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  • Fruit vs Juice - What Is Better For You?

    Fruit vs Juice - What Is Better For You?

    In a world where convenience often takes precedence, the allure of a refreshing glass of fruit juice is hard to resist. But is it a worthy substitute for its fibrous, wholesome counterpart, the whole fruit? We are here to make it simple for you and help empower you to make better dietary choices.     

    Fruits are good for our health, and incorporating fruits into our diet can potentially help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. Juicing, a process that allows one to extract nutritious juices from fresh fruits, has recently become very popular. Specifically, juicing diets have become increasingly popular. Perhaps you might have heard about one yourself. Some experts claim that juicing can improve nutrient absorption, help detox, etc. But what does Ayurveda say about fruit juices? Is it healthy?  How does it affect our doshas? Stop wondering; let us help break these questions down for you and provide you with ‘easy-to-do' solutions. 

    Importance of fruits and juices

    • Health and Nutrition: Fresh juice is an excellent way to maintain the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy body. If people consume fresh fruit juice daily and a healthy diet of plant-based foods, they can potentially enhance their overall health. Consuming fruits and their juices help with improving body’s hydration, the prevention or treatment of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, nervous, and metabolic diseases. Apart from these, fruits promote body’s energy balance as well.1 
    • Immune system2: Fruit consumption help with protecting and improving your immunity. Citrus fruits contain phytochemicals that can protect your health, with an endless supply of vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium. Fruits like watermelon have the highest levels of lycopene, which can potentially reduce respiratory inflammation. Carpaine present in papaya helps in bringing the human heart rate down and helps in reducing blood pressure. Strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, blueberries, etc., are very nutritious in nature. They contain the highest number of antioxidants and help improve immunity. Pineapple is enriched with vitamin C which helps in boosting the immune system. 
    • Helps with depression3: Research shows that high intake of fruits like berries, citrus fruits etc., may help promote higher levels of optimism and self-efficacy. It may also reduce the level of psychological distress, ambiguity, and cancer fatalism, and prevent depressive symptoms. 

    Ayurveda’s take on drinking fruit juices 

    Ayurveda classifies fruits on the basis of rasa (taste). For example, sour fruit, sweet fruit, bitter fruit etc. These fruits are major sources of fibers, nutrients, and minerals, which help to repair damaged cells in the body4.  

    According to the Ayurvedic texts, there are multiple ways in which we can process fruits and herbs for therapeutic and medicinal purposes. One of the ways to process it is juicing, known as swarasa (extracted juice). According to Ayurveda, swarasa is the juice extracted from fresh fruits and herbs for specific healing, therapeutic, and medicinal purposes.  

    Traditionally, the juice is extracted by cutting the plants into smaller pieces, pounding them to form pulp, and squeezing them through a cloth to extract the juice.  

    Swarasa is the most potent form of a fruit or herb extract. It is a pure plant extract containing all the natural constituents without any sort of adulteration.5  

    Things to keep in mind when having juices 

    Fruits have been a part of the human diet since the earliest time and Ayurveda describes ahara (diet) as the best preventive medicine and management of many diseases. Acharya Charaka had classified the ahara in twelve major varga (classes) depending upon their forms, one of which is phala-varga. According to Ayurvedic experts, the food with sweet taste shall be taken in the beginning followed by sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Thus, fruits should be taken in the beginning followed by other food products6

    Consuming fruit juices may seem an ideal option for people who are in a hurry as a way to gulp down the vital nutrients that are necessary for our overall well-being. However, chewing and mindfulness are important for proper digestion.  

    Numerous fruit juices have long been used and advocated for use in traditional medicine as an anti-infective agent. These fruit juices' bioactive polyphenolic components provide for the bioavailability and mineral retention of several minerals. These fruit juices are superior alternatives to the available antibiotics because they are not only more affordable but also have no side effects. For instance, the fruit juices of wild apples and gooseberries have a strong potential to be suggested as an excellent natural product because of their activity against enteric, gastric, respiratory, urinary, and skin germs.7 

    Apart from this, brahmi and guduchi fresh juice extracts exhibit strong antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties. Therefore, in therapeutic applications, these fresh juice extracts can be employed as a dietary herb.8 

    Even though the nutrients derived from fruits and vegetables are absolutely beneficial for our health, consuming fruit juices or fruits altogether, may or may not be appropriate for people based on their physical constitution. Therefore, a person must consider their doshas before having fruit juices. 

    Pitta dosha: Favor fruits like apples (sweet), apricots (sweet), avocado, berries (sweet), cherries (sweet), coconut, dates, figs, grapes (red & purple), mangoes (ripe), melons, oranges (sweet), papaya, pears, pineapple (sweet), plums (sweet), pomegranates, prunes, strawberries, and watermelon.13 

    Vata dosha: Consume apples (sweet), apricots, avocado, berries (sweet), cherries (sweet), coconut, dates, bananas, mangoes, oranges, papaya, peaches, pineapple, plums, prunes (soaked), raisins (soaked), rhubarb, strawberries, tamarind, kiwi, melons, lemons, and limes. 13 

    Kapha dosha: Favor astringent fruit like apples, applesauce, apricots, berries, cherries, cranberries, figs(dry), grapes, lemons, limes, peaches, pears, persimmons, pomegranates, prunes, raisins, and strawberries. 13 

    Please consult an Ayurvedic doctor or practitioner before incorporating these fruits in your diet. Specific adjustments for individual requirements may need to be made, e.g., food allergies, strength of agni, degree of dosha predominance, or aggravation. 

    There are a few aspects that a person must keep in mind as far as food combinations, according to Ayurveda, are concerned. One of which is whether the food is sanskaar viruddh (processing incompatibility)5. One should never prepare or consume any food or drink with two ingredients whose natures are not complementary. This incompatibility can be addressed at the time of cooking or preparing any meal or drink. Avoid taking sour fruits with milk. Also avoid eating sweet fruits and sour fruits together in a salad. Instead eat them individually in a separate meal.9 

    Fruit vs. juice 

    Research says that consuming 100% fruit juice was linked to higher nutrient intake and better diet quality. Although, consuming whole fruit equivalents instead of 100% fruit juice had little to no effect on nutrients other than dietary fiber.10 Fresh juice consumers consumed significantly more calcium, magnesium, potassium, thiamin, folate, vitamins B6, C, and D, as well as beta-cryptoxanthin. Today, many of these nutrients are not being consumed enough.  As a result, both children and adults need to be encouraged to eat foods that contain these nutrients. 

    Additionally, people tend to feel full when they eat whole fruit, compared to its juice equivalent12. However, replacement of 100% fruit juice with whole fruit had no effect on nutrient intake, except for a small increase in dietary fiber intake.10 

    Consumption of fruits overall, have benefits that are manifold . By including fruits in your daily diet, you are not only protecting yourself from wrinkling of skin, hair-fall, and memory loss but also from major ailments like age-related macular degeneration (AMRD) of the retina in the eyes, Alzheimer’s disease, colon cancers, and weak bones.11 

    Conclusion 

    Juicing is a fantastic way to add a variety of fruits to our diet. Juicing may seem perfect for the lifestyle of the person on the run and a way to gulp down the needed nutrients. However, chewing and mindfulness are important to help kick-start proper digestion. Fresh juices offer vital vitamins and antioxidants that can benefit our health. However, fruits are the healthiest and more nutritious when consumed whole. 

    References

    1. (PDF) Growing Importance of Fruits and Vegetables in Human Health (researchgate.net)
    2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342916840_Importance_of_Fruits_and_Vegetables_in_Boosting_our_Immune_System_amid_the_COVID19
    3. Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Mental Health in Adults: A Systematic Review - PMC (nih.gov)
    4. (PDF) Pharmacological Activities Of Phala-Varga (Medicinal Fruits) – An Ayurvedic Review (researchgate.net)
    5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317617676_Unique_methods_of_Swarasa_Juice_extraction_in_Ayurveda
    6. https://www.carakasamhitaonline.com/index.php?title=Ahara_vidhi
    7. (PDF) Evaluation of the antimicrobial activity of Gooseberry and Wild Apple fruit juices of the northeast region of India (researchgate.net)
    8. (PDF) Immunomodulatory and antioxidant activities of fresh juice extracts of Brahmi and Guduchi (researchgate.net)
    9. (PDF) Viruddha ahara-Incompatible foods in Ayurveda (researchgate.net)
    10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6836193/#:~:text=In%20the%20present%20analysis%20of%20NHANES%202013%E2%80%932016%20using,except%20for%20a%20small%20increase%20in%20dietary%20fiber.
    11. 1492577950.pdf (wjpr.s3.ap-south-1.amazonaws.com)
    12. https://www.news-medical.net/health/Differences-Between-Natural-Whole-Fruit-and-Natural-Fruit-Juice.aspx
    13. https://www.ayurveda.com/food-guidelines/ 

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