We’ve been talking for years about the benefits of drinking fresh juice. It’s good for you, builds immunity, has antioxidants, lots of vitamins, the whole nine yards. But I don’t think we’ve ever come right out and said, “Hey! You’re sick; drink this!” We’re usually pretty cautious about making any health claims and pretty clear that you should talk to a health care professional if you’re really sick. Well, you should still do that, and I’m still not an expert on health care...but this month I’ve done some research on what to drink when you’re sick, and I’m letting you in on what I found. We’ll start with single-ingredient juices that are particularly healthful and then we’ll talk combos.

Beets

The juice ingredient I’m always most leery of turns out, of course, to be the one with the best supported and most direct health benefit—beets. Beets are high in iron, potassium, Vitamin C, and calcium. So, if you’re feeling fatigued, have some beet juice. It’s also good for treating anemia, liver problems, and recent studies show it can have a direct and fairly immediate impact on lowering your blood pressure.

Carrots

Fortunately, beet juice is pretty strong so you don’t need much-plus it tastes better combined with other ingredients. One of the things we combine it with is carrot juice. Its natural sweetness dilutes the stronger beet flavor. It is also the best source of vitamin A you can get in your daily diet. What’s that good for? Well, if you are having trouble driving at night, this might help. Night blindness is sometimes the result of a vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A won’t cure cataracts or macular degeneration, but it will help prevent these from happening in the first place. Carrot juice is also good for constipation, and one study has linked carrot juice with a decrease in precancerous lesions in the colon.

Apples

Speaking of colon health, apples are another valuable tool in maintaining it. Apple juice not only helps keep you regular, but procyanidins (a chemical found in apples) have also been shown to reduce lesions in the colon. Your heart also benefits from apple juice. Much like red wine and tea, phytonutrients in apple juice can delay the breakdown of LDL (bad) cholesterol. So, if you have high cholesterol, apple juice can help.

Magical elixirs

Okay, so that brings us to combinations of juices suggested by various experts to treat specific issues. My first suggestion is that if you’re worn out and having trouble seeing how high your cholesterol is, you should come to the Juice Bar and try a Beetnik—it’s carrot, apple, and beet juice. While you’re at the Juice Bar, you can try one of our other combinations to help with your particular symptoms. The Popeye is made with the juice of spinach, beets, and carrots. It can help reduce acid build-up, help cleanse the blood of LDL cholesterol, and help with constipation. If you have a cold coming on, try the Caribbean Queen. Made with orange, lemon, and ginger juice, it’s a strong dose of Vitamin C backed up with the sinus clearing power of ginger. Or, you could try the Rising Sun. It’s carrot, apple, and ginger and will not only help you fight that cold, it’s a great pick-me-up in the morning.

We also give you the option of creating your own juice, and here are some suggestions for combinations from The Complete Raw Juice Therapy by Thorsons Publishing, Heinerman’s The Encyclopedia of Juicing, and Juicing For Life by Cherie Calbom & Maureen Keane. Try apple, spinach, and parsley to help with arthritis pain. For relief from colitis try carrot, kale, and parsley. Finally, for skin irritations such as dermatitis or eczema try carrot, cucumber, and celery.

So we talked some specifics and it’s time once again for that eternal reminder—if you are really sick, don’t take my word for what you should do! Talk to a health care professional, and remember that the best therapies are usually a combination of treatments.