Often, we focus a lot of attention on what’s on our plates. But what’s in our cups can be just as important. Here’s a look at some of the most popular so-called superjuices - their characteristics, reported health benefits, and even pronunciation - so you can make smart choices.2012-01-01
Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee). This purple berry comes from the Amazon basin of South America and contains four times the healthful antioxidants as red grapes. It’s especially high in anthocyanins, which help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. Plus it contains heart-healthy omega fatty acids, which is unusual for a fruit. Panera Bread® is introducing Acai Berry Iced Green Tea in bakery-cafes this month.
Goji (pronounced go-gee). This orange-red berry comes from the wolfberry plant and has been a mainstay in Chinese medicine for centuries. One study found that adults who drank 4 ounces of goji juice per day for two weeks felt less tired and stressed. Another study with mice found evidence of an antiaging effect.
Mangosteen. This reddish-purple fruit, which is about the size of a tangerine, comes from Southeast Asia. Its white flesh contains a particular type of antioxidant called xanthones, which may have heart-protecting anti-inflammatory properties.
Wheatgrass. The juice from this ubiquitous green grass has been linked to everything from curing the common cold to fighting cancer. It’s often downed as a shot or blended with other juices. However, there is nothing nutritionally special about wheatgrass. On a calorie-for-calorie basis, spinach, broccoli, and asparagus are all far more nutritionally complete.
Passion fruit. This purplish-brown or yellowish fruit is loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant known to discourage heart disease. It also contains more cancer-fighting polyphenols than mangoes or grapefruits.
Papaya (pronounced pa-pie-yuh). This yellow-golden fruit contains compounds that discourage stomach, prostate, and lung cancer. It may also speed recovery from burns when its flesh is applied to a wound.
Guava (pronounced gwa-va). This tropical fruit contains 250 percent of the RDA for vitamin C - nearly five times more than an orange. (Studies link vitamin C-rich foods to fewer wrinkles.) Guava may also help protect your stomach from food-borne pathogens, according to a study in Bangladesh, making it one of the few fruits you can trust in the tropics.
While it’s fun to shake up your beverage choices and flavors, remember that one of the best superdrinks is plain old water when you drink enough throughout the day.