Fruit juice is made by pureeing, blending, mashing, and then straining fruits. The resulting juice is flavorful, sweet (sometimes tangy), and full of essential nutrients from the fruits.
Juicing fruit is a great way to get a lot of vitamins and minerals, as it does usually take a lot of fruit to yield a cup of fruit.
For instance, it may take 3-4 oranges to make one cup of freshly squeezed orange juice; it would be harder to eat those fresh fruits, but likely much easier to drink the juice! That same cup of freshly squeezed juice has about 125 milligrams of Vitamin C, which is more than you need in an entire day, even when pregnant (Source: Nutrition Data).
However, the same juice is missing one major ingredient; fiber. Drinking fruit juice is a great way to get nutrients, but it significantly reduces the fiber content.
Fiber is crucial for regulating bowel movements, preventing constipation, lowering cholesterol, and maintaining blood sugar control. When fruits are juiced, their nutritious and beneficial fibers are removed.
This results in higher and quicker blood sugar spikes, as fiber helps to maintain blood sugar control. It also can result in a blood sugar drop when the juice is metabolized.
Another important aspect of juicing fruit is that pregnant women should not consume fresh juice unless it’s boiled for one minute prior to consumption. Fresh juice is not pasteurized, which means the risk for foodborne illness is present, including listeria and toxoplasmosis (Source: Food Safety). This includes ciders, which are popular in the fall.
If you do enjoy drinking fresh fruit juice (and most pregnant women do), there are a few that, when consumed in moderation, maybe more nutritious and beneficial than others. Here are the best fruit juice choices during pregnancy:
1. Tomato Juice
Tomato juice and orange juice have both been studied for their positive ability to increase cognition in infants. One study showed that increased maternal and infantile levels of lycopene and increased calcium were directly associated with increased cognition, memory, and better learning ability (Source: Lancet).
Tomato juice could be enjoyed as an alcohol-free Bloody Mary, a popular morning cocktail. It could also be added to soups like lentil soup or vegetable soup, which would actually help to increase the lycopene availability; cooking tomatoes make this antioxidant more readily available for metabolism.
It’s low in sugar, making it a great juice to consume without worry for excessive blood sugar spikes. It’s also an excellent source of potassium, Vitamin C, folate, Vitamin A, and magnesium (Source: Nutrition Data).
2. Orange Juice
Orange juice can be drunk on its own or added to smoothies. Although you might need to be mindful of serving size, especially if you have gestational diabetes since a serving of orange juice is 4 ounces, or ½ cup, and from this you are already getting 10.4g of sugar.
Despite the high sugar content, orange juice is still a great option when you are looking for healthy juices for pregnancy.
A serving already contains more than 100% of your recommended vitamin C, it has very high iron and folate content which both are essential for pregnancy, and potassium content that helps with the regulation of your blood pressure (Source: Nutrition Data).
3. Cranberry Juice
Another juice that could be beneficial during pregnancy is unsweetened cranberry juice (not cranberry juice cocktail).
Cranberries have been used for many years to help naturally fight urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTIs can become more common during pregnancy, and are not only incredibly uncomfortable and painful, but can lead to more serious diseases and complications.
Research shows that almost 10% of pregnant women will experience UTI, and treatment for pregnant women is different because certain medications are not safe for consumption during pregnancy. (CDC)
Compounds in cranberry juice can help to prevent colonization and growth of E.coli, which is the most common bacterial strain responsible for the development of UTIs. (NCBI)
There is no standard dosage of cranberry juice for UTI prevention, but pure, unsweetened cranberry juice is best. This can be very bitter, and sometimes less than pleasant to drink. However, sweetening with sugar-free liquid sweetener could be an option. Or, it could be added to a smoothie for its antibacterial properties.
Cranberry juice does contain Vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting. If you are taking blood thinners, drinking cranberry juice in moderation is best. Check with your medical professional to confirm that it would be safe for you to add it to your pregnancy diet.
4. Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice is another example of a fruit juice that can be beneficial to pregnant women.
Studies show that intake of pomegranate juice can help in decreasing the risk of problems with the placenta during pregnancy by decreasing oxidative stress to the placental tissues. This is because it is high in antioxidants (Source: AmericanJournalofPhysiology).
Some studies also suggest that maternal intake of pomegranate juice has a positive effect on babies suffering from intrauterine growth restriction as it acts as a “neuroprotectant”, meaning it can help with the recovery of the nervous system and its functions (Source: ScientificReports).
Not to mention that it is naturally high in vitamins E and K, and magnesium. As it is high in antioxidants it can also decrease the risks of cancers. For more on pomegranate during pregnancy, read our dedicated article here.
5. Beetroot Juice
According to studies, anemia during pregnancy affects 56 million women globally, approximately 42% (Source: ClinicalObstetricsandGynecology). In 80% of the globe, more than 20% of pregnant women are anemic (Source: Souce: OmanMedicalJournal).
In a study done in Indonesia, pregnant women who were slightly anemic were given 250ml of beetroot juice with iron supplementation. This increased iron absorption significantly (Source: JMCH).
Not only does it help with anemia, there are also studies that suggest beetroot juice also helps in the management and prevention of hypertension, which in pregnancy can lead to preeclampsia (Source: ClevelandClinic, NitritcOxide).
Besides the previously discussed health benefits, beetroot juice is also high in vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber (Source: Nutritionix). Want to learn more about beets during pregnancy, including eating them? Check out our pregnancy beetroot article here.
6. Lemon Juice
As you’ll probably know, citrus fruits such as lemons have high content of antioxidants and source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for you and your growing baby as your needs increase during pregnancy. It helps with immunity, production of collagen for the tissues and muscles of your baby, and the absorption of iron in your diet.
One study suggested that drinking a glass of water with lemon juice with iron supplementation increases the absorption of iron, compared to iron supplementation that was taken with only water (Source: JournalsofNursingPractice).
In another study, lemon juice was added to green tea to test for its effectiveness in fighting off E. coli strains from different patients. E. coli, as discussed above, is a common bacteria that cause UTIs.
It was suggested that the addition of lemon juice to green tea increased its effectiveness against E. coli strains (Source: InternationalJournalofInnovationandAppliedStudies).
Not only that, lemon has also shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure. According to a study done in India, taking 10 ml of lemon juice diluted in 250 ml of warm water in the morning can be an effective way to reduce blood pressure level(Source: IndianJournals).
Finally, unlike other juices listed here, you might only need a small amount of lemon to get the nutritional benefits of lemon juice since it’s usually diluted with water. This also makes it a low calorie option. If you want to learn how to drink lemon water during pregnancy, see our guide here.
7. Carrot Juice
Carrot juice is another great juice to drink during pregnancy. It is loaded with vitamins such as vitamins A, C, B6, K, and thiamin. It’s a great way of ‘drinking your veggies’, especially if you don’t feel like eating much.
Antimicrobial properties of carrots are being studied and results show that, for pregnant patients suffering from UTIs with different bacterial causes such as E. coli, streptococci, and others, 78.43% of women recovered by drinking 200 ml of carrot juice three times a day.
The study concluded that carrots can be used for pregnant women in their early stages of pregnancy suffering from UTIs if other medications could not be given during pregnancy (Source: IASJ).
Another component of carrots is beta-carotene which has shown to potentially decrease the risks of some cancers. It is also considered to be one of the most important carcinopreventive agents.
However, in 2006, one brand of carrot juice caused an international outbreak of botulism. Carrot juice, even if pasteurized, still needs to be refrigerated to prevent this, and other bacterial growth (Source: ClinicalInfectiousDiseases).
I hope you enjoy this list of fruit juices for you to try during pregnancy. For more fiber, try smoothies as well – and you can always mix up your drinks when you get bored of one thing. For some inspiration, check out our drinks pregnancy women can enjoy, besides water.