Juices are a popular way to eat fruits and vegetables without actually eating whole fruits and vegetables.

But they’re also controversial, as Eat This Not That has noted. Depending on the product, juices can either be nutritious with significant amounts of vitamins and minerals, or they can be full of sugar.

So what are the healthiest juices? And is it better to simply eat whole fruit?

Is it good to drink juice?

When compared to eating whole fruits and vegetables, juice is not any healthier, according to the Mayo Clinic.

But drinking juice can be the the right move if you wouldn’t consume a particular fruit or vegetable any other way.

Healthline reports that you should keep these factors in mind when making or buying juice:

  • Fiber: Fruit juice contains less fiber than the whole fruit because fruit flesh or skin holds fiber. “Without fiber, sugar can easily enter your blood and lead to a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin,” per Healthline.
  • Sugar: Fruit has sugar regardless of if it’s juiced or not. But the added sugars put into some juices can contribute to a higher risk of obesity and heart disease — by a small amount. Although juice is a healthier alternative to sodas and energy drinks, health experts advise that you watch out for juices with added sugars.
  • Moderation: If you want to drink juice, Healthline recommends drinking 100% real fruit juice and not drinking more than 1-2 cups (240–480 milliliters) per day.
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Mayo Clinic reported that blending the whole fruits and vegetables “produces a drink with more healthy plant chemicals and fiber” than juicing them. However, if you’re trying to avoid eating too much fiber, then juicing may be more appropriate.

5 of the healthiest juices

1. Açaí berry

While research is limited, Açaí juice has been found to offer some benefits.

Açaí juice holds a ton of antioxidants — such as chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid and flavonoids — that are associated with a lower risk of mental decline and heart disease, per Healthline.

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In addition, the berries may increase good cholesterol, or HDL, and lower bad cholesterol, or LDL, according to WebMD.

2. Beet

Also called beetroot juice, beet juice contains a significant amount of nitrates that help to improve blood flow, according to WebMD.

Healthline reported that beets hold betalains, or pigments that give them their red color. Betalains act as antioxidants and could potentially lower the risk of certain types of cancer.

3. Cranberry

Cranberry juice is associated with promoting digestive health, supporting heart health and fighting off certain viruses and bacteria, per Medical News Today.

Through research has been mixed, cranberry juice may even shield against urinary tract infections, per Healthline.

4. Grapefruit

Grapefruit juice contains a good amount of disease-fighting antioxidants. Plus, one cup of grapefruit juice has 96% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, according to Healthline.

  • Caution: While the FDA acknowledges that they can be part of a healthy diet, grapefruits can interfere with some prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Some examples of affected drugs include Lipitor (to lower cholesterol), Cordarone (for irregular heart rhythms) and Allegra (for allergy symptoms).
5. Tomato

When it’s low in sodium, tomato juice can be a healthy option. Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene — an antioxidant and carotenoid that may lower the risk of a stroke and heart disease, per Healthline.

Tomato juice may even help with blood pressure. A recent study published to the Food Science & Nutrition journal, found that participants who regularly drank unsalted tomato juice for a year had lower blood pressure levels, reported Medical News Today.

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