As someone interested in getting the most health benefits possible from your food, you may have wondered if you should switch to cold-pressed juice. It’s gained popularity recently as an alternative to conventional juice and is now available in stores across the country.
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between a passing wellness trend and a truly superior product. Here we examine cold-pressed juice more carefully to determine whether it’s something you should add to your daily diet or not.
Difference Between Cold-Pressed Juice and Processed Juice
Most conventionally produced juices found in grocery stores are produced using the following steps:
- Extraction: The fruits or vegetables are cut and/or pressed to extract the juice. High spinning blades and strainers separate the juice from the pulp. The extracted juice may then be filtered, as well, through a screen to remove additional pulp.
- Pasteurization: The juice is heated to protect from bacteria, yeast, and mold, and to retard spoilage.
Concentrated juice goes through an additional step that includes heat and vacuum pressure to force water out of the juice via evaporation. This makes storage and shipping more economical.
Though there’s nothing “wrong,” per se, with these processes, they do expose the food to heat and air. These can damage some of the nutrients, flavonoids, enzymes, and other beneficial plant chemicals in the juice so that by the time it reaches you, it is not as nutritious as it was to begin with.
Cold-pressed juice, on the other hand, is not as heavily processed. It is made with special machines that crush, pulverize, and press the fruits and vegetables to extract the juice. There are no spinning blades involved and no heat, which may result in a higher level of nutrients and enzymes in the final product.
It takes longer to cold-press juice, but the process is believed to produce a healthier product that contains more of the original nutrients.
Is Cold-Pressed Juice Better for You?
There are a few reasons why cold-pressed juice may be healthier for you than conventional juice.
1. Cold-pressed Juice Is Made with Less Heat
Heat can kill bacteria and other unwanted microbes, but it can also kill the natural digestive enzymes in the fruit as well as some of the antioxidants and nutrients. When you eat a piece of whole fruit or a whole vegetable, you enjoy all the nutrients inside that food, and you may also digest it more easily because of the enzymes present.
The more heat that’s applied during the juicing process, however, the fewer enzymes and nutrients survive. In a 2013 study, researchers stated that food contains many heat-sensitive nutrients and that the processes manufacturers use to create their finished products are often detrimental to these nutrients.
Cold-pressed juice is exposed to much less heat than conventional juice, so more of the original enzymes and nutrients are likely to survive.
2. Cold-pressed Juice is Exposed to Less Air
Think about what happens to an apple after you’ve cut it into slices and left it on the counter. It begins to turn brown. That’s because exposing the inner fruit to the air makes it vulnerable to potentially damaging oxidizing elements that react with the amino acids in the fruit to produce those brown colors you see.
Those damaging oxidants not only change the color of the fruit but can also damage the enzymes and nutrients inside it. Conventional juice processing methods expose the food to the air and oxidative damage. Cold-press processes are much more air-tight, and therefore may help preserve more of the healthy compounds in the fruits and vegetables.
3. Cold-Pressed Juice Tastes Better
Though opinions may vary, many people prefer the taste of cold-pressed juice to conventional juice, simply because it seems to be “fresher,” or perhaps “earthier” than regular juice.
How to Find the Best Cold-Pressed Juice
You may be wondering, based on this information, if you should drink more cold-pressed juice. You may indeed prefer it to conventional juice because of the taste and potential enzyme and nutrient content. Remember, however, that your best option is always to eat whole fruits and vegetables. These contain more fiber than fruit juices, which helps balance blood sugar levels while increasing satiety.
If you like juice, however, or need to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, a daily glass of cold-pressed juice may work well. Keep in mind that all juices contain a lot of sugar and calories.
- Make your own. This is by far the best option, as you can control which fruits and vegetables you use, and how much juice you extract at a time. Using more vegetables and fewer fruits will result in a lower-sugar juice. Choose from the many cold-pressed juicers that are now available on the market to extract the juice.
- Go organic. Research shows that organic produce is typically lower in pesticides and higher in antioxidants than conventionally grown produce.
- Watch out for additives. Both conventional and cold-pressed juices may contain additives like sugar or preservatives. Check the ingredient list and choose products that contain nothing but organic fruits and vegetables.
- Check the calorie count. Because cold-pressed juice is nutritionally dense, it may contain more calories than regular juice. Check the nutrition facts on the back of the bottle—one bottle may contain two servings. Adjust how much you drink accordingly.
- Look for an expiration date. Most cold-pressed juices contain no preservatives, which means they will not last long on the shelf. Check the best-before or expiration date to be sure yours is still fresh.
Cold-pressed juice has several benefits over processed juice, so if you’re trying to consume a healthier diet rich in vitamins and minerals, cold-pressed juice can help you achieve your dietary goals.