It’s probably already a part of your morning routine – you reach into the fridge and pour yourself a nice, refreshing glass of juice. If you’re like most people, the juice in your fridge is OJ. But did you know that there are lots of other juice choices that could be pouring many more nutritional benefits into your glass?
Top 5 Morning Juice Choices
Concord Grape Juice
You’ve heard about the French Paradox and the health benefits red wine offers. Red wine might not be the ideal way to start off your morning, but you can get the same benefits by drinking a glass of concord grape juice. Concord grape juice ranks the highest in antioxidant activity among 13 juices tested, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in March 2007.
Wild Blueberry Juice
Wild blueberry juice also packs a serious antioxidant punch. The USDA’s database of antioxidant values for various foods places blueberry juice at the top of the list among more than a dozen juices tested, and wild blueberries have been shown to have even more antioxidant capacity than cultivated blueberries. Blueberries also have anti-inflammatory properties.
A new study from Tufts University and Boston University suggests that two servings of light cranberry juice cocktail can increase artery dilation and blood flow immediately after consumption because of the natural flavonoids cranberry juice contains. The study also suggests that cranberries may have beneficial effects on cholesterol, blood pressure, and the prevention of blood clots, all risk factors for heart disease. Since cranberries are naturally tart, most cranberry juice products are indeed “juice cocktail” with added sugar. Choose “non added sugar” juice if possible.
Cloudy Apple Juice
“Cloudy” apple juice is a form of this popular morning juice that contains more apple solids that the usual clear kind. The extra apple solids mean that cloudy juice has up to four times more polyphenols, a group of antioxidant plant compounds, than clear juice. And in a study reported in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture in January 2007, cloudy juice was shown to be a more effective “scavenger” of harmful free radicals.
Fortified Orange Juice
If you prefer to stick with the old stand-by – OJ – look for a kind that’d fortified with calcium, or plant sterols, which help lower cholesterol. There are many different options available, so shop around until you find an orange juice that packs maximum nutritional punch while getting your morning off to a sunny start.
There are many more options for your daily morning juice routine than just orange juice. However, keep in mind that no juice will ever match the nutritional punch of whole fruits. Whole fruits are higher in fiber and antioxidants, and lower in calories than juice. So if you have some extra time one morning, try giving up the morning juice entirely and grabbing an orange or apple, or a handful of blueberries, cranberries, or concord grapes instead!
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.