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Juicy possibilities for your palate and your health

FRESH fruit and vegetable potions help you detox, fight jet lag and low immunity. A Healthy Living drinks menu helps travelers stay fit. Fei Lai takes a sip.

Summer is a good time to make your own fruit and vegetable juices in a blender or extractor. You get the vitamins, minerals and nutrients direct from nature.

Pear, apple, mango, carrot, tomato, berry and green vegetables also make delicious and healthy juices.

But experts point out that juices, though healthy, are no substitute for whole fruit in the daily diet as they contain little essential fiber and some vitamins are lost in mashing and squeezing.

"Natural juices from fruits and vegetables have some healing effects and help with detoxing, fatigue, digestion and skin quality," says Patricia Teixeira, a Brazilian nutritionist in Shanghai to launch the Healthy Living drink menu at the Park Hyatt.

"A mix-and-match thing will bring a magic touch to the drink's flavor and its function," she says of her selection of smoothies and juices.

The Care Smoothie is made with fresh raspberries, a powerful antioxidant, aloe vera, which aids digestion, and peaches, soy milk and ground almonds.

Peaches have a lot of lycopene and lutein, among other nutrients. Lycopene seems to have a protective effect against prostate cancer and lutein supports healthy eyes, says Teixeira.

The Health Smoothie is a delicious mix of banana, fresh-squeezed orange juice, strawberries, mint leaves, soy milk and ground almonds.

Strawberries support optimal health with antioxidants and beta-carotene that gives the bright red color to the fruit.

It helps protect against inflammation and heart disease, says Teixeira.

"Mint leaves have an exquisite fresh taste and support our digestive function," she says.

Anti-Jet Lag Juice includes kale, carrots, apple, salt and pumpkin seeds.

Kale supplies phytonutrients, helps in detox and helps one relax.

Carrots and apple balance blood sugar for a good nights' sleep.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to melatonin, the body's sleep hormone.

De-Tox Juice contains naval oranges, watermelon, mint and grape. Watermelon contains the amino acid citrulline that acts as a diuretic and helps detoxification.

Oranges contain vitamin C, bioflavonoid and fibers and helps lower cholesterol.

Purple/red grapes contain resveratrol that helps reduce inflammation and promotes healthy heart and arteries.

Immune System Juice contains oranges, pineapple, red apple and ginger. Ginger supports the immune system and helps fight and prevent colds. Oranges are rich in vitamin C and pineapple has an anti-inflammatory effect.

"This juice is ideal for you if you have a cold or flu-like symptoms," says the nutritionist.

Further, the enzymes in pineapple help resolve mucus in the respiratory tract and help clear the throat.

The last juice on the menu is Healthy Body Juice, which contains cucumber, beetroot, red apple and carrots.

"This fresh juice is rich in silica, which is known to support and strengthen the body's tissues," says Teixeira.

Beetroot, rich in iron and beta-carotene, supports the liver's detoxification function.

Apple contains pectin, a type of fiber that can absorb liquid and toxins. Carrots are rich in vitamin A.

"All these important nutrients will help you look great and feel good," she says. Teixeira, who has a background in physiology and sports biochemistry, says these fresh juices and concotions target common conditions of weary travelers, notably jet lag and immune deficiencies.

"The idea of taking time for a healthy breakfast rarely occurs to jet-setting business travelers," she says. "Guests want to maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling, so offering these drinks at the hotel is helpful."

However, according to Weight Watchers, an international provider of weight management services, pure fruit juice cannot take the place of whole fruits and vegetables.

Juices don't retain much of the fruits' and vegetables' valuable cellulose fiber. Some vitamins that are easily oxidized are destroyed in the mashing and squeezing process.

According to the Balanced Dietary Pagoda of the Chinese Nutrition Society, adults should eat 200-400 grams of fruit each day. Experts recommend a cup of fresh juice in the morning, but don't drink high-acid juices on an empty stomach, lest they cause upset.


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