Juice fads come and go faster than they claim to help clear your system. From the celery juice craze to the year everyone bought at-home juicers, there's always some new juice cleanse to swear by. In a world of trends, only one juice stands the test of time: orange juice.
OJ has been with us all since what feels like forever—remember that perfectly-positioned glass that was "part of this complete breakfast" in childhood TV ads?
Besides being an absolute staple, the juice does have some health benefits. Many Americans struggle to get enough vitamin D, which fortified orange juice can help supplement. It's also correlated with bone strength and improved mood. Plus, perhaps most widely known, orange juice takes care of your vitamin C intake—one 8 ounce glass provides almost all of what you need for the day.
The only issue with juice? When fruit becomes juice it loses most of its fiber content, which in turn diminishes the nutritional value.
"I tend to prefer that people eat their fruit (an orange for example) rather than drink juice, as they will get more fiber and fewer calories," says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, a nutritionist in private practice and a member of our medical expert board.
The best-case scenario for orange juice
"In a perfect world, we would all squeeze our own juices at home," says Moskovitz. "But when you're short on time and need something nutritious and refreshing, store-bought is the next best thing."
So where should you actually begin, when buying orange juice in the store? Moskovitz points to a few variables to consider.
"First, make sure that the brand is easy for you to find," she begins. "Second, try to find a juice that is not from concentrate and has no added sugars. If you can also buy organic, that can keep out pesticides and improve the taste and quality. Finally, a juice that fits into your budget is key."
Young echoes that finding a juice with no added sugar is a priority, and adds that you should also steer clear of high-fructose corn syrup and "juice from concentrate" in order to find the most nutritious OJ.
The brand to buy at the store
When it comes to a specific brand of OJ to gravitate towards, Moskovitz offered a couple of helpful pointers. Her number one pick? Lakewood Organic Pure Orange Juice.
"With no added sweeteners or preservatives, Lakewood juice is fresh-pressed, organic and not from concentrate," says Moskovitz. "The bonus is that it comes in an environmentally-friendly glass bottle."
And, Moskovitz adds, if you can't find Lakewood Organic, Evolution Cold Pressed Pure Orange Juice is a solid second choice.
"Evolution juices are organic, and cold-pressed for optimal nutrient retention," she says. "If you're looking for an OJ that actually tastes like oranges, you won't be disappointed."
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