Drink to Your Health
When looking at your eating habits, don't overlook what's in
You want balance in your life and in your diet. So you're
probably always on the lookout for convenient ways to get to that
recommended minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables a
day. And grabbing a bottle of juice might seem like a smart
Well, it is … sort of. According to Amy Jamieson-Petonic, a
registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokeswoman,
100 percent fruit juice can be a good way to obtain nutrients. But
there are some ways people can get tripped up and turn a positive
move into a not-so-good one.
First, always look for the words "100% fruit juice" on the
label. Items labeled as "fruit drinks" tend to be loaded with added
sugar. Even more important is the amount of fruit juice you drink.
Many of the "single- serving" bottles in stores are 20 ounces and
contain 200 to 300 calories each. Jamieson-Petonic, who is also
Employee Wellness manager for Cleveland Clinic, suggests that most
people limit their fruit juice intake to no more than eight ounces
"The calories in fruit juice can really add up," she explains.
"I had one client who was consuming 1,000 additional calories per
day from fruit juice alone. Once she stopped drinking juice, she
started losing two pounds a week."
Some kinds of juice definitely have their benefits. For example,
calcium-fortified orange juice can be a great alternative for
people with lactose intolerance, says Jamieson-Petonic. Another
good choice is 100 percent Concord grape juice, which she says has
been shown in preliminary research to have a favorable impact on
cardiovascular health. The skin of the grape tends to increase the
elasticity of the blood vessels, to help reduce cardiac risk and
Vegetable juice also can be a convenient way to add nutrients,
but look for low-sodium versions. And even if you go the most
natural route and do the juicing yourself at home, don't expect the
vegetable juice to pack the same nutritional punch as the whole
If you eat a carrot, for example, you'll get beta carotene and
500 other phytonutrients, which are chemicals that can reduce the
risk of heart disease and cancer. Vegetable juice won't include as
many of those phytonutrients, says Jamieson-Petonic, who always
recommends whole foods over juice.
The same rule applies to fruit, she adds. Although 100 percent
juice can provide vitamin C and antioxidants, plus calcium if it's
fortified, a piece of fruit will contain even more of those
goodies-plus dietary fiber, which makes you feel more full and has
health benefits of its own, such as lowering cholesterol levels and
reducing the risk of digestive conditions.
How to Hydrate
That being said, a sensible serving of 100 percent juice can be
a healthy addition to a balanced diet. Plus, it does count toward
your daily water intake.
Jamieson-Petonic, who is a sports nutritionist, suggests at
least six glasses of water per day for most people and at least
eight a day for active individuals. Athletes should start drinking
an hour before the activity and consume at least four to six ounces
of fluid every 10 to 15 minutes while exercising.
"The goal is to fully hydrate, to the point where your urine is
clear, pale and straw-colored," she says.
Hydration is always important, but especially before and after
therapy. According to Jamieson-Petonic, who is also a licensed
massage therapist, it's good to drink some water before your
massage-but not so much that your bladder is uncomfortably
She also emphasizes the value of drinking plenty of water after
your session. During a massage, the therapist is moving the skin,
muscles, fascia, ligaments and tendons and working with the
"Massage stroking can help rid the body of toxins," says
"Between 60 and 70 percent of our body is water-every cell in
your body needs water to perform every metabolic process. So when I
give a massage, I always emphasize the importance of hydrating the
cells and the body to help flush out those toxins."
-By Amy Lynn Smith