How long do nutrients last after juicing?

Juicing fruits and vegetables is a great way to get an concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. When you juice produce, you remove the fiber content but keep the nutrient-rich juice. This allows you to easily consume large quantities of micronutrients.

However, there are some downsides to juicing. An important one is that the nutrients start to degrade soon after the produce is juiced. So it’s best to drink fresh juices right away.

In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at how long nutrients last in juice and the best ways to maximize nutrient retention.

Why Do Nutrients Degrade in Juice?

There are a few reasons why nutrients degrade more rapidly in juice compared to whole fruits and vegetables:

  • Exposure to oxygen: Blending or juicing breaks open plant cells, exposing the nutrients inside to oxygen. This can result in oxidation, which degrades certain nutrients like vitamin C, polyphenols and carotenoids.
  • Loss of fiber: Fiber helps protect certain nutrients from damage. Removing fiber allows for quicker nutrient breakdown.
  • Enzyme activity: Cutting and crushing produce activates degradative enzymes that help break down nutrients over time.
  • Microbial growth: Fresh produce naturally contains microbes. Juicing provides an ideal environment for microbial growth, which can use up nutrients.

For these reasons, it’s best to minimize the time between juicing produce and drinking the finished juice.

Nutrient Breakdown Rates

Different nutrients break down at different rates once produce has been juiced.

Here is an overview of how quickly major nutrients degrade:

Nutrient Breakdown Rate
Vitamin C Rapid breakdown. Up to 50% loss within 1-2 hours.
Carotenoids Relatively rapid breakdown. 25-50% loss within 24 hours.
Vitamin B6 Moderate breakdown. 15-25% loss within 24 hours.
Folate Moderate breakdown. 15-30% loss within 4-8 hours.
Vitamin K Slow breakdown. Little loss within 24 hours.
Magnesium Slow breakdown. Little loss within 24 hours.

As you can see, water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and folate tend to degrade most rapidly. Fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K are more stable.

Minerals like magnesium and calcium break down slowly and can generally be obtained from juice even after 24 hours of storage.

Maximizing Nutrient Retention

Here are some tips to retain as many nutrients as possible from your homemade juices:

  • Drink juice immediately. Try to consume juice within 5-10 minutes of preparation.
  • Store tightly sealed. If you can’t drink right away, seal juice in an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • Add lemon juice. The vitamin C and acidity help prevent oxidation of other nutrients.
  • Minimize light and heat. Keep juice out of direct light and don’t allow it to get warm.
  • Fill container to the top. Avoid oxygen exposure by minimizing headspace.
  • Consider freezing. Frozen juice retains nutrients longer than refrigerated juice.

Nutrient Retention by Juice Type

Some types of juice retain nutrients better than others, even when stored under the same conditions.

Here is how the nutrient content of some common juices degrade over time:

Orange Juice

  • 50% vitamin C loss in 8 hours
  • 70% vitamin C loss in 24 hours
  • 15% folate loss in 24 hours
  • Minimal loss of potassium over 24 hours

Apple Juice

  • 45% vitamin C loss in 8 hours
  • 60% vitamin C loss in 24 hours
  • 10% folate loss in 24 hours
  • Minimal loss of minerals over 24 hours

Carrot Juice

  • 15-25% vitamin C loss in 24 hours
  • 35% carotenoid loss in 24 hours
  • 10% folate loss in 24 hours
  • Minimal mineral loss over 24 hours

Green Juice

  • 45% vitamin C loss in 8 hours
  • 60% vitamin C loss in 24 hours
  • 30% carotenoid loss in 24 hours
  • 20% folate loss in 24 hours
  • Some loss of minerals like magnesium over 24 hours

As you can see, orange and apple juices tend to lose vitamin C rapidly. Green juices also degrade vitamin C quickly but better retain carotenoids and folate.

In general, juices containing lots of water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C degrade more quickly while juices rich in fat-soluble nutrients like carotenoids or minerals retain nutrients longer.

Does Storage Method Affect Nutrient Retention?

Proper storage is crucial to preserve nutrients in juice.

Here is how storage conditions affect nutrient breakdown:

Storage Method Effect on Nutrients
Room temperature Rapid nutrient breakdown. Up to 70% losses in 8 hours.
Refrigerated (40°F) Slower nutrient breakdown. 50% losses in 24-48 hours.
Frozen (-4°F) Dramatically slows breakdown. 10-15% losses in 2 months.

Storing juice at room temperature allows for very rapid nutrient degradation. Refrigeration is better but still results in major vitamin and antioxidant losses over a full day.

Freezing is by far the best storage method. Frozen juice retains nutrients nearly as well as fresh juice over at least 2-3 months.

Should You Add Anything to Juice to Preserve Nutrients?

Adding certain ingredients can help slow down nutrient breakdown:

  • Lemon juice – The vitamin C and acidic pH prevent oxidation.
  • Ascorbic acid – This is a powdered form of vitamin C.
  • Citric acid – Provides acidic preservative properties.
  • Rosemary extract – A natural antioxidant extract that combats oxidation.

However, adding preservatives can alter the flavor. Whole lemon juice is generally the best option to help maximize freshness without changing taste.

How Long Do Bottled Juices Last?

Commercially produced bottled juices often contain preservatives and are pasteurized using heat. This helps extend their shelf life.

Here is how long you can expect different bottled juices to last:

Juice Type Refrigerated At Room Temperature Frozen
Orange juice 5-7 days 2-3 days 8-12 months
Apple juice 7-10 days 3-5 days 12 months
Vegetable juice 3-5 days 1-2 days 6-8 months

Always follow the “best by” date on the bottle. Unopened, these juices can remain fresh for 1-2 weeks in the fridge or several months in the freezer.

Bottled green juices sold in grocery stores typically last for 2-3 days refrigerated. They tend to have shorter shelf lives since they don’t contain preservatives.

Signs Your Juice Has Spoiled

Here are some signs that your homemade or store-bought juice has spoiled and should be discarded:

  • Unpleasant sour smell
  • Fizzy bubbles
  • Cloudy appearance
  • Mold visible on surface
  • Rotten taste

If juice develops any foul odors, flavors or visual changes, it’s best to err on the side of caution and throw it out. Don’t drink it.

Remember that nutrient breakdown can occur before obvious signs of spoilage. So try to stick to the timelines suggested in this article.


To get the most nutrients from your juice, drink it immediately after making. If that’s not possible, store juice for no more than 24 hours refrigerated or 2-3 months frozen.

Minimize light and heat exposure. Keep juice chilled in an airtight container with minimal oxygen inside. Adding lemon juice can also help retain nutrients.

Different juices keep their nutrients for different lengths of time. Juices high in vitamin C and carotenoids degrade more quickly than those rich in minerals and fat-soluble vitamins.

Always use your senses and toss juice if you detect spoilage. But remember that nutrient loss happens well before the juice visibly goes bad.

Drink your juice fast and you’ll maximize the nutrient content of your homemade juices.

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