As beverages go, juice is one of the most controversial. Is it healthy since it's made of fruit? Or is it bad for you since it's full of sugar? The answer: it depends on the juice brand. Though some fruity beverages that go by the name juice are little more than sugar water, others have a lot to offer for health. Many supply ample amounts of nutrients like vitamins A, C, and D, potassium, and zinc—some of which are lacking in the typical Western diet.
According to the USDA's MyPlate dietary guidance for Americans, one cup of 100% fruit juice counts as a serving of fruit. Choosing 100% juice is a great starting point for health, but there are other ways to ensure you're making a smart beverage choice. Here, we've got all the juicy details on how to spot a healthy juice, plus dietitians' 10 favorite brands.
How to pick a healthy juice:
- Check vitamins and minerals: Some juices supply more micronutrients than others. Scan the nutrition facts label—a healthy juice should contain high levels of at least one vitamin or mineral.
- Choose juice, not juice cocktail: The word "cocktail" is a sure sign a beverage isn't 100% juice. Drinks like cranberry juice cocktail may be tasty, but they're likely made only partly with fruit.
- Look for added sugar: One hundred percent juice is just that. The healthiest juices have no added sugars.
The 10 healthiest juices on grocery shelves
These following healthy juices are dietitian-approved for their nutrient density and health benefits.
Suja Mighty Dozen
Sometimes when life gets busy, you don't have the chance to eat your greens. Suja's Mighty Dozen juice lets you drink them instead! "I love the Mighty Dozen, as it contains no added sugars and is filled with nutrient-dense, gut-loving ingredients like spirulina, chlorella, and ginger," says Julie Balsamo, MS, RDN, of Nutrition By Julie. There are other bonuses to this green juice, too. Suja is a great healthy juice brand because "Suja juices are all organic and cold pressed which means they maintain a higher concentration of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals," Balsamo says.
Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice
Packing 60 cherries into each 8-ounce bottle, Cheribundi's tart cherry juice offers multiple health benefits. "It's a delicious way to reduce inflammation, boost recovery, and support immune function with its rich antioxidant content," says Katie Schimmelpfennig, RD, founder of Eat Swim Win. "If you're active, drinking tart cherry juice before bedtime can enhance your training, and the natural melatonin in the juice can promote better sleep." Pucker up!
POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
Again, the healthiest juices supply plenty of vitamins and minerals. POM Wonderful's 100% pomegranate juice is a rockstar for potassium. '[This juice] has as much potassium as a banana," points out Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RD, owner of Bucket List Tummy and consultant with POM Wonderful. "It also has no added sugars and 700 milligrams of polyphenol antioxidants in every 8 ounces, which can help fight free radicals."
Beet It Sport
When you think "juice," you might not always think of beets—but Beet It Sport is here to change your mind. Drinking your root veggies has particular potential for athletic performance. "This tasty beetroot juice contains the recommended amount of nitrates recommended for performance enhancement," says Schimmelpfenning. "Beet juice can improve endurance and stamina! It's also a great source of potassium."
Bolthouse Farms Daily Greens
For a healthy mix of fruits and veggies in a single bottle, check out Bolthouse Farms Daily Greens. Apple, cucumber, kiwi, celery, kale, and spinach are just a few of its ingredients. "With its blend of fruits and vegetables, Bolthouse Farms Daily Green juice packs a punch with many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants," says Kayley George, MS, RD, LD.
Santa Cruz Organic Red Tart Cherry Juice
Another tart cherry contender comes from the California-based Santa Cruz organic juice company, one of our dietitian's favorite juice brands. "Made with organic ingredients, this brand balances the sour flavor of tart cherries with a mellow hint of apple juice. Again, the natural melatonin content of tart cherries has been linked with preventing insomnia," says Tiffany Lankford, MS, RD, LD. "Before you slip into dreamland, treat yourself to a sip of this zesty and sleep-enhancing tart cherry elixir!"
Sunsweet Amaz!n Prune Juice
"I am a huge fan of Sunsweet Amaz!n prune juice that provides a natural source of 4 grams of fiber, which can help to maintain your digestive health and help you feel good," says dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet and nutrition spokesperson for Sunsweet Growers. She points out that this juice also provides five essential vitamins and minerals and contains no added sugar. Drink it solo or try a splash in smoothies.
Natalie's Pineapple Kale Zinc Juice
Who knew pineapple and kale were a match made in flavor heaven? This fruit and veggie blend not only boasts a unique tropical flavor, but is naturally sweet with no added sugar. It's also super high in zinc, with 45% of your daily needs in 8 ounces. "In addition, it is a great source of calcium and vitamin D for strong bones and healthy teeth," says Sheri Berger, RDN, CDCES, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant for Consumer Health Digest.
V-8 Low Sodium Vegetable Juice
If you're looking for something low-calorie, it's hard to beat the mere 45 calories in an 8-ounce serving of V-8's Low Sodium Vegetable Juice. And since veggie juice also counts as a serving of vegetables, you can feel good about drinking up. "I love [this] juice for a savory option. It's an easy way to get in an extra two servings of veggies, and is chock-full of potassium!" says Chelsea Newbrough, RDN and founder of The Candid Carrot.
Ocean Spray Pure Cranberry Juice
Looks can be deceiving! When purchasing cranberry juice, always check that it's 100% juice. (Many brands sneak in added sugars to cut down on tartness.) One option you can count on: Ocean Spray pure cranberry juice. "It has no added sugar, which is super important to look for when picking out a juice, and cranberry juice has been shown to reduce the risk of UTIs in women," Newbrough says.