(NaturalNews) A new study by University of California at Davis researchers backs up advice natural health advocates have been giving for decades: Juice is a great way to get the health-building benefits of vegetables.
The research, presented this week at the American Dietetic Association's annual conference in Chicago, looked at three groups of healthy men and women. All three groups met with dietary counselors who discussed different ways of adding more vegetables to the participants' diets. However, two of the groups were also instructed to drink at least one 8-ounce serving of 100% vegetable juice daily. The study found the research subjects who consumed vegetable juice were far more likely to meet or exceed the minimum daily vegetable servings associated with good health (about five servings). Those who didn't drink vegetable juice took in less than 25% of the vegetables recommended for health.
A growing body of science documents that eating a variety of nutrient-packed, fiber-rich vegetables reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes and many cancers and can help keep weight under control. However, according to the University of California researchers, about seven out of 10 Americans fail to meet even the minimum U.S. Dietary Guidelines for daily vegetable intake – and they conclude that adding vegetable juice to meals could be a simple way to boost intake of this important food group.
The researchers also pointed out that changing eating behaviors is much more effective when nutrition advice is partnered with easy and convenient solutions, such as drinking juice. In fact, the vegetable juice drinkers reported that they actually enjoyed drinking their veggies and, after six weeks of the study, reported they felt "more satisfied" with the ease of getting vegetables into their diet by drinking more juice.
"We found that drinking vegetable juice seemed to address some of the key barriers to vegetable consumption such as convenience, portability and taste, so individuals were more likely to meet their daily recommendations," Carl Keen, PhD, study author and professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of California at Davis, said in a prepared statement for the media.
Other research has pointed out some of the specific health benefits of juices. For example, a study published in the American Journal of Medicine suggests that both vegetable and fruit juices could help fight the mind-robbing Alzheimer's disease. The reason? Both fruit and vegetable juices are rich in polyphenols. These natural phytochemicals may offer protection against Alzheimer's, the scientists concluded, because of their ability to powerfully neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. Moreover, theVanderbilt University research team found that frequent drinking of fruit and vegetable juices was associated with a substantially decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Another study published in the journal Biomedical Environmental Science earlier this year found that kale juice improved heart attack risk factors such as high blood pressure and high "bad" cholesterol in men. More good news about vegetable juice: a recent study by Latvian scientists published in the journal Planta Medica concluded that potato juice may have anticonvulsant effects, suggesting it might help prevent seizures.
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Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA’s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic’s "Men’s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.