Posts Tagged ‘juice’

Apples offer some surprising health benefits

Monday, August 1st, 2016

by Dianne Hyson, Ph.D., R.D.

Your mother was right. An apple a day may help keep you out of the doctor’s office, and scientists are just beginning to find out why. Plenty of vitamins and minerals, as well as phytonutrients, or plant compounds, are packed into one baseball-sized piece of fruit.

Considerable research is currently centered on the role of phytonutrients that act as antioxidants, which are found in many fruits, red wine and tea. Antioxidants counteract chemicals in the blood that oxidize, or damage, certain molecules. Flavonoids are the most common group of phytonutrients in foods. Apples are particularly high in one of the flavonoids called quercetin, which has high antioxidant activity.

Exciting new research is showing that not only do apples and apple juice contain a variety of phytonutrients, but that making apples a regular part of the diet may translate into real health benefits. At UC Davis, they recently completed a 12-week study of 25 healthy men and women who added either 12 ounces of 100 percent apple juice or two apples into their daily diet without changing the rest of their diet or exercise levels. Half drank apple juice for six weeks while the other half ate apples. After six weeks, the subjects switched groups.

Before the study and at each six-week interval we measured something called “LDL oxidation lag time,” which provides an indication of how long it takes for cholesterol to oxidize when exposed to certain chemicals. When LDL or “bad” cholesterol is broken down in our bodies, it tends to accumulate along the walls of the coronary arteries and causes atherosclerosis. Hence, a longer lag time is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

The study showed clear beneficial effects after only six weeks of including apples in the diet. Study results were more dramatic in subjects drinking apple juice, showing a 20-percent increase in lag time after six weeks. Eating apples also showed potential health benefits, including reduced oxidation indicators and a 22-percent increase in dietary fiber. One study of 2,500 middle-aged men in Wales found that lung function improved in those who ate an apple a day.

Recent studies have demonstrated other diverse health benefits associated with eating apples. One study of 2,500 middle-aged men in Wales found that lung function improved in those who ate an apple a day. A study in Hawaii found that individuals who regularly incorporated apples, onions and white grapefruit (all foods high in flavonoids) into their diet cut their lung cancer risk in half. Another study of 9,208 Finnish men and women found that those who ate the most apples over a period of 28 years had the lowest risk for stroke.

Another interesting study looked at the effect of phytonutrients from apples on the growth of colon cancer and liver cancer cells in a test tube. They found that cancer cell growth was inhibited by phytonutrients from apples, with just two-thirds of a medium apple providing the same level of antioxidant activity as 1,500 mg of vitamin C. Since apples contain only about 12 mg of vitamin C, researchers attributed the combination of nutrients in apples as being key to their positive activity.

Apples are high in fiber and potassium, and contain no fat or salt. They are also an excellent source of boron, a trace mineral with largely unexplored health benefits. Preliminary studies indicate that boron may be helpful in retaining the beneficial health effects of estrogen during menopause.

Does this research show that we should load up on apples every day? No. But studies clearly indicate that consuming apples and apple juice as part of a healthy, varied diet can confer significant health advantages.

And by the way, when eating a fresh apple, don’t peel it first. Most of the fiber and antioxidants are in the peel.

Source: UC Davis Medical Center

7 Health Benefits of Drinking Organic Orange Juice

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

You grew up drinking orange juice every morning at breakfast, but did you ever ask why? What’s so special about orange juice that makes it a staple around the world?

There are so many health benefits to drinking organic orange juice that no one could possibly name all of them. With high concentrations of vitamin C and other nutrients that are not only healthful but necessary, the orange is a super-fruit that most of us take for granted. Even if you aren’t a fan of peeling and eating sticky, juicy oranges, you can still get many of the same benefits out of a glass for breakfast each morning. If you need an extra push to start putting a jug of orange juice in your cart as you pass by the organic section on your next grocery run, check out these seven reasons to not let another day go by without adding orange juice to your diet.

1. Healing Phytonutrients: Oranges have particularly high levels of certain phytonutrients that are thought to be helpful for reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure and balancing cholesterol! Adding a glass of organic orange juice per day to your diet can provide enough of these phytonutrients to contribute to an improvement in your overall health.

2. Daily Value of Vitamin C: We all know that we can’t function well without at least some vitamin C in our diets. It does everything from promoting strong and healthy bones and clear skin to strengthening your immune system to fight off infections and viruses. You could always take a supplement, but why do that when a delicious glass of organic orange juice provides more nutrients than vitamin C supplements with added health benefits?

3. Consuming Citrus Lowers Risk of Certain Diseases: Oranges contain many of the elements that are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease and cardiac arrhythmias, and some studies have even shown a slight reduction in the occurrence of many types of mouth, throat, esophageal, stomach and liver cancers in people who have a lot of citrus fruits in their diets.

4. Lower Cholesterol: Certain compounds in oranges are being studied as possible means to lower cholesterol. These compounds may interact in such a way with the body that they reduce its ability to produce LDL cholesterol. Lowered cholesterol then translates into a reduced risk for many types of health issues from heart disease to stroke.

5. Prevents Ulcers: Some studies have shown that people with a higher blood level of vitamin C are at less of a risk of developing peptic ulcers—a condition which can lead to stomach cancer. How do you get your vitamin C levels up? Orange juice, of course!

6. Prevents Kidney Stones: If you want to reduce your risk of developing calcium oxalate kidney stones, you may be pleasantly surprised to know that simply drinking a couple of glasses of orange juice or other citrus juice per day increases your citric acid excretion preventing kidney stones from forming.

7. Healthy Carbohydrates: For diabetics or those who are watching carb intake, you’ll be happy to know that you can still drink orange juice! Like any food, it’s important to be aware of how much you are drinking, but orange juice only has a glycemic index of 40. This means that, since it is under 55, you can drink orange juice in limited quantities to benefit from all of its nutrients—and great flavor—without having it spike your blood sugar or cause problems with weight gain.

Are you convinced? Whether you are simply looking for a healthy, nutritious alternative to a 500 calorie morning latte, or you are looking for natural ways to help reduce your risk of certain health problems, organic orange juice may be just what you need to add to your daily diet.

Kayla Matthews is a healthy living blogger with a passion for organic and natural foods. You can read all of her latest articles by following her on Google+ and Twitter.