Let your kids drink fresh juice

By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)

Recently there has been talk in the media surrounding fruit juice for children. These articles claim that 100% fruit juice is bad for children and that parents should not allow them to have it. It has been suggested by the media that juice holds no nutritional benefit to children and can lead to weight gain and tooth decay. The first point that should be raised here is not to believe everything you read in the media. Fresh juice offers an array of wonderful vitamins and minerals that can help to keep your child healthy and bursting with energy. Fresh juice is certainly better than giving your child cordial, soft drink, juice poppers or flavoured milks, which is all too common these days.

Juice is just pure sugar and is no different than soft drink, right? Wrong. They are not even comparable. Fruit and vegetable juices are jam packed full of nourishing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Soft drink on the other hand, is a sugar-packed, chemical concoction that can lead to excess weight gain, tooth decay and inflammation. Whilst it is true that juice contains naturally occurring sugar, it comes with an array of health benefits and should not be compared to a synthetically produced sugar beverage.

Research published in the Nutrition Journal 2011 showed that children who consumed 100% fruit juice had an overall improved quality of diet. No correlation between fruit juice consumption and weight gain was found in this study. The article stated “one hundred percent fruit juices are nutrient dense and are low in total fat, sodium… and are high in phytochemicals. They also contain a wide array of micronutrients, including vitamins A and C, folate, potassium and magnesium”.

A common argument against giving juice to children, is that the whole fruit should be fed to them instead. Whilst this is the ideal situation, some children refuse to eat fresh fruit and vegetables. The next best thing is to juice it up and give it them to drink! In no way are we suggesting that you use juice as a replacement for food in your child’s diet. It should be used along-side of their regular food intake, to ensure they are getting a good variety of nutrients.

Fresh juice is particularly beneficial when your child has the sniffles, or if a bug is going around. Vitamin C is essential for supporting a strong immune system and helping to ward off those nasty viruses. When your child is sick, juice is the quickest and easiest way to get concentrated vitamin C into their system. Fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C include: Kiwifruit, orange, broccoli, lemon, grapefruit, capsicum, tomato, pineapple, lime, berries, tangerine and spinach.

Don’t be afraid to give your child a fresh fruit or vegetable juice. Fresh juice can offer an array of health benefits to both you and your child- particularly in the colder months when germs seem to spread like wild fire. Dr Cabot’s book Raw Juices Can Save Your Life is a great reference for different therapeutic juice combinations for any ailment. From allergies, to colds and constipation- this book could help you.

O’Neil et al.: Diet quality is positively associated with 100% fruit juice consumption in children and adults in the United States: NHANES 2003-2006. Nutrition Journal 2011 10:17.

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