keep yourself fit with balanced & healthy diet
The Healthiest Drinks
Sip your way to a stronger immune system, a better mood and more.
Here, eight choices that are packed with disease-fighting nutrients. Now that's easy to swallow.
- Green Tea
Helps reduce risk of osteoporosis,
cancer, heart disease and cavities. Green tea contains a rich concentration
of flavonoids and polyphenols, natural antioxidants that may protect cells
from carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) and inhibit tumor growth by
helping to neutralize free radicals in the body. The tea's antioxidants may
also guard against heart disease by relaxing blood vessels, inhibiting the
formation of blood clots that trigger heart attacks and strokes. Green tea
also contains fluoride, which strengthens teeth; the flavonoids may build up
bones as well, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and tooth decay.
- Mint Tea
Eases cramps and helps ward off indigestion. "Mint is an antispasmodic, so it can relax muscles, which combats stiffness and aches," says Susan Lark, M.D., author of The Chemistry of Success (Bay Books, 1999). It also aids in digestion by promoting the movement of food through the digestive tract.
- One Percent Reduced-Fat Milk
Curbs cravings and helps protect
against osteoporosis. Because it has the components of a healthy
meal-carbohydrates, protein and a little fat-you absorb it slowly and stay
full longer, says Molly Pelzer, R.D., a nutrition educator in Tipton, Iowa.
It also stabilizes blood sugar, so you're less susceptible to cravings. Milk
is the ideal source of calcium, because it contains vitamin D, which is
needed for maximum calcium absorption. It may also help your body stop
storing fat. In a recent study, women who consumed three to four servings of
low-fat dairy foods (milk being one) lost nearly twice as much weight as
those who took in lower amounts. 'The calcium causes your body's cells to
burn the fat instead of holding on to it," says Pelzer. "This makes it
easier to reach and maintain your goal weight."
120 for eight ounces
- Soy Milk
Lowers risk of heart disease. Soy milk
contains soluble fiber and soy protein, which lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol
levels and triglycerides, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. If
you're drinking it instead of cow's milk, buy soy milk fortified with
calcium and vitamins A and D. One caveat: Soy contains phytoestrogens, which
may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Talk to your doctor
about drinking soy milk if you have a family history of the disease or have
had it yourself.
81 for eight ounces
- Hot Chocolate
Improves mood and may help protect
against heart disease. Chocolate increases the production of the
neurotransmitter serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood. (Low
levels of serotonin have been associated with depression.) Cocoa is also
rich in polyphenols, plant-derived antioxidants that may protect cells
against oxidative damage that can lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels,
possibly putting you at higher risk for a heart attack.
195 for eight ounces homemade cocoa; 115 for a powdered mix.
- Low-Sodium Tomato Juice
May protect against numerous cancers.
Processed tomato products are the richest source of the antioxidant lycopene,
which has been associated with a reduced risk of lung and stomach cancer, as
well as pancreatic, colorectal, esophageal, oral, breast and cervical
cancers. Lycopene also appears to protect the lungs and heart against
oxidative damage, helping to ward off cardiovascular disease.
31 for six ounces
- Cranberry Juice
Helps prevent gum disease.
Research suggests that the same anti-bacterial properties present in
cranberry juice that fight off urinary tract infections may also protect
against periodontal disease. Experts theorize that a component of the juice
called nondialysable material (NDM) inhibits bacteria from sticking to the
gums. Many nutritionists are wary of fruit juices because of their sugar
content, so limit your intake to no more than one glass (six to eight
ounces) daily. "Make sure the label says 100 percent juice, not 'juice
drink' or 'cocktail,'" suggests Heidi Reichenberger, R.D., a spokesperson
for the American Dietetic Association. You can find this type of juice in
health-food stores and some supermarkets.
140 for eight ounces
- Orange Juice
May ward off cataracts, cancers and
birth defects and boost immunity. An excellent source of vitamin C, orange
juice is also a potent antioxidant that may protect against a variety of
diseases including cataracts (a clouding of the eye's lens that can lead to
blindness) and lung cancer. Vitamin C may prevent oxidative damage that can
cause cells to become cancerous, and it improves immune-cell functioning,
enabling your body to fight off infections more efficiently. And it's a good
source of folate, which protects against neural-tube defects in fetuses. To
get the extra benefit of bone protection, try some calcium-fortified orange
115 for eight ounces
Source: Tamar Schreibman, Meredith Corporation.
Courtesy: Shari Nadeem