May ward off cataracts, cancers, and birth defects and boost immunity. An excellent source of vitamin C, orange juice is also a potent antioxidant that may protect against a variety of diseases including cataracts (a clouding of the eye's lens that can lead to blindness) and lung cancer. Vitamin C may prevent oxidative damage that can cause cells to become cancerous, and it improves immune-cell functioning, enabling your body to fight off infections more efficiently. And it's a good source of folate, which protects against neural-tube defects in fetuses. To get the extra benefit of bone protection, try some calcium-fortified orange juice.
115 for 8 ounces
When you think of good-for-you beverages, water immediately comes to mind, but there are others worth adding to your diet. "Some drinks have tremendous health benefits, from relieving minor ailments like indigestion to protecting against serious ones like osteoporosis," says Dan Nadeau, MD, medical director of Exeter Hospital's HealthReach Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Nutrition Center in Exeter, New Hampshire. Here, eight healthy drinks that are packed with disease-fighting nutrients. Now that's easy to swallow.
Helps reduce risk of osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, and cavities. Green tea contains a rich concentration of flavonoids and polyphenols, natural antioxidants that may protect cells from carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) and inhibit tumor growth by helping to neutralize free radicals in the body. The tea's antioxidants may also guard against heart disease by relaxing blood vessels, inhibiting the formation of blood clots that trigger heart attacks and strokes. Green tea also contains fluoride, which strengthens teeth; the flavonoids may build up bones as well, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and tooth decay.
Low-Sodium Tomato Juice
May protect against numerous cancers. Processed tomato products are the richest source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been associated with a reduced risk of lung and stomach cancer, as well as pancreatic, colorectal, esophageal, oral, breast, and cervical cancers. Lycopene also appears to protect the lungs and heart against oxidative damage, helping to ward off cardiovascular disease.
31 for 6 ounces
Improves mood and may help protect against heart disease. Chocolate increases the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood. (Low levels of serotonin have been associated with depression.) Cocoa is also rich in polyphenols, plant-derived antioxidants that may protect cells against oxidative damage that can lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels, possibly putting you at higher risk for a heart attack.
195 for 8 ounces homemade cocoa; 115 for a powdered mix