What comes to mind when we hear the word juice? Usually a glass of fresh orange juice, full of aroma, flavour and vitamins. Is it maybe time to broaden our options? Science says yes...
In recent years, juices not made from ordinary fruits like orange, apple or banana, but from exotic fruit - or maybe – exotic... super fruits gain ground! Fruits that have stood out for their wealth of antioxidants and other nutrients they contain.
It is a new generation of juices, gaining our preference and produced by known to many of us plants and fruits, such as pomegranate and aloe, but also unknown ones, such as Acai and and Goji Berry. But how do they differ from the usual juices and how beneficial are they to our health? The pharmacist Mr. Panagiotis Georgalas, answers our questions about these alternative products, which tend to evolve in a fashion, that has come to stay ...!
Aloe is a truly miraculous plant, explains Mr. Georgalas. It is known for its multiple effects and for the "coolness" that its aroma and juice emits.
"Aloe is very beneficial for the mouth and gums. It offers fast healing, as it enhances the function of the fibrous stem cells, which are responsible for the formation of collagen" explains the expert.
"It also has the capacity to improve the operation of the digestive system, helping the digestion process and bowel operation, meaning the smooth absorption of nutrients we get from our food. Aloe Vera has natural antioxidant properties. The frequent use of Aloe Vera juice can contribute to the regulation of intestinal operation and increased absorption of proteins, acting as a mild laxative, while it may reduce naturally, unfriendly body bacteria and yeasts. At the same time, it contributes to the reduction of heartburn sensation in the stomach and relieves from digestive disorders effectively, "notes the expert.
Although Aloe Vera is known for its external use on the skin, as it has anti-inflammatory and soothing action, the benefits of drinking the juice do not stop here. According to Mr. Georgalas, "Aloe Vera provides natural protection of the immune system," and adds: " Finally, aloe, like many other superfoods, may help to regulate weight and energy levels of the human body, as it guarantees an improved sense of wellness, allowing energy levels to increase and helping to maintain a healthy body weight.
Regarding its nutritional components, aloe is a rich source of minerals and vitamins."
► Goji Berry
Goji Berry, which means "berry of happiness" is a plant known for centuries in China and Tibet, while it recently begun to be planted experimentally in our country.
It is considered to be the number one anti-aging food, thanks to its wealthy content of antioxidants. It has much higher concentration of antioxidants, compared to other, 'traditional' antioxidant foods, such as orange. The orange contains 750 units of antioxidants (ORAC), versus 1260 units spinach contains, 2400 units in blackberry and more than 25000 units of Goji Berry! It also contains 500 times more vitamin C than oranges, contributing to strengthening the immune system significantly.
Goji Berry gives the body the necessary energy for its daily needs, even under stress. Reducing the harmful effects of free radicals, it appears that it protects the body from a wide range of diseases.
► The....lucky pomegranate
The juicy red seeds with the unique properties not only offer us health but also beauty. Antioxidants such as tannins, polyphenols, anthocyanins and many other valuable ingredients (vitamins, minerals, fibers) rank pomegranate as a super food. Surveys have shown that the levels of antioxidants in pomegranate juice are three times higher than green tea and red wine! "Pomegranate reduces blood pressure and improves sexual operation of men with erectile dysfunction. Moreover, it prevents the oxidation of "bad" cholesterol (LDL), which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and lowers the levels of total cholesterol, "says the expert.
► Acai Berry
Acai Berry is a unique fruit. Its content is 90 % seed and only 10 % is the jelly and peel, which contains many important nutrients. It originates from the Amazon, the tree looks like a palm tree and thrives in moist environments such as fens. The fruit’s flavour is a mixture between berry and chocolate and its color is magenta.
"Unfortunately, Acai Berry is not available as a fresh fruit, because its fruit loses all the nutrients a few hours after harvest. That is why the best products are those containing lyophilized Acai Berry», explains Mr. Georgalas.
In terms of nutritional value, Acai Berry is a food rich in fiber, because it lives and thrives in tropical climate. Its nutritional fibers are an essential part of a healthy diet as they help in the digestion process, stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce blood cholesterol levels. "Studies have shown that the Acai Berry is one of the most nutritious fruits on the planet. A nutritional anti-aging and overweight weapon (in conjunction with a balanced diet and exercise), has more antioxidants than any other food and is the ideal food supplement to the diet" the expert finally says.
So, the only thing left is to taste and take advantage of their "miraculous" and above all natural properties ...
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