(NaturalNews) Fruits and vegetables are a good source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free radicals -- molecules that can damage body cells and contribute to disease. With an emphasis on eating healthier, people are trying to find ways to consume the recommended five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Many are overwhelmed at the concept of putting that many items on their plates throughout the day (my kiddos, however, would cite me for child abuse if they were limited to five servings). Spurred by certain advertising, many people now consume fruit and/or vegetable juices to augment their antioxidant intake.
As always, read labels before you choose a juice. Many bottled juices contain little to no real juice -- only sweeteners (and increasingly they are sweetened with toxic artificial sweeteners), flavor enhancers, and preservatives. "Juice drinks" may contain ten to twenty-seven percent juice, plus high fructose corn sweeteners (and the aforementioned artificial sweeteners). Look for 100% juice, but don't stop there.
In a head-to-head comparison of apple juices, Polish researchers found that pulpy, non-clarified juice carried a greater antioxidant punch than clear juice. Clear juices are processed to remove any solids in the juice. This makes a 'prettier' juice and increases its shelf life, but it turns out that those solids are the storehouse for many nutrients. Juice with pulp contained four times as many polyphenols as clear juice. Polyphenols have been studied for their effects which may reduce cardiovascular disease and cancer.
"Cloudy apple juices contain much more antioxidant than clear," concludes Dr. Jan Oszmianski, the study's lead author and a researcher at the Agricultural University of Wroclaw. Her study was published in Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. In the end, however, your best bet for getting the most nutrition is to eat the whole apple. Look for the 'older' varieties. The newer varieties tend to have lower nutrient content. they are bred for eye appeal and for shelf life, not for nutrition. 'Cider' apples ranked highest in nutrients of all the apples tested (Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture).
While we are on the subject of apples:
In medieval times, a saying was coined: "Ate an apfel avore gwain to bed Makes the doctor beg his bread." The saying has come down to us as: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Modern research indicates that there may be some truth in the old saying. Apples also have significant amounts of a wide array of important phytonutrients that research has found to have extremely important health benefits.
* They are an excellent source of fiber, which keeps the digestive tract working properly. Fiber absorbs a number of toxins from the body.
* Quercetin, which is available in apples, inhibits, reduces, or prevents the growth of human prostate cancer cells by blocking activity of androgen hormones (Carcinogenesis, 2001, 22: 409-414). Increased consumption of quercetin is also associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2000, 92: 154-160).
* Phytonutrients in apples inhibit the growth of colon cancer and liver cancer cells in vitro. Beneficial phytonutrients are most strongly concentrated in the apple skin, but the apple flesh also contains significant levels of phytonutrients (Nature, 2000, 405: 903-904).
* In a long term study in Finland, lung cancer was 46 percent lower among those whose diets contained the highest amount of flavonoids, particularly from apples. Of the major dietary flavonoid sources, apples showed the greatest inverse association with lung cancer incidence. (American Journal of Epidemiology, 1997, 146: 223-230).
* British analysis of dietary habits indicates a strong positive association between positive lung function and the number of apples eaten each week (Thorax, 2000, 55:102-108).
* Apples and apple juice may help to slow the oxidation process that leads to the build-up of plaque (LDL or 'bad' cholesterol) that leads to heart disease (Journal of Medicinal Food, 2000, 3: 159-165; Life Sciences, 1999, 64: 1913-1920).
* The Finnish Study also concluded that high consumption of flavonoids from apples and onions was directly associated with the lowest death risk from coronary factors (British Medical Journal, 1996, 312: 478-481) and the lowest risk of thrombotic stroke (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, 54: 415-417).
If you would prefer juices, fresh whole juices deliver both abundant nutrients and a full spectrum of helpful enzymes to allow your body to digest all foods more effectively.
Maryann Marshall is a fourth generation herbalist. She taught "Herbs and Your Health" classes for 25 years. Currently she is developing these classes into an online course. See http://www.grainsofhope.com for more information. Eight years ago, her eldest son suffered a severe brain injury in an auto accident. His journey to wellness continues today. The family struggles through the government and medical labyrinth to assist his healing through prayer, nutrition, herbs, and other natural methods. Maryann is currently writing a book about the accident and its aftermath. You can read it in progress at: http://MiracleBoyArif.blogspot.com/ . Her websites can be found at: http://www.agglom.com/agglom/36788/Maryann_M.... Also check http://www.mymoxxor.com/grainsofhope for the most powerful concentrate of all-natural omega-3's and antioxidants on the planet and http://www.youngliving.com/grainsofhope for therapeutic grade essential oils.