The doctor is in: Here's what you can do for better health

There are a lot of juices or so-called super food ingredients that promise to provide you with great health benefits such as glowing skin or anti-aging.

But Dr. Patrick Carter, Chief of the Family Medicine Department at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic warns there's no quick fix for good health, especially when it comes to weight loss.

"I don't think there's any validity to the idea that certain juices or certain substances increase your metabolic rate or burn fat faster. I don't think there's any truth to that," he said. "When you get down to it, it's how many calories are you taking in and how many calories are you burning."

Should you try a juice cleanse or liquid diet? Get the answers straight from the source, Wednesday morning on ABC13 Eyewitness News from 4:30 to 7:00 a.m.

Here's what Carter says does work.

Digestion problems?

Reach for sweet fruits. Dr. Carter says they tend to have sorbitol, which acts as a natural laxative if you have trouble with constipation or irregularity.

Prune juice and apple juice are some of the classics that contain a lot of sorbitol.

"If it's whole fruit juices where the entire fruit is in there and it's not strained or anything, most fruits can have quite a bit of fiber as well," Carter said.

Is there anything I can drink to boost my immune system?

If you're thinking you can bulk up on certain foods to keep the sickness away, guess again.

"I don't think there's any validity to the idea that certain foods boost your immune system. A good healthy diet, being well nourished in general and exercising, that will keep your immune system as good as it's going to be," Carter explained. "I don't think there's any magic potion to boosting the immune system."

Adding a lot of Vitamin C might not be the best option either.

"Oranges have a lot of vitamin C, but the fact of the matter is most people are not vitamin C deficient. You don't see much in the way of Vitamin C deficiency at least in the United States," he continued. "Even people that don't have a particularly healthy diet don't tend to be vitamin C deficient unless there's something else going on."

What could help fight the signs of aging?

According to Carter, there are no quick fixes or shortcuts here, either. Instead, it's about using a number of things collectively and maintaining good habits.

"I know that's a common claim for super nutrients or super fruits. I don't think there's any long - term evidence that they're making a difference in terms of longevity," he said. "Exercise, don't smoke. That helps with longevity. Lose weight if you're overweight."

Are there juices or ingredients that can boost organ function?

Drinking plenty of fluids in general are good for your kidneys, whether it's water or juice. Just make sure you don't overdo it on the sugar.

"Plain fruit juices without any added sugar are typically fine, but the fruit itself is not what's helping your kidneys. It's the fluid, it's the water really that's helping your kidneys function well," Carter advises.

By the way, alcohol is not on the fluids list.

"Alcohol is not particularly good because it ends up dehydrating you. Alcohol is a bit of a diuretic, so you end up losing more fluid," Carter said.

When it comes to juicing whole fruits and vegetables, Dr. Carter says those are fair game because the dietary benefits you get from them (the vitamins, the fiber, the fluids), are the same as eating them.

He also adds that you'll want to drink plenty of fluids to cleanse your body.

If you're bones need strengthening, your best bet is still milk.

"For strong bones, calcium and vitamin D are thought to be the nutrients. So calcium from milk and dairy products but also leafy vegetables, those sort of things. A lot of women over 50 take calcium supplements for good reason, to prevent osteoporosis," Carter says.

Calcium supplements with vitamin D are also available over the counter.
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