What Is Green Juice?

We’re all trying to be healthy. Well, maybe not all the time. For example, I just had a cold slice of Domino’s pizza for breakfast. But generally speaking, we want to eat healthy even though it can be hard. In recent years, green juice has come along to help us in that journey. But what is green juice? What’s in it? Is it really as healthy as they say? Let’s press out some answers. 

What is green juice?

Green juice is, of course, a juice that is green. So, like, lime juice is technically green juice, right? Or what about Mountain Dew, that’s sort of juice-like, right? Does that count? 

No, it doesn’t. In common parlance, when we refer to “green juice” we’re talking about a kind of healthy smoothie or juice full of vegetables and high in nutrients. While the initial association with green juice might have been urban elite, yoga-doing types, this beverage has gained a lot of steam in recent years. In fact, green juice has become so popular that there’s even one of those hyperspecific, made-up holidays honoring it: You can celebrate National Green Juice Day every January 26th. 

What’s in green juice?

There’s no one set recipe for green juice, and the exact ingredients can vary fairly widely. The advantage to making green juice for yourself, of course, is that you can know exactly what’s going in it. 

Typically, some superfood greens like kale, spinach, swiss chard, and wheatgrass will make an appearance in a green juice. Cucumber, mint, and celery are also common additions. As most of these ingredients are quite bitter or earthy in flavor, some fruits (like lemon and apple) are often added for sweetness. 

Keep in mind that because the ingredients in green juice vary so much, you’ll want to keep an eye on the label if you’re buying a pre-made green juice option. These can be much lower in fruit and vegetable pulp and higher in sugar, meaning they may be less healthy than you might assume.

For example, Suja’s Green Delight has the following ingredient list: “Organic Apple Juice, Organic Banana Puree, Organic Mango Puree, Organic Lemon Juice, Organic Kale Juice, Organic Spinach Juice, Organic Spirulina Powder, Organic Chlorella Powder, Organic Barley Grass Powder.” Note the large amount of fruit juice. 

Conversely, Suja’s Uber Greens contains “Organic Cucumber Juice, Organic Celery Juice, Organic Grapefruit Juice, Organic Green Chard Juice, Organic Green Leaf Lettuce Juice, Organic Lemon Juice, Organic Kale Juice, Organic Spinach Juice, Organic Parsley Juice, Organic Mint Tea (Purified Water, Organic Peppermint Tea Leaf, Organic Spearmint Tea Leaf).” Same brand, but two very different green juices!

What is green juice good for?

When you throw a bunch of vegetables and fruits in a blender and drink them, you’re getting the benefits of these nutrient-rich foods. That’s pretty clear. And green, leafy vegetables have a bunch of health benefits, as do fresh fruits. Some of these include heart health, immune function, anti-inflammation, digestion, and cognitive health. Basically, fruits and veggies are good for you, and if you grind them up and drink them, it’s an easy way to get them into your diet.

Beyond this, some of the health claims that have been made about green juice are harder to verify. If you’re using green juice powder mixes, they may be full of supplements and added nutrients. While there may be some benefits to these, it’s not always the best idea to take such a concentrated dose all at the same time. After all, your body can only absorb so much of a nutrient at once, and in very high doses, some nutrients can have toxic effects. So, use good judgment when you’re drinking or purchasing green juice, and remember that doing it yourself is almost always going to be the best option, if not the most convenient. 

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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