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Daily Juice; Toxic Plants?.

Q Is it healthy to drink juice every day?

A Juice can contribute to an overall healthy diet, but not all juice is created equal. The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) specifies that individuals should choose 100% vegetable or fruit juice, without added sugars. One cup of 100% juice provides at least one serving of fruits or vegetables and can help meet the recommended intake of 4[1/2] total cups of fruits and vegetables per day. According to a recent report by the Produce for Better Health Foundation, adult intake of 100% juice is less than 1/3 cup daily, which is lower than the DGA recommended daily limit of one cup. This report also states that juice-drinkers eat more whole fruit and have higher quality diets (with more fiber) compared with non-juice-drinkers. Drinking juice in excess can lead to consuming extra calories, however, evidence suggests that simply drinking moderate amounts of 100% juice is not linked to obesity or being overweight in adults. Juice has less dietary fiber than whole fruits or vegetables, but like other forms of fruits and vegetables, 100% juice can be a part of a healthful eating plan.

Q Are certain types of plants and grains toxic?

A Diets containing whole grains and beans are frequently recommended to help meet nutrient needs and may help reduce risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Varieties of whole grains and beans are regularly consumed by those who live the longest, yet recent news has highlighted these foods as 'toxic', or containing 'anti-nutrients.' How can this be?

Raw beans and grains contain proteins called lectins that are part of the plants' defense system. These compounds are toxic and can cause serious gastrointestinal distress--or worse--if consumed. For example, phytohemagglutinin, a type of lectin found in uncooked red kidney beans, can cause severe vomiting, and it only takes the consumption of a few uncooked beans.

This sounds dangerous, but rest assured, it is absolutely safe to eat beans and whole grains. Most of the lectin is removed from beans and grains simply by cooking or sprouting them. Cooking red kidney beans eliminates more than 99% of lectins. Beans provide significant amounts of key nutrients and fiber and there's no reason to avoid them. If you think beans may be causing you gastrointestinal distress, consider trying other varieties, chewing them more thoroughly, or cooking them with kombu, a type of seaweed that helps to break down some components of beans so they are more easily digested.

[c] AlexRaths | Getty Images

Caption: 100% juice is one way to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Author:Ellis, Esther; Ruscigno, Matt
Publication:Environmental Nutrition
Date:Sep 1, 2018
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