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3 Good-for-You Drinks

3 Good-for-You Drinks

Can't remember your kid's cell phone number? Try a daily dose of apple juice.

Concerned about diabetes? Sip four cups of coffee a day. Sidelined by an achy knee? Start every morning with a big glass of fresh orange juice.

In apple juice, it's the antioxidants that do the trick. They boost the level of an all-important brain chemical, acetylcholine, that helps keep memory and learning skills in tip-top condition. What brings acetylcholine down? Three things appear likely: First, diet gaps (too little folate and vitamin E, too much iron). Second, aging. And third, unlucky genes. But when researchers fed apple juice concentrate to lab mice with one or more of these brain drains, their acetylcholine levels climbed and the critters did better in memory tests.

As for coffee and diabetes, in one study, four 8-ounce cups a day seemed to cut the risk of developing the disease by about one-third -- especially for the men, though why isn't clear. How does coffee do its thing? Probably by improving insulin sensitivity, which is key to keeping diabetes at bay. (If you're sensitive to caffeine, though, you may want to skip this tip.)

Finally, don't forget that good ol' breakfast staple: orange juice. There's something in OJ that relieves joint inflammation, and it appears to be more than just vitamin C. Although vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory, researchers found that middle-aged and older adults whose diets were highest in yet another antioxidant that oranges are rich in -- beta-cryptoxanthin (it's found in bell peppers, too) -- were much less likely to develop joint inflammation than those who got less of the nutrient.

Punchline: Consider what you pour as carefully as what you put on your plate.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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