Immune Health: 100% Juice is a Pantry or Refrigerator Staple that Fills the Gap
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic consumers are paying more attention to their health and the health of their families than ever before. In fact, the International Food and Information Council (IFIC) reports that more than 25% of consumers say they are paying greater attention to the healthfulness of the food they are buying since the start of the pandemic. IFIC research also shows that improving and maintaining health are the top incentives for choosing nutrient-dense foods and beverages. But choosing the right foods isn’t as easy as people think. That’s where supermarket RDs come in.
“Retail dietitians can help consumers find foods and beverages that are right for them and are high in the vitamins and minerals needed for a strong immune system,” said Diane Welland, RD. “For example, fruits and vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes and oranges are high in vitamin C but many people don’t eat enough of them. Dietitians can recommend including a glass of 100% juice high in vitamin C to help fill in the gaps.”
In the same IFIC report cited above, over one in three consumers (36%) said that they would choose 100% juice to help them achieve their desired health outcomes. This can also be a great option for consumers who are at home more often and looking for more shelf stable, budget conscious choices at the store, while still maintaining a commitment to health for themselves and their families.
Vitamin C is only one of several healthy compounds found in 100% juices. In appropriate amounts, 100% juice may contain a number of nutrients that can aid in maintaining and supporting immunity. They are:
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for the normal function of the immune system. It promotes the production and protection of immune cells, reduces oxidative stress and enhances beneficial immune cell activities. Vitamin C can be found in orange, grapefruit, apple, grape, pineapple, cranberry, tomato, beet and berry juices.
- Potassium, folate and thiamin – The immune system is complex and highly integrated and therefore requires the participation of virtually every macro- and micronutrient to help support innate and acquired immunity functions. These three nutrients can be found in orange and grapefruit juice.
- Vitamin D - Vitamin D is known to enhance and regulate normal immune response, which helps the body protect against harmful bacteria and viruses. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin D is found in fortified 100% juices.
- Bioactives – These plant compounds are also known as phytonutrients or phytochemicals and can significantly benefit your health. For example, bioactives like lycopene and hesperidin can support cardiovascular and prostate health, while polyphenols are known for their antioxidant properties and may help to regulate or maintain brain health and body weight. Bioactives are found in all 100% juices and also provide juice with its unique color, taste, and smell.
As a pantry or refrigerator staple, 100% juice can be an effective way for shoppers to focus on immune health. In social media, videos and live segments, and media interviews, consider the following ways to promote 100% juice’s role in immune health.
- More than Just Breakfast – While many people associate juice with the breakfast meal, 100% juices are a perfect way to quench thirst throughout the day. Recommend juice to shoppers as a cool refreshing drink after a workout, as a pick-me-up during an afternoon meeting, or as part of an afterschool snack.
- Stretch Dollars – Retail RDs are looking for cost-saving tips to share with shoppers. Juice is a great way to extend bottled sauces and marinades. Suggest shoppers whisk grape juice or apple juice into smoky barbeque sauce, add pineapple juice to an Asian marinade, or mix orange juice into mojo marinade.
- Juice Adds Variety to Eating Habits – Many consumers are fatigued with the routine of meal and snack choices. Juice offers an ongoing assortment of taste–which can be enjoyed any time of year.
- Fosters Culinary Creativity – In addition to lightening up salad dressings and creating flavorful marinades and glazes, 100% juice can also be used in soups and stews, to make frozen treats like popsicles, slushies and frozen ice cubes, and can be a healthy substitute for liquids in baked goods recipes.
Visit SipSmarter.org to find dozens of tips, tricks and recipes using juice, along with scientific references and resources about the many vitamins and minerals found in 100% juices.