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 Foods: Beverages 

Solid-carbon-block water filtration, reverse osmosis, and distillation are the predominant water purification processes. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but all are effective and helpful systems for home water use.

All living things need water to thrive and survive. Animals, both domestic and wild, the plants of nature, our garden, trees, and the grass on our front lawns?all require water to stay alive and grow. All of the other substances discussed here are basically water with some other nutrients or chemicals added, for which the water is the vehicle that carries them to the appropriate areas of our body.

Fruit Juices
The extracted liquids from fruits are particularly high in fructose, or fruit sugar, so they provide calories and energy. They also contain some vitamins and minerals, most commonly vitamin C and potassium. Other B vitamins, some vitamin A, and other minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, may be found in various fruit juices.

Orange juice and apple juice are the most consumed of the fruit juices. Grape juice, grapefruit juice, and prune juice are also used, most often as breakfast drinks. The nectars of pears, peaches, or apricots may be special treats as well. Some juices are used therapeutically, such as papaya or pineapple for digestion or cranberry juice for soothing urinary tract irritations.

Children may drink a lot of fruit juice, more than adults, who are more given to coffee, tea, or alcoholic beverages, though soda pops have replaced some of the more natural fruit juices in young people as well. Fruit juices are still useful, nourishing, and often a good way to obtain the concentrated juice of several pieces of fruit at one sitting.

Vegetables Juices
These are similar to fruit juices except that they are, of course, the extracted liquids of various vegetables. These are also liquids with concentrated nourishment, even more than the fruit juices. Vitamins A and C may be high, with some B vitamins also. The mineral content is usually fairly rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Tomato juice is the most commonly consumed vegetable juice, though other juices from carrots, beets, celery, and greens are also used. Fresh vegetable juices are available in health food stores more frequently now. Making vegetable juices at home requires rather complex equipment, though there are some simple, relatively inexpensive juicers to accomplish this.

More and more people are going back to juice fasting or cleansing for brief or extended periods of time as part of their yearly dietary program. Juice or liquid fasting is a traditional part of many cultures, both human and animal, and may be a very beneficial process to clear the body of maladies and revitalize the life force.

Milk is really more a food than a beverage. Its high fat, protein, calorie, and vitamin and mineral content, in fact, makes it a very nourishing food. And at mealtime, it should be considered a food and not something to be drunk along with meals.

Even though it is such a nourishing food, milk can pose problems. As discussed more thoroughly in Dairy, a previous section, milk can provide excessive fat and lead to cardiovascular problems in those who consume it in excess. And many people are allergic to milk or lactose intolerant, not possessing the enzyme lactase to metabolize the milk sugar.

(Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition ISBN: 1587611791)
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 About The Author
Elson Haas MDElson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more
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