A glass of fresh cold-pressed juice can really hit the spot by quenching your thirst and satisfying your tastebuds. But have you ever wondered what “cold-pressed” actually means?
Juice is jam-packed with all the good stuff: vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Cold-pressed juice is created by inserting fruit and vegetables into a hydraulic press and pulverizing it to produce something you can drink.
Juice, in general, is a quick way for your body to absorb nutrients without having to digest whole pieces of food. If you don’t normally eat fruits or veggies, it can help you add more vitamins and minerals to your diet in an easy way.
Cold-Press vs. Traditional Juicing
Cold-press juicers separate the fiber from the cells of fruits and vegetables without using heat. Otherwise known as masticating juice extractors, the best cold-press juicers squeeze, chew and crush the pulp.
Traditional juicers, on the other hand, use sharp blades to pulpify the produce and, as the blade speeds up, they generate heat, which can degrade essential enzymes. These are labeled as centrifugal juicers but it might be easier to think of them as hot-press juicers. While they aren’t getting hot enough to cook the produce inside, centrifugal juicers use the rapid movement of the blades to slice produce into smaller and smaller pieces.
When certain enzymes and nutrients are heated, such as vitamin C, they break down, becoming less nutritionally dense. Oxidation can also occur, which happens when air gains access to the juice through processing or packaging. As centrifugal juicer blades cut through produce, they also force the juice into making contact with the air, which kicks off the process of oxidation. This can further degrade the nutrients. Vitamins B and C are quite sensitive to this. While coming into contact with air always causes produce to begin oxidizing, the cold press process minimizes this.
Pros and Cons of Cold-Pressed Juice
Cold-pressed juices that are bottled don’t typically contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners, which is a benefit for anyone trying to kick sweets. These also typically contain several different kinds of fruits or vegetables, which offers a broader assortment of nutrients per ounce than a single serving of fruit.
Unfortunately, the act of cold-pressing actually produces less juice than traditional juicing. Some argue that’s OK because it might be a more nutritionally dense product. It also takes longer than traditional juicing. Drinking juice, in general, also gives you less fiber than eating the fruit or vegetable in its original form.
Finding the Best Cold-Press Juicer
Rather than spending a lot of money on store-bought cold-pressed juice every time you hit the grocery, you could invest in your own cold-press juicer. We’ve already looked across the market and made our picks for the best cold-press juicers out there.
While there’s no scientific evidence that extracted juices — either from a cold-press juicer or a centrifugal one — are any healthier than eating the fruit or vegetables in their original state, it’s still a great way to get in your daily quota. It also can help you try more fruits and vegetables that you might not normally reach for.
Pro tip: Since fresh juice can grow bacteria rapidly, only make as much as you’d drink at once or within one to three days. If you want a big batch, opt for a commercially produced juice that’s been pasteurized instead. Happy juicing!