Sandra Tonn, RHN
Already enjoying the great tastes and healthy benefits of heart-healthy grape and bladder-brilliant cranberry juices? Now some equally colourful cousins are available.
Already enjoying the great tastes and healthy benefits of heart-healthy grape and bladder-brilliant cranberry juices? Now some equally colourful cousins are available. With the exotic tastes of pomegranate, cherry, and blueberry to choose from, there's even more reason to reap the nutritional and healing properties of juices.
The sweet, but unfamiliar, juice of the pomegranate is especially useful for women because of its high calcium, magnesium, and iron content. The juice will also be of interest to women taking steps to prevent and heal breast cancer. While researchers design new drugs to inhibit the enzyme aromatase by synthesizing potentially cancer-causing estrogen in the body, studies show that pomegranate juice inhibits aromatase activity by 60 to 80 per cent without the side effects of drugs. Pomegranate juice was also shown to lower cholesterol in a study that concluded that the juice was effective in preventing atherosclerosis.
While cranberries are helping to heal bladder infections, palate-pleasing cherries offer relief for arthritic conditions including osteoarthritis and gout. This may be due, in part, to their key nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. Rich in flavonoids, cherry juice is also making a name for itself as a cancer-fighter. Clinical tests at the Hollings Cancer Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina have shown that ellagic acid, the naturally occurring plant chemical found in cherries, is a potent anticarcinogenic compound.
For those of us who need a good night's sleep, another recent discovery is that tart cherries contain a significant quantity of the antioxidant melatonin. Research shows that melatonin, a natural hormone in the body, is important in the body's circadian rhythms and natural sleep patterns. This substance also acts as an antioxidant, protecting us from the free radicals that can cause cancer and other degenerative diseases.
Wild blueberry juice has the deepest colour, a sign of its strong phytonutrient activity and great healing ability. These berries have the highest antioxidant capacity per serving when compared with more than 20 other fruits, according to US Department of Agriculture research findings published in 2004. In a Canadian study, the wild blueberry was compared to its cultivated cousin; the wild blueberries proved consistently higher in anthocyanin phytochemicals and antioxidant capacity.
The list of healing and health promoting reasons to drink wild blueberry juice is as long as the list of valuable nutrients it contains. The many benefits include the ability to slow free radical damage in the body, and help prevent urinary tract infections, cancer, eye-related diseases, and heart disease.
If you can't decide which juice tastes best, perhaps understanding the healing qualities of each will serve to sway which one you swig.