I’m going to do it. I’m going to tell you that your morning fruit or vegetable juice isn’t as healthy as you think it is.
Yes, it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other health-promoting compounds. Yes, it counts towards your fruit and vegetable count for the day. And heck yes, it can be healthy if it’s used correctly.
You see, your juice is missing something you might not think about: the all-important non-nutrient, fiber. Fiber plays a massive role in overall health, helping to control appetite, weight, and cholesterol. But its biggest benefits may be for your digestive system and gut health.
Fiber is exceptionally under-consumed in America. You’re supposed to get between 28–38 grams per day, while some work shows people are only getting about 15 grams. One of the places people turn for fiber is plant-based food like fruits and vegetables—the key ingredients in many juices on grocery store shelves.
But when fruit and vegetables are blended up into liquid, the fiber is blended up with it. Dietary fiber exists in the skin, flesh, and leaves of fruits and veggies in their whole form. When it is destroyed and liquefied, there is no more fiber. Therefore, all that fiber you might think you’re getting from your nutrient-rich juice is just an illusion. It also has as much sugar as a soda, which is a whole different can of worms!
Fruit or vegetable juice in the morning can be useful to help you hit the daily target of five per day (for each). But if you find your digestive health—meaning transit time, constipation, gut pain, bloating, etc.—is not improving, it might be because you’re still short on fiber.
You must make up for it by eating fibrous foods throughout the day. Having a bowl of oats or a couple of pieces of whole grain toast with your breakfast can provide some fiber in the morning, while eating whole fruit, veggies, nuts, and legumes throughout the day can help take you to the daily goal. Or, if you drink these juices, look for added fiber varieties.
Fiber works best when it’s consumed throughout the day, so keep that in mind moving forward!
- 7 fixes for common digestive problems
- Yoga for constipation: 17 yoga poses to relieve digestive problems