A quick look in the beverage case or cooking oil aisle reveals a common term on labeling and packaging: cold-pressed. Cold-pressed juices, in particular, have skyrocketed in popularity in the last few years, available everywhere from Starbucks to your local health food co-op.
You may have a vague idea that cold-pressed juices or oils are better for your health—but why, exactly?
How Does The Cold-Press Process Work?
Simply put, cold-pressed refers to how a substance was extracted. You’re likely familiar with an at-home juicing process, which is when a juicing machine with a powerful blade cuts through fruits and veggies to extract juice. The downside of this is that you have to drink the juice pretty quickly before it goes bad—hence the need to keep so much produce on hand if you like fresh juice!
A cold-pressed process is the same until the last step. When cold-pressed juice is made, a large amount of cold hydraulic pressure (thousands of pounds of pressure, in fact) is applied to the juice at the end. In this step, the fiber of the produce is removed from the cells, without adding any heat or exposing the juice to air. The juice produced in the cold-pressed process is said to retain more of the original benefits of the produce used.
Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, a dietitian and fitness expert in New York City, explains: “Cold pressed juice is great because it packs a ton of produce and nutrients into a beverage that you can drink in one serving—when we might not be able to eat all that volume in one sitting.”
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Juices often have pounds of fruits and vegetables in just one bottle, which can help your body seriously load up on vitamins and minerals. Cold-pressed juices also have a much longer shelf life than regular juices, sometimes lasting up to a few weeks.
What About Cold-Pressed Oils?
Cold-pressed oils, like coconut, olive, and avocado, use a similar process, without added heat or chemicals that can change the nutritional content or taste of the raw oil. Cold-pressed oil is in its most natural state. Smith says it, too, can be very beneficial for health: “Cold-pressed oils retain more of their nutrients, so therefore can retain both healthy fats and vitamins and minerals.”
You don’t have to be eating it to get the benefits of cold-pressed oil, either—oils meant for the skin (like jojoba or calendula) can be cold-pressed, too. Like edible oils, these retain more of the original compounds that can soothe and soften your skin.
What To Consider Before Going Cold
Cold-pressed substances can be more expensive because they require different equipment to process. They’re often organic, too, which can drive up the price tag. Still, the hefty health benefits of cold-pressed oils and juices are worth a little extra cash to many health aficionados, who tout the purity of the products.
If you’re interested in consuming more cold-pressed products, read labels carefully. , which you might see on some labels, is similar, but it uses heat. Smith advises: “Cold-pressed products are, of course, better than exposure to heat, but take a look into the product that you’re buying to ensure that it’s really what it says it is!”
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