Drinking Your Vegetables

Commercially available vegetable juice cocktails are probably the healthiest choice you can make among packaged or processed foods. Other than water, vegetable juice cocktails might be the healthiest drink you can grab on the go, especially if you are in an airport or truck stop convenience store where your choices are limited.

The original V8 is made mainly from water and concentrates of eight vegetables: tomatoes (87%), beets, celery, carrots, lettuce, parsley, watercress, and spinach. V8 Vegetable Juice was developed by W.G. Peacock (1896–1948), the founder of the New England Products Company, which manufactured individual vegetable juices under the brand name Vege-min. In 1933, Peacock began blending the Vege-min juices into one product and selling this new blend as “Vege-min 8.” A grocer in Evanston, Illinois, recommended that he shorten the name to simply “V-8.” In 1948, the same year Mr. Peacock died, Campbell Soup Company acquired the brand, and has produced it continuously ever since. Campbell’s has produced several varieties of the drink, including, Spicy Hot, Lemon, Picante, Low-Sodium, and Organic.

Since V8 first appeared, other companies have followed suit with similar vegetable juice cocktails.

The primary ingredient in vegetable juice cocktails, tomato juice, contains high amounts of lycopene and carotenoids, which are essential nutrients that help reduce the risk of certain diseases and types of cancer, specifically prostate cancer in men. Tomatoes are also rich in antioxidants that help boost your immune system and help slow aging and disease processes. Tomato juice is also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A,  vitamin B6, and vitamin K as well as minerals including copper and potassium, the latter of which is effective in controlling or maintaining your blood pressure. In addition to these, the other vegetables included in vegetable juice cocktails can also offer a variety of nutrients and benefits for your body, making them an good choice for a “fast food” pick-me-up.

Vegetable juice cocktails are fat-free and very low in calories. An 8-ounce serving contains only 60 calories, which is really low compared to other types of juices. Aside from this, vegetable juice cocktails also supply your body more than the full Daily Value (DV) of vitamin C and three-quarters of the DV of vitamin A. They also contain many phytochemicals that help promote your health, which is why they’re an excellent way of getting your vegetables on the go.

Unfortunately, there are also negatives to consuming processed vegetable juices. Even the low-sodium varieties can contain quite a bit of sodium. In addition, the processing may affect several nutrients, and may strip the juice of most of the enzymes available in raw vegetables. While high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) no longer appears on the ingredient list of V8, its “natural flavors” can contain HFCS, corn-based thickeners and monosodium glutamate (MSG). The organic version of V8 does not come in a low-sodium variety, so you might have to seek out other brands, such as Knudsen Very Veggie Organic Low-Sodium. Finally, you may have difficulty finding an organic version of vegetable juice when you are on the go, so you may have to deal with the potential contaminants of conventionally-grown vegetables.

Vegetable juice cocktails are still a highly recommended beverage when your choice is between it and other types of beverages like carbonated soft drinks, which do not provide you with any nutrients. However, don’t rely on drinking processed vegetable juices as a substitute for eating a variety of vegetables.

Nutrients in 8 ounces of Low-Sodium Vegetable Juice Cocktail

Nutrient

Amount

DV

vitamin C

67 mg

112%

vitamin A

3770 IU

75%

copper

0.5 mg

24%

vitamin B6

0.3 mg

17%

vitamin K

12.8 mg

16%

potassium

520 mg

15%

folate

50.8 mcg

13%

fiber

3 g

11%

niacin

1.8 mg

9%

magnesium

26.6 mg

7%

thiamine

0.1 mg

6%

vitamin E

0.8 mg

4%

riboflavin

0.1 mg

4%

choline

17.4 mg

4%

phosphorus

41.4 mg

4%

carbohydrates

12 g

4%

calcium

40.4 mg

4%

protein

1.5 g

3%

zinc

0.5 mg

3%

Calories

60

3%

selenium

1.2 mcg

2%

iron

0.4 mg

2%

sodium

50 mg

2%

If you have a juicer, you can try your hand at a homemade vegetable juice cocktail. Besides saving you money, you can totally control the ingredients, and it can be 100% organic and raw. And as you can see, it increases many of the nutrients.

Homemade Vegetable Juice Cocktail

  1. Clean all vegetables and place them in the juicer.
  2. Add lemon juice and salt to taste.

Makes 12 servings. Per serving:

Nutrients in 8 ounces of Homemade Vegetable Juice Cocktail

Nutrient

Amount

DV

vitamin C

72.75 mg

121%

vitamin A

6454.33 IU

129%

copper

0.5 mg

24%

vitamin B6

0.3 mg

17%

vitamin K

98.81 mg

124%

potassium

668.69 mg

19%

folate

105.31 mcg

26%

fiber

3 g

11%

niacin

1.8 mg

9%

magnesium

30.1 mg

8%

thiamine

0.1 mg

7%

vitamin E

1.05 mg

11%

riboflavin

0.12 mg

7%

choline

17.4 mg

4%

phosphorus

50.53 mg

5%

carbohydrates

10.74 g

4%

calcium

102.19 mg

10%

protein

2.92 g

6%

zinc

0.7 mg

5%

Calories

60

3%

selenium

1.2 mcg

2%

iron

2.71 mg

15%

sodium

100.96 mg

4%


This blog uses the latest nutritional data available from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration), as well as nutritional data provided by food growers and manufacturers about their products. We believe the information on this website to be accurate. However, we are not responsible for typographical or other errors. Nutrition information for recipes is calculated by Living Cookbook based on the ingredients in each recipe based on statistical averages. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

This blog is not a substitute for the services of a trained health professional. Although we provide nutritional information, the information on this blog is for informational purposes only. No information offered by or through this blog shall be construed as or understood to be medical advice or care. None of the information on this blog should be used to diagnose or treat any health problem or disease. Consult with a health care provider before taking any product or using any information on this blog. Please discuss any concerns with your health care provider.

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