Ask a Best Doctor: Is Green Juice Worth It?

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Photo: Organic Avenue

Q: Well, spring is officially here: All the self-righteous green-juice drinkers who frequent the yoga store on my block are out in full force. While the idea of all these weird juices sort of grosses me out, and I like to think I'm being healthy simply by exercising regularly and following a balanced diet, I can't help but wonder if they're actually good for you. Would I be seriously giving myself some sort of health advantage by blending some kale and lettuce and downing it?

A: Jennifer Kent, Mt. Sinai Internist

Think of it this way: If you're eating what's in that juice regularly anyway, you definitely don't need the juice. "There's no real data to show it's any better than just eating fruits and vegetables," Kent says, "and some people feel it's actually less healthy, especially when the juice is made in a store." That's because a green "juice" — i.e., made to be a thinner liquid which resembles juice more than a green, pulpy mess — lacks a great deal of the healthy fiber in vegetables, while often adding a bunch of sugar from the fruit juice (often apple) added to make a green juice palatable. If you're not planning on downing a bowl of kale anytime soon, Kent says, a green juice is fine: just try making it with an at-home juicer, which will likely allow you to adjust the amount of fiber you keep. (Added bonus: You'll know it's clean and bacteria-free from use to use.)   

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