Antioxidants in every sip
Jennifer Walker, BScNutr
It used to be that we drank water or tea when we were thirsty. But today, beverage choices seem endless, ranging from vitamin-enhanced waters to the increasingly available antioxidant drinks.
It used to be that we drank water or tea when we were thirsty. But today, beverage choices seem endless, ranging from vitamin-enhanced waters to the increasingly available antioxidant drinks. These beverages are a quick and easy way to include the recognized health benefits of these nutrients in our diets.
Most antioxidant drinks are nutrient dense, providing nutritionally meaningful quantities of fruit juices or teas, as well as of vitamins and minerals that meet daily recommended nutritional intakes. Many are made with 100 percent juice of one or a combination of superfruits such as apple, cranberry, and blueberry, as well as the exotic antioxidant fruits acai berry and pomegranate. These superfruits are all the rage and for good reason. Acai and pomegranate top the charts with their antioxidant strength.
On top with acai
Acai berry has the highest antioxidant effects of any fruit measured using oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) values. Acai berries contain many antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, gallic acid, epicatechin, anthocyanins, procyanidins, protocatechuic acid, and other tannins. Check out ORAC values at oracvalues.com.
While acai is higher in antioxidant potential, pomegranate is probably the most popular and widely marketed of the exotic superfruits. Pomegranate juice is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as ellagic acid, gallocatechins, prodelphinidins, and other tannins.
Look for pomegranate and acai drinks that are truly nutritious—containing 100 percent juice. Pure fruit juices may be a little pricey, but they are far better than antioxidant-fortified beverages made with water or apple or grape juice.
Admittedly, some people find that acai berry and pomegranate juices taste too tart. Mixing the pomegranate or acai berry drinks with other fruit juices can make them tastier. Adding other juices can also boost the colour because pure antioxidant beverages can appear brownish in colour and undesirable to the eye. The brownish colour denotes a quality product, though, so don’t shy away from it.
When you feel like drinking something other than water or tea, and when you want some flavour, but you also desire something healthy and satisfying, reach for an antioxidant drink.
Drink in moderation
By bottling antioxidant drinks in large 20 oz (591 mL) containers, producers are able to provide nutritionally meaningful quantities of antioxidant fruit juices or teas. The downside is that consuming the whole beverage can lead to high intake of sugar and calories.
An average 20 oz (591 mL) bottle of a typical antioxidant drink made with 100 percent fruit juice contains 85 grams of sugar and 400 calories. One-third of one of these large bottles is a better daily serving size (8 oz/250 mL).
Antioxidant beverages contain nutrients that play a proven role in preventing heart disease, cancer, and other diseases, such as
Always remember to read the label to find out what your beverage of choice contains.