Dietician Lisa Westfall says that certain beverages are rich in antiodixants, vitamins and minerals.

Thinking of substituting a glass of fruit juice for pop at your favorite restaurant?

It's a good call in some ways. In other ways, it's a wash. That's because many fruit juice are full of sugar and calories. However, juice does
provide many health benefits. If you drink it in moderation, you will be doing your body some good.

Pomegranate juice is a rich source of antioxidants and has been shown to lower LDL, or "bad," cholesterol. It's also been shown to slow down
the progression of prostate cancer, as well as increase the blood flow to the heart in people with ischemic coronary artery disease.

Orange juice might help you from redeveloping kidney stones. A study has shown that orange juice is the best citrus juice in combating this
problem. Orange juice is also a good source of potassium and vitamin C. A study has shown that postmenopausal women who took vitamin C
supplements had a higher bone density than those who didn't. One reason our bodies need vitamin C is for the production of collagen, which
helps form the body's connective tissues and bones. Vitamin C appears to help enhance the effects of calcium supplements.

Cranberry juice can be used to prevent a urinary tract infection, not to treat an existing one. (Blueberries are another alternative to cranberries
for the prevention of UTIs, although blueberry juice is hard to find.). One study suggests that cranberry juice can prevent certain strains of
bacteria from sticking to red blood cells, a step that can allow the bacteria to hang around longer in the body. It can also be used to breakdown
and prevent kidney stones and is full of vitamin C. It can also help cut down on the formation of oral bacteria that can lead to gum disease and
plaque.

It is important to look for juices that say "100 percent natural fruit juice" on the label in order to avoid corn syrup. Corn syrup can lead to
obesity and higher blood sugars. Beverages using 100 percent natural fruit juices are an easy way for adults and children to get their fruit
servings. The recommended serving is 4 cups or more of fruits and vegetables a day.

Fruit juices can provide us with many health benefits and are an easy way to fit in our fruit servings. Like everything else we eat and drink, use
juice in moderation to avoid extra calories.


Lisa Westfall is a registered dietician who works for Dublin Methodist Hospital.