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Concord Grape Juice Keeps Cough At Bay

Posting Date: 10/17/2005

Q. My wife used to get sore throats every winter. They?d hang on for weeks and develop into a loud, hacking cough. Until she recovered, neither of us would get much sleep.

Then I remembered that my sister had a similar problem with her four growing boys. In desperation, she tried a remedy she read about: drinking "red" grape juice regularly.

Both my wife and I started drinking a glass of Concord grape juice every day fall through spring, and the problem vanished. Since then, we?ve almost never had a sore throat or bad cough.

We drink half a glass of grape juice and add a half glass of water. We make the juice from frozen concentrate. Do you know why this works?

A. Purple grape juice has a surprising number of potential health benefits. Research has shown that it can reduce bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure and help keep blood vessels flexible. There is even some data to suggest ingredients in grapes may affect the immune system. Whether this effect would help ward off sore throats and coughs we do not know.

Q. Are there any foods or supplements that are especially bad for people who get kidney stones? I would like to know what to avoid and what would be helpful. I never want to experience the pain of passing a stone again.

A. The most important recommendation for avoiding kidney stones is to drink plenty of fluids. But the type of beverage you choose makes a difference.

Grapefruit and cranberry juices may actually increase the risk of kidney stone formation. Orange juice and lemonade lower the chances of developing a stone. They increase citrate in the urine, and that reduces the crystallization of calcium oxalate into kidney stones.

Recent research (Journal of Nutrition, July, 2005) suggests that high doses of vitamin C (2000 mg daily) can increase the risk of oxalate kidney stones.