The 10 Healthiest Beverages

If our article on America’s most unhealthy drinks left you confused and thirsty, Health Magazine has assembled a list of the 10 healthiest beverages. The list is primarily based on each beverage’s concentration of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are thought to neutralize free-radicals which can cause cell damage. One good rule of thumb is that fruit with a vivid color will be high in anti-oxidants. Be careful of over-consumption because many of the juices on the list contain a lot of natural sugar, so at some point you can mitigate a juice’s health benefits if you drink excessive amounts. Experts recommend drinking 1 to 2 six-ounce glasses of juice a day in combination with whole fruits for optimal health benefits. The list, inside…

10. Apple juice
Clarified apple juice is thought to have less nutritional benefit than unclarified apple juice.

9. Tea
Tea is said to do everything from inhibiting bad breath to boosting the immune system.

8. Orange juice
Oranges and other citrus fruits are a rich source of Vitamin C and flavanoids.

7. Cranberry juice
Cranberries are also a good source of Vitamin C. There is research to support the myth that cranberry juice can help prevent urinary tract infections. It is thought to help prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.

6. Açaí juice
Pronounced (ah-sci-ee), it is a rainforest berry that grows on palm trees the Amazon.

5. Black cherry juice
There is evidence that black cherry juice may diminish exercise-induced muscle injuries.

4. Blueberry juice
Blueberries are high in fiber and low in calories. Be the life of the party with funky blue teeth.

3. Concord grape juice
There is some research to support that grape juice is good for the heart and helps reduce blood pressure.

2. Red wine
What’s better than healthy booze? Does this mean you should drink a lot of wine? No, experts recommend no more than 2 glasses a day since too much alcohol can create health problems.

1. Pomegranate juice
According to CBS, “Pomegranate is the healthiest of them all because it contains the most of every type of antioxidant. It wins in all categories. And it’s thought that it might do some very good things; it may protect against some cancers, such as prostate cancer. It might also modify heart disease risk factors, and it could be healthy for your heart. So pomegranate was the clear winner. “

Pomegranate Ranked Healthiest Fruit Juice [CBS]
Pomegranate Juice is Packed With Antioxidants [Health Magazine]
Fab 4: juices that serve up a bounty of health benefits [BNet]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. donkeyjote says:

    Does Arizona iced or green tea count?

  2. Jay Slatkin says:

    @donkeyjote: Green tea, yes. I’m not exactly sure of Arizona’s ingredients, however.

  3. Phas3Sh1ft says:

    I’m wondering about tea… Sure all (real) tea is healthy for you, but not all teas are created equal. I wonder what the best kind of tea is or if, let’s say, green tea is better than earl gray. Any ideas?

  4. donkeyjote says:

    @Jay Slatkin: I meant Arizon Green Tea (With Ginseng, natch) :P

    @Phas3Sh1ft: Green tea tastes good, earl gray gives you the shits, and black tea tastes like ashfault.

  5. Anonymous says:

    @Phas3Sh1ft: If Long Island Iced Tea counts, then I’m the healthiest guy here.

  6. ratnerstar says:

    There is research to support the myth that cranberry juice can help prevent urinary tract infections. It is thought to help prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.

    If there is research to support this, why call it a myth?

  7. weakdome says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but if I have a cup of hot tea, within 10 minutes NOBODY would want to smell my breath. Gives me cotton-mouth like you wouldn’t believe.

  8. alumicor says:

    @weakdome: You need to stop smoking giant doobies before drinking your tea.

    ;)

  9. I grew up in a Baptist church so 2 and 3 are the same thing to me.

  10. formergr says:

    Or there’s always water– I know, what a concept. It goes against the purpose of the article, but it really is way healthier (and less weight gain inducing) to get your antioxidants, etc from actual fruit and just drink water than it is to drink juice.

  11. opsomath says:

    Going just based on antioxidants is a bad idea, because as they mentioned, sugar content is also a factor. Also artificial sweeteners.

    As a confirmed coffee addict, I would also like to put forth coffee as possessing quite a few benefits as well, antioxidant content, reduced risk of liver disease, and others I don’t recall. YMMV of course. Plus it’s tasty and noncaloric.

    I believe pomegranate juice to be somewhat faddishly overpriced right now, though. I think the also-mentioned grape, cranberry, and blueberry juices have similar or higher levels of proven benefits, and don’t cost like $8 for a bottle.

    Good list, guys! Much better results than that one on healthiest supermarket foods.

    @donkeyjote: Arizona green tea contains massive amounts of high fructose corn syrup, I believe. Pretty sure this mitigates any health benefits you might get from the green tea.

    If you want healthy iced tea, you pretty much need to brew your own or pay for the ‘spensive type like Honest Tea.

  12. milk says:

    @The Rude Bellman: My Catholic boyfriend was shocked to hear we don’t actually drink wine.

    @donkeyjote: I’m guessing any kind of tea for purchase has an unreasonable amount of sugar in it (she says as she drinks her sweet tea from McDonald’s).

  13. dequeued says:

    Does anyone do seltzer?
    My girlfriend and I are addicted to the stuff, as is my boss.

    It is fizzy and cleans your palette, but it contains zero calories and a little bit of salt.
    Also, a quart of seltzer costs less than a small bottle of water.

  14. rhpot1991 says:

    All tea is healthy for you, though some variants have more antioxidants than others (with black being the lowest due to the way it is processed). That being said, you need to watch what kind of iced tea you get from the stores, they are not equal. You do not want things made from tea extracts or powders, and most of them that are not found in the organic isle will be filled with nasty HFCS. Honest, Inkos, Steaz (soda with green tea as its base) are all very good. With that said, people who love the tea sweet may not enjoy most of them and might want to look for something like Lipton Pure Leaf that is made with actual tea and cane sugar.

  15. trioxinaddict says:

    @opsomath: “‘spensive type like Honest Tea.”
    Honest Tea is expensive where you live? It’s not really cheap, but the price is usually comparative, or even a little less, then a bottle of Arizona tea.

    My best source for healthy cheap tea-on-the-go is a grocery store generic. A lot of grocery stores have healthy-type organic store brands now, and they usually sell their fancy teas for a dollar a bottle or a little less.

  16. MrEvil says:

    More propaganda from the Pomegranate growers. Seriously, who knew what the hell a Pomegranate was 10 years ago? Now everything comes in Pomegranate flavor.

  17. Lars says:

    There’s not a lot of evidence to support the idea that drinks high in anti-oxidants do much of anything for you. And as for fruit drinks, you’re much better off eating the whole fruit as opposed to drinking the juice. Much of the health benefits are being pushed by manufacturers who profit from the extreme mark up in pricing that juice enjoys over whole fruit.

  18. homerjay says:

    @MrEvil: Pomagranitee martiti’s for everyone!

    Looks like “Big Pom” has gotten to me, too!

  19. Mozoltov, motherfucker says:

    Protip: Never drink “straight” Pomagranite juice, it’s like drinking the tartest cranberry juice you can find, letting it sit in a celler for a year, pouring a ton of siugar in it and drinking it.

  20. Mozoltov, motherfucker says:

    @Lars: I got a Vitamix expressly for this. Throw a handfull of blueberrys, pitted cherries, mango and whatever, with a big of yogurt and blend away.

  21. reykjavik says:

    “According to CBS” LOL… yeah, I’m sure they received no monetary compensation for saying that. The fact that pomegranate companies are making a huge push and advertising like crazy on their networks had nothing to do with the decision. And thats assuming it wasn’t an outright advertorial to begin with.

    Ever notice that 20/20, Dateline and smaller segments like 7 On Your Side or Fox 5 Problem Solvers are more than willing to do pieces on small business that never advertise with them? When was the last time 20/20 or Dateline did a piece on Ford, GM or the major american companies that majorly profit from Burma? Never?!?! and I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that they are their largest advertisers, right?

    If you ever trust a major broadcast news program then you’re an idiot that will believe anything.

  22. donkeyjote says:

    @me and the sysop: EWWW. Mcdonalds sweet tea is straight garbage. Get yo self to a White Castle, stat!

  23. libbybee says:

    You know, even though everyone and their mother is pushing pomegranate juice at us and I know it’s just a marketing tactic (mark my words, the Açaí berries are next!) I freaking love that stuff. I wish that I could find the actual fruit in the stores around here. Only ever eaten a pomegranate once, but it was mucho delicious.

  24. ElizabethD says:

    Never mind blueberry juice. This time of year in the northern hemisphere, eat FRESH BLUEBERRIES by the carton-full. I do! Yum.

  25. MameDennis says:

    @libbybee:
    I have to admit, I don’t have the patience to deal with all those little blasted seeds in a whole pomegranate. But the juice is pure fruity goodness!

  26. cerbie says:

    @opsomath: 1) Natural sugar content may be a factor, but how are artificial sweeteners? None of the items in the list need artificial sweetening. Tea is the only thing that needs any, and a wee little bit of plain sugar or honey goes a long way (1tsp/cup or less).

    2) Cranberry and blueberry juices were only $1 less than pomegranate yesterday, when I was shopping. $8 v. $7 for the Knudsen. Yes, pomegranate is expensive, but everything else is, too. Of course, cranberry really begs to be part of a mix, where blueberry and pomegranate are fine by themselves. Oddly, if any place would carry it, there is a juice company in my state selling pomegranate juice, non-filtered, cheaper than the natural brands. Sadly, it’s not cheaper when it takes a 50 mile trip to find some (especially since I can get their other juices around town).

    3) hunt local Asian markets and health food stores for good loose leaf tea. Get a spice ball, some tea, and learn to brew it. It is expensive by weight, but not by amount of tea you get from it.

  27. backbroken says:

    Ok, so where is the evidence that anti-oxidants do anything for you?

    I just hate it when marketing hype is just assumed to be true. Of course, if there are a wealth of double-blind studies that prove anti-oxidants are beneficial, then please correct me.

  28. bmwloco says:

    V8 has come out with their “Fusion” drinks. One serving of fruit and veggies in one 8 ounce glass.

    I’ve been drinking it for the last couple weeks. It’s pretty good, and it’s loaded with anti-oxidants too.

    [www.v8juice.com]

    They run about $3.82 a gallon at the stores here; I noticed too, that was WIC approved, so if you’re on Food Stamps, they smile upon it. So our Government thinks it’s good for you too…

  29. waza says:

    what about beer ?

  30. @Phas3Sh1ft: They have different amounts/kinds of antioxidants, but they’re all good for you … and they’re all zero-calorie until you start adding sweetener. So just find some teas you like without sweetener and call it a day. :D

    (We have a friend who’s trying to lose weight, but because coffee is calorie free, it doesn’t count — and he routinely adds FIVE TEASPOONS sugar to a single cup of coffee. Might as well just drink soda, geez!)

  31. Angryrider says:

    Apple Juice? I hate that stuff. It gives me nasty runs.

    @bmwloco: So are White Castle Hamburgers that are frozen. Don’t need to go braggin’ aboot it.

    I’ll just stick with my veggies and fruits.

  32. JollyJumjuck says:

    I wonder why unsweetened grapefruit juice didn’t make the list?

  33. Nayrlladnar says:

    V8!!

    Although, it has quite a lot of sodium.

  34. blue_duck says:

    @ratnerstar: Could be complete BS, but my friend was told that cranberry juice (that she drank all the time) actually contributed to her kidney stones and what not…

  35. darksunfox says:

    The list kind of seems to be some shaky science, that or they had about five items in mind and came up with another five. It doesn’t even say what the health benefits of apple juice are (I’ve always thought of it as one of the lesser beneficial juices in my novice way), ditto acui juice (although it was nice of them to point out that they had to deforest the Amazon to get it, therefore it must be good!). On top of that, as a tea drinker, it doesn’t even mention which types of teas are good for you. Green tea? Black tea? Herbal tea? Peppermint chai? Arizona ubersweet?

    Writer: “Editor, we’re making a top 10 list of healthy drinks. We’re up to 8.”
    Editor: “What about tea? That’s supposed to be good for you.”
    Writer: “Ooh, good one!”
    Editor: “Well, one of our sponsors this month is Mott’s, how about apple juice?”
    Writer: “I can work with it.”

  36. oneliketadow says:

    Most apple juice is completely useless since it’s been pasteurized and has no vitamins in it anymore (unless they’ve been added back in). At that point, it’s brown Kool-aid.

  37. apotheosis says:

    Yeah, that pomegranate thing really worked out well for Persephone.

    DON’T BE FOOLED, PEOPLE!

  38. @weakdome: Agreed. Only happens when I drink hot tea though. I wonder if there is any validity behind that?

  39. what about water?

    oh and if you are worried about heart disease and certain cancers, i highly doubt juice is going to fix ya. if you don’t want these things prevention is key. you can avoid so many problems with diet and lifestyle cahnges and if you want drink some juice

  40. Ubik2501 says:

    A glass/bottle of beer actually has many of the same health benefits as a glass of red wine – including the stress relief, reduction in blood pressure and polyphenols – and, if you’re drinking an unfiltered beer, the residual yeast provides a great deal of B vitamins as well. Many stouts have a surprisingly low glycemic index as well, so if carbohydrate consumption is an issue, beers such as Guinness are actually better for you than many “lighter” beers.

    Of course, this all comes with the caveat that drinking more than one or two beers per day comes with its own negative health effects.

  41. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    The only people helped by pomegranate juice are the makers of the stuff.
    Have you seen how much that stuff costs?

    It’s this year’s health scam.

  42. darkryd says:

    Water! Water!!

  43. darkryd says:

    @Ubik2501: Beer is higher in carbs and calories than wine, though.

    You’ll gain weight faster with beer.

  44. The best kind of pomegranete and cranberry juice is from Trader Joes, they are 100% juice with no sugar added. The cranberry one will kick your ass if you don’t put sugar in it. But great for a UTI

  45. n0ia says:

    @MrEvil: I’m pretty sure the pomegranate has been around for over 2000 years.

    Referenced in Song of Solomon:
    [www.biblegateway.com]

  46. No mention of milk? WTF?

  47. Montaigne says:

    How did V8 not make the list? I wonder if its because of the sodium content, but let me tell you I drink the stuff every morning. It is probably one of the better habits I have acquired in my 27 years on earth.

  48. Caslonbold says:

    Water is the best beverage. If you can purify it thru triple osmosis that is water at it’s best.

    If you want to drink juice then make your own. The juice you buy in stores is dead juice. It has no vitamins or life left.
    Store bought apple juice is just brown apple tasting liquid with a small percentage of apple juice and the rest is high fructose corn syrup and chemicals. They have to add back any vitamins to store processed juice as it is destroyed by light, air, and pasturization.

    Try this – juice a few apples or oranges and then taste the store juice version. One is real juice and the other is what the US food machine passes off as juice with their special added chemicals. Real juice is amazing and actually does contain beneficial anti-oxidants and vitamins.

    I understand people need to grab something quickly to drink at a store or from a vending machine but don’t believe you are actually getting real juice from anything that is mass produced. Read the labels.

  49. Ssscorpion says:

    Ah, but the question is: Does pomegranate juice taste good?

  50. jcargill says:

    donkeyjote and jayslatkin: stay away from Arizona Ice Tea. It is nothing more than a high fructose corn syrup coctail.

  51. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    What about lemonade? Its got fruit!
    @trioxinaddict: You need to watch store-brand generic tea, lots of it is made from powder.
    Publix is brewed, Red Diamond is brewed, T.G. Lee is made from mix and tastes like it’s made from dirt.

  52. firesign says:

    @Ssscorpion: no. no it does not.

  53. lalaland13 says:

    I was hoping to see water on here-but it does it not count? Is it like calling white a color or something?

    I drink mostly water, occasionally sweet tea. But I fill up my Brita pitcher just about every day, and I live alone. I stopped drinking soda and tried to drink some a day or two ago and it tasted OK, but then I got the weirdest headache and felt crappy after less than half a can of Diet Coke with lime. So I tossed it. Not saying I’m superior to anyone else, but it’s weird how your body gets used to certain things and punishes you if you deviate from it.

  54. ogremustcrush says:

    Wasn’t there just a study recently that showed that anti-oxidants have a much lower impact on total heath that previously thought. I recall that it said something like as long as you have enough of them that you don’t get scurvy, you don’t get any benefit from having more. It seems like new research is pointing towards Vitamin D as being the new “wonder nutrient,” but this stuff all seems to change and end up being pointless in the end.

  55. johnva says:

    @darkryd: Only if you overdo it. Anything with calories will make you fat if you eat/drink too much of it and aren’t active.

  56. The Master of Reason says:

    Açaí juice? Really, now. I only ever see that stuff at Jamba Juices and listed in products that contain GUARANTEED 100MG NATURAL ANTIOXIDANTS IN EACH SERVING!!!!!!!111LOL. Somehow, people managed to be more-or-less healthy for hundreds of years without pomegranite juice or açaí extract.

    What ever happened to just eating a balanced diet? It’s not like that açaí smoothie you just drank is going to offset the extra value meal you have for lunch, folks.

  57. The Master of Reason says:

    Also I would be willing to be that just about any kind of fresh fruit is probably better for you than açaí or pomegranate juice, both of which are usually heavily sweetened. Even unsweetened fruit juice still has a lot of calories – drinking it as a beverage along with food is a good way to gain weight.

  58. IrisMR says:

    It’s all about the tea, baby! I’m a big tea drinker. Though frankly I don’t do it for the health. It just tastes great and it amazes me how many flavor varieties you can make out of the exact same plant.

    I’m terribly picky mind you. I just buy my tea from a fancy costly tea shop. Aren’t I classy.

  59. suebob says:

    They left out coffee, which is very high in antioxidants. Is this an anti-java prejudice?

    [www.physorg.com]

  60. tom says:

    As others have said: this list is pretty lame. There isn’t even any discussion of what antioxidants *are* or what health benefits they might confer. And the idea of drinking juice for fiber is mostly ridiculous. What do you think you’re straining out of the plant to make the juice? It’s hard to imagine someone being better off drinking any of these juices than if they’d simply eaten the fruit instead — it’d mean less sugar and more fiber at the very least.

    More to the point, this piecemeal approach to health is silly. There is the question of *enough* with respect to vitamins and minerals, but that is irrelevant for anyone eating an even vaguely balanced diet (or capable of downing a multivitamin). Once you satisfy that condition, the idea that getting more of a particular food will improve your health is, by and large, pretty dumb. Changing the proportion of various foods in your diet — juice instead of soda, say — may be a good idea. Simply downing an extra “healthy” item is unlikely to do much of anything.

    Those looking for healthier beverage options would probably be best-served by training themselves to enjoy the taste of water (forgetting about the “triple osmotic” ridiculousness mentioned above, to which minerals are actually reintroduced — perfectly pure water tastes awful, as anyone who’s bought a jug of distilled H2O from the grocer can attest). It’s not hard! I don’t mean to imply that water will help you live forever, but at least it’ll provide something to drink that won’t make you any fatter, unlike the juices listed above. Seriously: do you really think those antioxidants are so good for you as to offset the insulin shock produced by all that sugar? Or, if you drink enough of that stuff, the negative cardiovascular effects related to the weight produced by all those extra calories?

    FWIW, I’m also a fan of black coffee, which has been shown to have hepatoprotective effects (minimizes cirrhosis in alcoholics) and neuroprotective effects (there’s indication that coffee drinkers are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s). Hey, look at that — actual, specific health benefits rather than vague allusions to antioxidants!

  61. czarandy says:

    There’s no such thing as “boosting the immune system”. It has no medical meaning.

  62. joebobfunguy says:

    Shouldn’t this list be nothing but teas?

  63. Rippleeffect says:

    @The Master of Reason: There’s ways to get the juice not smushed up in that smoothie. I drink and sell the stuff on the side. Costco also has a blueberry acai blend now. Pretty expensive stuff to drink, but you’d be surprised at how good you feel after stickin with it everyday.
    I feel so run down after missing a day.

  64. RodAox says:

    Ahh, water did not make the list ? What the heck is wrong with just plain high quality H20 ?

  65. i bet pomegranete juice companies paid for this

  66. gliscameria says:

    @RodAox: Water sucks it really really sucks…

  67. Ubik2501 says:

    @darkryd: Yes, but that’s only really critical if you’re already eating badly and not getting exercise. The difference between, say, a glass of red wine and a pint of Guinness is actually fairly negligible. Granted, there can be massive caloric differences between beers (I don’t even want to think of how many calories a Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA has!), but unless you’re drinking several glasses of barleywine per night beer isn’t that much worse.

    On another note, I’m with everybody else who’s wondering why good ol’ water isn’t on this list. I cut down on drinking juice, tea and coffee and completely eliminated soda from my diet, and started drinking water all the time instead. I lost almost 20 pounds within a few months just by doing that, and if you’re not dumb enough to keep buying bottled water constantly (use a Pur/Brita filter and keep a water bottle on you!) it’s far cheaper as well.

    And pomegranite juice winning this is mostly hilarious. It may do this, it could do that, but what it’ll certainly do is hit your a) wallet and b) waistline, unless you buy fairly specialized drinks or prepare your own. One small container of POM has just as much sugar as a can of Coke, for crying out loud!

  68. Ssscorpion says:

    No Mountain Dew on the list?

    It’s made of dew … from the mountain, fer Chrissakes!

    How much healthier can you get than that?

  69. donkeyjote says:

    @Caslonbold: When I need life in my juice, I drink the blood of virgins, but the god damned economy is so screwed up that virgins come at a premium, that is, if you can even find one…

  70. donkeyjote says:

    @lalaland13: White IS a color. It’s every color to boot. Now black, black is’nt a color. It’s the lack of color. Unless you start talking about black in fabrics. Then it’s just really alot of purple.

  71. The Master of Reason says:

    @donkeyjote: In printing it is quite the opposite, you know.

  72. Booji_Boy says:

    Did anyone actually read the attached article? The only criteria used for the rankings was the amount of antioxidants in the drink, hence the absence of water and milk in the list. And the article gives no evidence that antioxidants are good for you.

  73. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    I’m surprised yerba mate is not on the list. It’s packed with dozens of vitamins and minerals.

  74. forgottenpassword says:

    I am addicted to lipton tea in the glass bottles! Lipton sweetened tea (with NO lemon) to be specific. I cant stand the taste of green tea…. its disgusting.

    I like juice, but most are just too sweet/tart & just assaults my tastebuds.

  75. backbroken says:

    No word yet from the pro-oxidants contingency. man do they have a terrible lobby.

  76. SecureLocation says:

    Blueberies may have lots of fibre but I kinda doubt blueberry juice does.

  77. theRIAA says:

    pomegranate/grape/blueberry wine…

  78. mthrndr says:

    Uh, wtf? Where’s coffee? Sure, fruit juices are probably better for you overall, but coffee beats the pants off tea in terms of antioxidants. [www.webmd.com]
    Also, I don’t know what it is, but I can drink coffee in the AM no problem. But if I have a cup of tea before noon, I basically feel like I’m gonna die for about 2 hours – extreme nausea and headache. In the afternoon it’s ok. So in short, no coffee? screw this list.

  79. varro says:

    @MrEvil: Pearl pomegranate vodka.

    It probably has to do with the woman who owns the POM company doing a PR blitz…she owned a big PR company before getting into the juice biz.

    I knew about pomegranate juice back in the 70s….although I thought it was a silly word Timer made up on those “Sunshine on a stick” commercials…

  80. j-yo says:

    Hurray for red wine! I’m so glad it made the list. I also like cranberry juice but would like to warn others to read the labels — some “cranberry cocktails” are nothing but a trace of cranberry mixed with a ton of flavorings and high fructose corn syrup.

    So skim milk didn’t make the top 10?

  81. Burgandy says:

    @libbybee: I’ll let you know next time my neighbor is out of town and ship you a bunch of them. He never picks them and the bush is right next to the wall… :)

  82. @cubensis: There’s a Pomegranate lemonade out there that supports that…

    But MAN I like sour stuff!

  83. halftank says:

    Uh, WATER, hello? Most of the above is loaded w/sugar.

  84. CrazyRedd says:

    One thing to note: while all these juices are very nutritious, you still need to be vigilant about sweeteners and additives. For things like cranberry juice though, you NEED the sweet–trust me! I would recommend eating the fruits listed when/if you can. Drinking calories is still not as good as eating them: your body reacts better to a belly full of blueberries than one of blueberry juice, trace amounts of fiber being present in a lot of whole fruits.