Many people grab a V8 juice as a way to add more vegetables to their diet. What are the health benefits of V8 juice? Is it really healthy?
If you’ve ever slapped yourself on the forehead because “you could have had a V8”, you may have wondered what you may have missed. V8 juice is often advertised as a quick way to get a few servings of vegetables without having to eat a bowl of broccoli or spinach. What are the health benefits of V8 juice? Is it a good choice?
What Veggies Does It Contain?
V8 juice now comes in a variety of forms V8 Splash and V8 Fusion drinks, but still the one that stands out in most people’s minds is the classic V8 vegetable drink. This drink contains the juice from a variety of vegetables – carrots, celery, watercress, parsley, spinach, lettuce, and beets. These vegetable juices make up only about thirteen percent of the drink with the remainder being tomato juice. It’s obvious that the majority of the juice found in a glass of classic V8 is tomato juice.
Tomato juice is a healthy vegetable juice due to its high content of lycopenes, a carotenoid and antioxidant that may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K, and the mineral potassium, which helps to control blood pressure. Despite this, it’s likely the health benefits of V8 juice would be greater if there were high quantities of the other vegetables, other than tomatoes. In some ways, V8 juice is little more than souped up tomato juice.
V8 juice is fat-free and relatively low in calories at seventy calories per 11.5 ounce can. It supplies almost twice the daily recommended intake of vitamin C and more than half of the vitamin A. It’s also an excellent source of potassium. It’s likely there are a lot of phytonutrients not listed on the label such as flavonoids and carotenoids, all of which appear to play a role in promoting health. V8 is also a quick and convenient way to get a serving of vegetables.
V8 juice is not a good choice for anyone who has heart disease or hypertension. A single 11.5 ounce can has 690 mg. of sodium, almost a third of the daily recommended sodium intake for the average individual. Fortunately, V8 now makes a low sodium juice drink which is a better option, although some people find it to be lacking in taste. The other problem is that the vegetable juices in V8 juice are “reconstituted”, a process where water is removed and then added back in. It’s unclear whether any of the phytonutrients or natural enzymes are lost in this process. V8 also contains “natural flavors” which some people claim includes MSG.
The Bottom Line
V8 juice is a better drink choice than colas and other sugar sweetened beverages, but with its high salt content it’s not as healthy as fresh vegetable juice from a juicer. If you don’t have hypertension or heart disease, V8 isn’t a bad choice if consumed in moderation, particularly if you’re on the run and don’t have time to get five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables. Just don’t count on it to be a substitute for a healthy, veggie rich diet.