by Aisha Vaiyani
With the addition of both a farmer’s market and a juice bar on campus, USC students are finding healthier ways to stay energized.
The farmer’s market, which takes place every Wednesday from 11am to 3pm, offers a wide selection of fresh fruits and vegetables for students to enjoy. For others, Nékter is a place for students to venture out of their comfort zone and try different kinds of juices and smoothies. Either of the two is ideal for the busy college student, as fruits and fruit juices provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a great energy boost to get you through the day.
With two new options, one can’t help but ask: which one wins this food fight?
The key to picking a winner depends on understanding what each choice has to offer. A great way to supplement your diet with essential nutrients and minerals is by eating fruit. Whole fruits are chock full of potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamin C.
Furthermore, maintaining a healthy diet with consistent fruit intake is a key step towards lowering your risk for certain conditions, like heart disease, type II diabetes, and obesity. Lastly, fruits keep you full. An apple a day doesn’t just keep the doctor away, but the candy bars and soda as well.
The benefits of whole fruit support a pretty compelling argument in this food fight, but fruit juices aren’t without merit, either. For college students, juices are convenient in the sense that you can easily consume them on the go. Additionally, drinking juices allows you to incorporate and try different kinds of fruit in one serving.
“I love choosing juices that incorporate greens, fruit, protein, and natural sweeteners into a convenient cup,” said Jamie Moskowitz, senior. “It’s perfect for the busy college student.”
Juices often retain the benefits of whole fruit when they are made the right way. This includes vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is better to make fresh juices at home using a juicer, for example, rather than purchasing a bottle of juice at the grocery store. Store-bought juices, often marketed as a healthier alternative to soft drinks, tend to contain large amounts of sugar and additives. The same kind of juices can be made at home in a way that is both delicious and nutritious.
However, the biggest setback of juicing is that the product lacks two things: skin and pulp. Fruit skin contains several types of pigments, including carotenoids and flavonoids, which have protective factors for our health. Pulp is an important source of dietary fiber, and juicing tends to eliminate all of it.
“I eat about a cup of fruit everyday between classes,” said Raquel Martinez, senior. “Although fruit juices do provide vitamins, they leave out one of the most important components of whole fruit – the skin.”
With that being said, what’s the verdict?
Juices, when made at home or purchased from juice bars like Nékter, are always a better alternative when compared to other beverages like soft drinks.
However, as whole fruit offers more vitamins, minerals, and fiber, it is the better nutritional choice and ultimately the winner in this food fight.
That being said, you don’t necessarily have to eliminate juices from your diet completely. Incorporating vegetables into fruit juices is a convenient way to enjoy several fruits and vegetables in one serving.
Overall, it’s better to eat whole fruit, but drinking wholesome juices that are made fresh is a great way to supplement your diet with additional vitamins and minerals.
Luckily for USC Trojans, both options are now available on campus. Try them, and you can declare your own winner in this food fight!