Thirsty? Sip one of these four wonder drinks
Beverages get a bad rap as sources of empty calories and/or nasty chemicals, but that's true only if you're downing sugary drinks or diet sodas. Reaching for the right bottle can help add disease-fighting nutrients to your diet. Women's Health nutrition advisor Lisa Drayer, R.D., swears by these extraordinary elixirs.
Whether you buy it premixed or make it yourself, this blend bursts with benefits. New research shows that antioxidants in grape juice lower the risk of heart disease by slowing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, a process that leads to blockage in artery walls. In fact, in a recent ranking of the antioxidant content of 1,100 foods and beverages, grape juice came in 11th, second highest of all drinks studied (coffee was sixth). Cran is no slouch either, protecting against urinary tract infections, tooth decay, and E. coli bacteria — and boosting good HDL cholesterol. To cut calories, choose "no sugar added" versions like Apple & Eve Cranberry Grape 100% Juice ($5.20 for 64 oz, Amazon.com).
Iced Green Tea
This little leaf that could revs metabolism and may help you live longer. According to a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, women who quaffed just over 3 ounces of green tea daily had a 31 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease than those who drank less. Scientists credit the high levels of the antioxidant EGCG in green tea. When summer heats up, try Crystal Light Green Tea on the Go packets in raspberry and honey lemon flavors ($3.30 for 10 packets, in stores), which each provide 55 milligrams of antioxidants. Or brew your own: Steep four green tea bags per cup of boiling water, then chill.
Of course water is good for you, but did you know it curbs cancer? In one study, women who drank six-plus glasses each day had a 45 percent lower risk of colon cancer than those who drank fewer than two. And then there's the pretty factor: Water hydrates skin, keeping your complexion smooth and glowing. Problem is, gulping the recommended eight daily glasses can feel like a chore — especially if you're craving something sweet. To get your quota and please your palate, try waters jazzed up with calorie-free flavors, like Dasani Raspberry sweetened with Splenda ($4 for six 16.9-oz bottles, Dasani).
Light Soy Milk
Like skim cow's milk, light soy milk is rich in protein and vitamin D and has no saturated fat. But at only 70 calories per cup (versus 80 to 90 in fat-free milk), soy also delivers half the recommended daily value of energizing B vitamins. Plus, soy's isoflavones may keep you out of the hospital. One study of 65,000 women found that 16 grams of soy protein daily — about 2 cups of soy milk — reduced risk of heart disease by 75 percent and heart attack by 86 percent. The plain light kind has a delicate, nutty flavor. Or try the rich Silk Light vanilla or chocolate varieties ($2 for 32 oz, Silk Soymilk).
Last updated: December 1, 2007 Issue date: April 2007
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