Juicing undoubtedly has some great health benefits and can form part of a balanced diet. Recently I gave a talk in conjunction with Currys exploring the pros and cons of juicing to see just how worthwhile it is including them in your daily diet.
Juicing helps increase the absorption of valuable phytonutrients from plant foods by literally “pre-digesting” food for you. Valuable and sensitive micronutrients often become damaged when you heat foods. Cooking and processing destroys these micronutrients by altering their shape and chemical composition. Thus the typical Western diet is often deficient in these health-giving “live” enzymes. Fresh juices are an exceptional way to provide your body with live enzymes that are found abundantly in plant life, feeding good bacteria, suppressing the growth of bad bacteria and yeast.
Vitamins and Minerals also become more bio-available as they are more easily transported across the intestine wall into the bloodstream. Plant life utilizes minerals directly from the soil in which they grow. Green leafy vegetables are the best plant sources of many minerals, especially calcium.
Fresh juices also provide an abundance of antioxidants, which can neutralize free radicals and greatly diminish their ability to harm the body. When juicing regularly you can expect an increase in valuable antioxidants such as Vitamin A, C, E and the mineral selenium.
Virtually every health authority recommends that we get 6-8 servings of vegetables and fruits per day and very few of us actually get that. Juicing is an easy way to guarantee that you will reach your daily target for fruit and vegetables.
Juicing is not all positive and we should be weary of the lack of fibre and increase of fructose from juicing too many fruits.
Juicing machines extract the juice and leave behind the pulp, which has all of the valuable fibre. Fibre can help us avoid and or relieve constipation as it absorbs water in the bowels helping stools stay softer and making them easier to pass through the gastro intestinal system. Fibre also helps control weight as it adds bulk to food satisfying hunger and regulating blood sugar. The inclusion of adequate fibre in the diet has been proven to prevent diseases such as gallstones, kidney stones, diverticular disease, cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Without fibre we are left with all of the fructose (fruit sugar). A diet high in fructose can cause the liver to be overloaded as it struggles to metabolise all of it and begins to store the excess as fat. Too much fructose consumption can disturb digestion causing gas, bloating and/or diarrhea. Fructose impairs the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels and can have some profoundly toxic effects on the body. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition links the increased consumption of fructose with the acceleration of obesity in America. Therefore I would suggest using mainly vegetables in your juices and only the occasional fruit to sweeten your juice. Lemons and limes can also be used in juices to help neutralize the bitterness that comes from juicing some of the dark leafy green vegetables.
You can make your juice into more of a wholefood by adding proteins or fats that are not provided by fruit or vegetables. Good sources are almond milk, greek yogurt, flaxseed, and peanut butter.
The positives of juicing far outweigh the negatives and the result is that they aid the body in detoxification, boost the immune system and help increase overall vitality and energy.
Consuming fresh juices can improve the overall function of the liver and kidneys, key organs in the elimination and detoxification process. The liver is involved with detoxifying harmful substances before they can enter the bloodstream and harm the body. All green drinks can help detoxify the liver, especially those with spinach, parsley, zucchini, kale, dandelion leaves and cucumbers. Beet juice is a powerful liver detoxifier. Citrus juice combinations of lemon and grapefruit are very effective in promoting liver cleansing.
The cleansing and detoxifying effect of fresh juices also contribute to improved stamina. When the body has fewer toxins it operates more efficiently and experiences greater levels of energy. Fresh juices are loaded with the B Complex vitamins and the minerals potassium and magnesium, all of which are critical in maintaining normal levels of energy. To boost your energy start out by using the juicing recipes that include carrot, parsley and spinach all of which contain the nutrients important for energy.
Juicing on a consistent basis can enhance overall immune function. Fresh vegetable and fruit juices provide the body with those nutrients that have been shown to be important in the immune response. These include vitamin C, beta-carotene, the mineral zinc, and the entire B complex. The citrus juices, grapefruit, orange and lemon are particularly high in Vitamin C, which is vital for a strong immune system. An average sized orange contains the daily recommendation of vitamin C. Beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A is recognized as an immune supporter. It helps keep your mucous membranes strong and resistant to infections, improving the body’s defense mechanism. The green juices such as spinach, beet greens, kale and cabbage are high in beta-carotene. Carrots and apples are also high in Beta-Carotene.