially good way to add leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, to your diet. When blended with a sweet fruit, green veggies don't have a strong taste. You can blend any number of leafy greens into your smoothie for extra vitamins and minerals.

Blending cons

Blending smoothies won't cause your blood sugar to spike as much as with drinking juice, but they can increase your blood sugar levels because of all the fruits. To help keep sugar in check, use no more than two servings of fruit per smoothie.

Too much fiber can cause problems like gas and indigestion. With a smoothie, you might eat too much of it without realizing.

Juicing and blending are two easy ways to boost your daily intake of fruits and veggies. Both involve liquefying fruits or vegetables into smoothies or juices. Doctors recommend eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, but studies report that Americans are averaging only about one serving per day. Because of this, juicing and blending have become popular options when it comes to getting more fruits and veggies.

Juicing is a way to consume fruits or vegetables in liquid form. You need a juicer, an appliance, to separate the pulp (fiber) of the fruit or vegetable from the liquid. The liquid is thin and easy to drink, and it has the vitamins and minerals from the fruits and vegetables. You do not drink parts of the fruit like the peel or pulp.

Blending or makingsmoothies is another way to get several servings of fruits and vegetables. You use the whole fruit or vegetable, sometimes including the skin. Blending keeps the fiber and nutrients that you would get if you ate the whole fruit or veggie. Therefore, blending fruits and veggies may result in a drink that is richer in phytonutrients and fiber than juice.