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I love any type of juice in the morning- grape, orange, apple, cranberry, punch. It gives me that quick energy that I need to jump start my day. Juice is naturally high in carbohydrates and calories, and also some antioxidant vitamins such as C and A which help the immune system, promote heart health, and prevent cancers. Citrus juice has B vitamins and minerals such as potassium which promote nerve and muscle health. Some juice products are fortified with calcium and vitamin D which are helpful to bones and teeth. Juices such as grape juice have other antioxidants and phytochemicals which are anti-inflammatory and can also promote healthy cardiovascular systems and prevent some cancers.

As someone who lives with type 1 diabetes, juice can also be helpful to have around in case I have a low blood sugar. With that in mind, I have to be especially mindful of serving sizes when I drink juice because it could also cause a spike in my blood sugar if I don’t take enough insulin. Most juice has about 30-40 grams of carbohydrate per 8 oz serving. 8 oz doesn’t look like much in today’s mega-glasses, many of which can easily hold 32 ounces! I normally will try to use an 8 oz glass when pouring juice. In addition to being high in carbohydrates, juice is also acidic, which is especially problematic for tooth decay. Experts recommend not brushing teeth until at least an hour after consuming acidic products.

Not all juice is created equal. Most experts recommend drinking 100% juice because vitamins and minerals are higher. However 100% juice is also high in fructose, naturally found in fruit. Many juice cocktails on the market have fewer carbohydrates since they contain added sweeteners and are still fortified with vitamins. Be sure to read labels when shopping for juice.

Fruit juice lacks an important nutrient found in whole fruit- fiber. Fiber helps the digestive system, lowers cholesterol, promotes a healthy colon, lowers blood sugar spikes, just to name a few benefits. Eating an orange or an apple will give you the fiber and also the juice!

Parents should be careful not to introduce juice too early to their children. The sugar in juice can be harmful to teeth, and too much can contribute to childhood obesity. Kids should get used to drinking water, low-fat milk, and other low-calorie products. Parents can also look for lower calories juice products.

Consider other alternatives to juice such as:

Fruit infused water or herbs

A splash of juice in a spritzer

Lemon infused water, with some honey or sweetner

Tea

Author:  Dan Remley, MSPH, PhD, Associate Professor and Field Specialist, OSU Extension

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Sources:

WebMD: Juices, the Best and Worst for Your Health. Retrieved on 9/8/20 from https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-juice-wars

WebMD: Choose Fruit Wisely. Retrieved on 9/8/20 from https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/fruit-diabetes-sugar

Remley, D. Nutrition and Dental Hygiene: Myths versus Facts. Retrieved on 9/8/20 from https://livehealthyosu.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=12050&action=edit

Photo by PhotoMIX Company on Pexels.com

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Today we are reminded of the importance of a healthy immune system.  Our body’s ability to fight infection and disease depends on our immune system.  Good nutrition is important to support a healthy immune system.  Eat well by choosing nutrient rich foods, such as the following to boost your immune system:

  • Choose more orange and brightly colored foods. like carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, mango, tomatoes, and broccoli. These foods contain the antioxidant Beta Carotene which has been shown to strengthen the body’s infection fighting methods.
  • Foods rich in vitamin C including citrus, red peppers, kiwi, broccoli, berries and tomatoes. Start the day with a grapefruit, add sliced peppers to a sandwich at lunch and enjoy a cup of berries for a snack.
  • Herbs and spices such as garlic, ginger, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. These herbs and spices contain ingredients that help fight off viruses and harmful bacteria and give your immune system a boost. Try garlic hummus or raw ginger tea, or add oregano and rosemary to salads, roasted vegetables, and tuna salad to increase your intake of herbs and spices.
  • Get your Vitamin D. Found in fatty fish, eggs, mushrooms, fortified milk and fortified orange juice. Vitamin D is essential for optimal immune function and has been shown to help address respiratory infections. Add mushrooms to salads, stir fry’s and soups to increase your Vitamin D intake.
  • Zinc is key to optimal immune function but intake tends to be lower in those who are older, vegetarians, vegans and those who take antacids. Foods containing zinc such asmeat, seafood, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
  • Probiotics  is good bacteria that promotes health.  It is found in cultured dairy products like yogurt and in fermented foods such as kimchi.
  • Protein from both animal and plant-based sources including, milk, yogurt, eggs, beef, chicken, seafood, nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils.

In addition to increasing your intake of nutrient-dense foods, you can protect your immune system by:

  • Minimize your intake of sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. Consumption of these foods may suppressthe immune system.
  • Practicing good hygiene and hand washing to help prevent the spread of germs. Remember to wash produce before eating or using in recipes. Clean glasses, dishes, forks, spoons, and knives to reduce the spread and growth of bacteria.
  • Manage stress. Physical activity, meditation, listening to music and writing are great ways to manage stress and help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases that could weaken your immune system.
  • Getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep contributes to a variety of health concerns including a weakened immune system. Seven to nine hours is recommended each day for adults and children need eight to fourteen hours depending on their age.

Take charge today of your health and add these tips daily to support a healthy immune system!

Written by:  Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County. stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County. lobb.3@osu.edu

References:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2020). Support your health with nutrition. https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/support-your-health-with-nutrition

WebMD (2019). How can my diet affect my immune system? https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/qa/how-can-my-diet-affect-my-immune-system

WebMD (2019). Super Foods for Optimal Health. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/antioxidants-your-immune-system-super-foods-optimal-health

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