A-list celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Moore advocate its improved nutritional profile and health benefits. Closer home, Alia Bhatt and Jacqueline Fernandes are big fans. No wonder that cold-pressed juices are all the rage. They may be more expensive, but the high-pressure pasteurised juices seem to be finding plenty of takers among the health and fitness conscious. But are cold-pressed juices better for you than their conventional counterparts?
What is cold-pressed juice?
Traditional juice blenders are centrifugal; relying on fast-spinning blades to rip apart fruits and vegetables to create juice. This process exposes the produce to oxygen and heat and can degrade vitamins and phytochemicals, the good things in a glass of juice. A cold-press juicer crushes and squeezes – kind of “masticates” – the produce, circumventing the extra oxygen and heat that kills nutrients. The juice then undergoes high pressure processing – extremely high pressure is applied to every bottle of freshly squeezed juice. This “cold-pressed” juice is then sealed and must be refrigerated.
The latest health fad has become a multibillion-dollar industry. In the United States, companies like Whole Foods and Starbucks are riding the trend while in India, plenty of new players have jumped onto the bandwagon. These include Pressed Juicery, Antidote, Relish Nutrition, Juice Up and Raw Pressery.
With everyone touting the benefits of this “more-expensive-but-healthier juice” variant, we list down 7 facts you must know about cold-pressed juice:
1. Traditional pasteurised juices tend to be high in additives such as sugar and preservatives, which makes them unhealthy. Cold-pressed juice, on the other hand, tend to go without these additives.
2. Cold-pressed juice has a longer shelf life than unpasteurised juice, which is more susceptible to contamination by bacteria and yeast.
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3. Proponents of cold-pressed juice may claim that the minimal heat and air exposure ensure that cold-pressed juices contain more vitamins, minerals and enzymes, but this claim isn’t backed by ample research.
4. In certain cases such as red tomatoes, the heatless technology may not be a good thing because the heat is what converts lycopene’s trans-isomers into cis-lycopenes that are better absorbed by your gut.
5. Cold-pressed juice is touted as containing more fiber than the regular variety, but research at Ohio State University shows that the fiber may sequester some compounds and prevent certain nutrients from being absorbed.
6. Research has shown that the levels of nutrients and phytochemicals in juice is highly dependent on the quality of the produce. The growth cycle, harvesting time and freshness is far more relevant than the process of juicing.
7. The levels of nutrients in juice change depending on the juicing method you choose. However, because there’s very little research on cold-pressing, it’s impossible to know if it will give you the best nutrient absorption as compared to other types of juicing methods. It’s also unclear whether absorbing those nutrients will make you that much healthier, since again, there is no research. Which is why it can’t be said that that cold-pressed juices are actually better for you.
What experts say
- A glass of juice – whether cold pressed or regular – doesn’t create the feeling of satiation that a fruit – full of fiber – can. You end up adding juice to your normal food intake and increase the calorie count.
- A fruit may be low in calories when compared to many other foods, but is high in sugar. A glass of juice usually contains four or five pieces of fruit and has the sugar content of all the fruits.
- Cambridge University research recommends that the advice that a glass counts towards the recommended minimum five-a-day servings of fruit and vegetables should be changed.
- If you choose to opt for cold-pressed juices, they cannot and should not replace whole fruits and vegetables in your diet. Juice of any kind doesn’t work as a quick-fix solution to unhealthy eating patterns.
There’s not enough scientific backing as yet that splurging on a cold-press juicer may benefit your health. Instead, opt for the piece of fresh fruit or vegetable. It’s minimally processed, in its natural form and has plenty of fiber.
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