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Antioxidant Drinks: The Top Ten

May 20th, 2009


How does your favorite juice stack up?

There was a time not too long ago when most people would look at you like you were crazy if you started talking about the dangers of free radicals and  how antioxidants protect your body from their effects.  But the value of antioxidants is common knowledge now, we know they slow the aging process, protect health in hundreds of ways  and reduce the risk of all kinds of disease. Consumers feel good about purchasing and using anything they know to be high in antioxidants; brands have capitalized on this by giving high profiles to the antioxidant content of the foods, drinks and supplements they make.

A few types of beverages, but particularly fruit juices,  have been heavily promoted for their antioxidant benefits, usually as a result of the natural polyphenols they contain.  From overpriced multilevel marketed acai drinks to pomegranate, grape juices and others, products in all of these categories claim to be antioxidant-rich. But there are different ways of assessing the strength and benefits of an antioxidant, and it’s never been clear to the consumer which drinks deliver the strongest antioxidant benefits, or if there is a difference.

A UCLA study from last year was one of the first to put a number of these different antioxidant-rich beverages through a well-designed series of functional tests – rather than just one or two – to rank their antioxidant benefits.  Several brands were used for each of the following beverage types, ranked below from strongest to weakest. Pomegranate juice was way ahead of the pack by at least 20% with red wine a surprising second.   Acai is in the middle of the range while iced tea and apple have less to boast about in terms of antioxidant strength.

1.  Pomegranate Juice
2.  Red wine
3.  Concord grape juice
4.  Blueberry juice
5.  Black cherry juice
6.  Açaí juice
7.  Cranberry juice
8.  Orange juice
9.  Iced tea
10. Apple juice

Supplements  made from these polyphenol-rich fruits weren’t tested or compared in this study.  But it’s no great leap to extrapolate these juice results to dry supplements. After all, this was strictly a test of antioxidant function and supplement forms of these fruits are formulated entirely around their polyphenol content, yet  have the sugars and water removed.  Supplements won’t take the place of fruit juices, but they are a much more concentrated and cost-effective way to get these antioxidants.

Pomegranate juice from Jarrow Formulas

Pomegranate juice from Jarrow Formulas

8 Responses to “Antioxidant Drinks: The Top Ten”

  1. June 25, 2009 at 6:51 pm, Antioxidantsguide said:

    I like your list of drinks. The list is very helpful.

  2. September 11, 2009 at 9:43 am, Antioxidant Fruits said:

    Antioxidants consist of a group of substances such as vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, enzymes and amino acids that prevent cell oxidation and thus prevent damage to your healthy cells.

  3. March 22, 2011 at 10:48 am, Rosetta said:

    Our g3 drink has not been evaluated with these drinks…that will be important to check out.

  4. March 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm, Paul_Baeyens said:

    Rosetta, I haven’t heard of G3 before, can you tell me more about it? -Paul

  5. November 03, 2011 at 11:32 pm, Luigi said:

    Whoa! Let me get this straight. The featured Pomegranate juice has 24 Fl oz, slightly more than a can of soda, with 47 servings. If my math is correct, this 24 fl oz bottle would have 1,700 calories and 329 grams of sugar! And this is beneficial to your body? Who are they trying to kid?

  6. December 04, 2011 at 5:34 pm, Tom said:

    I have heard the hot chocolate is high in antioxidants. How would it measure up on this list?

  7. December 08, 2011 at 1:18 pm, admin said:

    The 24oz JARROW PomeGreat has 47.3 servings with 36 calories per serving so you are right if you drank the whole bottle you would consume 1,700 calories. If you stick to the serving size of 102 tablespoons a day you only consume 36 calories and 7g sugar which is a very low number if you mix it with a shake or glass of water. All fruit naturally has a lot of sugar, but the antioxidant benefits are tremendous.

  8. March 15, 2016 at 8:00 am, Frank said:

    What about coffee?

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