You know you should eat more vegetables, but the idea of preparing and eating 2-3 cups (the CDC’s daily recommendation) every day feels impossible.
Does this situation sound familiar?
If you’re struggling to meet your daily vegetable goal, you might wonder about drinking vegetable juice as an alternative to eating vegetables.
Is this a good option? Is vegetable juice as healthy as people make it seem?
Find out the truth here.
Vegetable Juice Pros and Cons
Like most health products, vegetable juice comes with both pros and cons.
It might seem like a nutritious choice initially. However, some potential downsides make it less beneficial.
Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of vegetable juice:
Pro: Vitamins and Minerals
One of the primary benefits of eating more vegetables is that they contain essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function.
Vegetable juices allow you to consume these nutrients quickly, making them an appealing option when you’re on the go (or if you just don’t like to eat vegetables).
Vegetables also provide a variety of beneficial antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and cell damage if left unchecked. They also help to combat inflammation and provide a variety of other health benefits, from supporting the immune system to improving your skin’s appearance.
Pro: Healthier Alternative to Sweets and Processed Food
Vegetable juice is a healthier option than many convenience foods you might turn to when dealing with a packed schedule. You’ll get more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from a bottle of juice than from a soda or a cookie, for example.
Choosing vegetable juice could be a good starting point if you’re looking for simple ways to make small, healthy choices.
Con: No Fiber
When you make vegetable juice, you produce liquid and leave a lot of solid matter behind (this is called the pulp, and most people throw it away). The problem with this is that, after removing the pulp, you’re drinking a high-sugar drink without any fiber to slow the digestive process.
When you eat a raw carrot, you get some sugar. You get fiber, too, which is essential for healthy digestion and feeling full after your meal. Fiber also contributes to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and better blood sugar regulation.
When you drink carrot juice, you’re getting very little (if any) fiber and a lot of plain sugar. The juice likely won’t be as satisfying as a serving of carrots would be, partly because the juice causes a quick blood sugar spike rather than providing sustained energy.
Con: Potential for Added Sugars & Problematic Ingredients
Many vegetable juices, especially bottled ones, contain added sugar, dyes, artificial flavors, and other problematic ingredients. If the goal behind drinking vegetable juice is to improve your health, consuming extra sugar and other additives isn’t ideal, is it?
Con: Weight Loss and Health Benefits Are Overhyped
Some people gravitate toward vegetable juice because they think it will help them lose weight. There are a few problems with this mindset.
First, a juice fast or a diet replacing meals with vegetable juice will likely cause weight loss because you’ll consume fewer calories. If you can’t sustain that diet long-term, though, juicing isn’t going to do much good.
Second, even if you do stick to a juice-centric diet long enough to reach your goal weight, you could be causing other health problems. For example, a lack of fiber in your diet could cause digestive issues. Is it worth it to lose weight by drinking vegetable juice if you don’t feel well?
Third, a diet composed primarily or entirely of vegetable juice is likely lacking in other essential nutrients. For example, you might not get enough protein or healthy fats, which can leave you feeling hungry, fatigued, and run down.
Alternatives to Vegetable Juice
Vegetable juice might not be as healthy as you thought. However, there are other ways to consume more vegetables even when you don’t have time to prepare and eat them.
The following are some more nutritious alternatives to consider:
One of the easiest ways to get the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants vegetables offer without any prep or cleanup is to take vegetable capsules.
Vegetable capsules contain compounds from a range of vegetables (and sometimes other foods like fruit and greens). You just have to swallow them like you would other supplements, and you’ll be on your way to meeting your daily nutrient goals.
A smoothie made with vegetables will likely be more nutritious than vegetable juice. Because the fiber is retained, you’ll find it to be more satisfying and won’t feel hangry 20 minutes later.
You don’t have to eat raw vegetables for them to count toward your daily total. You can include them in pasta or soup, for example.
Vegetable-based soups are beneficial because you can include many different vegetables in one dish, meaning you’ll get a variety of vitamins and minerals in a single serving. You can also put soup in a thermos and eat it for lunch or dinner while on the go.
Vegetable powders are mixed with water to create a type of green juice.
These powders can be better than regular vegetable juice because they still contain some fiber and provide you with a variety of micronutrients. They’re not meant to be a meal replacement, either, but rather a supplement to an already nutritious diet.
You Know the Truth About Vegetable Juice. Now What?
Will a bottle of vegetable juice every now and then hurt you? Absolutely not.
However, vegetable juices definitely aren’t the magic bullet some people have presented them to be.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get more vegetables in your diet, consider the options discussed above.
Veggie capsules like Nature’s Sustenance are a straightforward and nutrient-dense option. One serving contains over 20 fruits, vegetables, and greens to help you get all the micronutrients your body craves to feel its best!
Order your first bottle and give it a try today.