Some types of fruit juice are packed with health benefits, but stay
away from juices loaded with sugar, says a health expert
In years past, family physician Pamela Rockwell told parents not to let their
children drink too much fruit juice because of its link to obesity. These days,
though, she has changed her advice.
A recent study found no association between childhood obesity and 100
percent fruit juice with no sugar added.
“That’s big news, and it’s made a difference in what I tell my patients,” says
Rockwell, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the
University of Michigan Health System.
Other studies, meanwhile, have found that many fruit juices provide powerful
health benefits, Rockwell notes. Research in recent years has identified ways
that beverages such as pomegranate, orange and cranberry juices can help to
prevent or cure diseases.
Juices that provide health benefits:
Pomegranate juice has received a great deal of attention in recent years for
its reported benefits. It is a rich source of antioxidants and has been shown to
lower LDL cholesterol – the bad, artery-clogging portion of one’s cholesterol,
Rockwell says. It also may slow the growth of prostate cancer.
Pomegranate juice has been shown to stabilize the levels of men’s PSA, or
prostate specific antigen. This protein in the blood is measured to gauge how
quickly a man’s prostate cancer is progressing. Another study found that
pomegranate juice may increase blood flow to the heart in people with
ischemic coronary heart disease.
Orange Juice The iconic breakfast drink may help people prevent recurrences
of painful kidney stones. A study has found that a daily glass of orange juice
can reduce the incidence of kidney stones better than other citrus drinks, such
Cranberry Juice has long been thought of as a home remedy for urinary tract
infections (UTI). Cranberry juice now appears to be most helpful before the UTI
even develops. Studies indicate that cranberry juice is effective in preventing a
UTI, but not at curing an existing infection, Rockwell notes.
Blueberry Juice Blueberries have some of the same properties as cranberries
that allow it to prevent UTIs, Rockwell says.
Other studies have indicated that an overall increase in consumption of fruits
and vegetables reduces one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. A 2006
study showed that people who drank fruit or vegetable juices more than three
times a week were 76 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those
who drank juice less than once a week (see Drinking Juice Helps Prevent
But drinking fruit juice is not an inherently healthy activity. Rockwell warns that
many juices contain high levels of corn syrup, typically high fructose corn syrup.
She says consumers should look for 100 percent natural fruit juice to avoid
“Corn syrup is related to many bad health issues, such as higher blood sugar
and obesity. It leads to the buildup of fat cells, and contributes to the obesity
problem in the US and other industrialized nations,” Rockwell says.