Juicing has recently become a popular strategy for getting extra nutrition. Many people wonder is it actually healthy or just a trendy fad? There are many opinions out there about juicing, but here we will unpack all the important information about juicing and break it down so you can make the decision about whether juicing is right for you.
Let’s first take a look at what juicing does to our foods and how it could benefit our body.
What is Juicing?
Juicing is exactly what it sounds like – extracting the juice from fruits and vegetables. You can buy fresh juices that are already made or make them yourself with a juicer at home. Note that not all juicers are created equal. Most quality juicers run between $100 and $500 but you can find some on the market that cost even more.
The basic premise behind juicing is that when you extract the juice from fruits and vegetables, you get a more concentrated dose of nutrition. For example, a 16 ounce glass of carrot juice has the same nutritional value as two pounds of carrots.
Most people could not eat that many carrots in one sitting, let alone a day or maybe even a few days, so juicing can be a great option for those who are looking to consume a greater volume of nutrients. As with anything, however, there are upsides and downsides to juicing.
Benefits of Juicing
1. Easier Digestion
As stated above, juicing is a great way to help your body absorb nutrients more efficiently. Juicing allows the digestive system to work less on pre-digestion and focus more on getting the important vitamins and minerals into your system instead of it coming out as waste.
2. Better and More Concentrated Nutrition
Few of us ever get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables into our diet. Juicing is a way to not only get enough fruits and veggies, but also a way to get more of a variety. Many people eat the same few fruits and vegetables or try to incorporate a salad into their daily meal plan, but there are many others that we are not as inclined to eat in their whole form. Beets, ginger and kale have nutrients that you do not want to miss, and juicing makes them a bit easier to swallow.
3. More Energy
Raw juices are chock full of concentrated photochemicals that are designed to revitalize your body and give your immune system the boost that it needs to keep you strong and healthy. This revitalization occurs very quickly, and it provides you with a natural burst of energy that will make you feel alive.
4. More Alert Brain
Juicing has been proven to be a great way to keep your brain healthy and alert. In recent studies, those who juiced at least three times a week were 76% less likely to suffer from the effects of Alzheimer’s.
5. Weight Loss
Juicing has been linked to weight loss as well. This is probably attributed to the fact that people who take up juicing also take up other healthy habits that lead to weight loss, such as eliminating excess sugars and packaged foods from their diet.
The body is always detoxifying itself mostly by way of the liver and kidneys so juicing in and of itself does not detoxify you. Juicing does, however, help the body in its detoxification efforts. For example, green juice contains chlorophyll which helps in detoxifying.
1. Sugar Intake
Fruits are high in the sugar called fructose. While fruits are often the solution to making your juice taste better, be careful not to overdo it. Fructose is easily absorbed by the body and can cause a spike in blood sugar. Make sure to juice mainly with vegetables to keep the sugar down. A great rule of thumb is to follow the 80/20 rule – 80% vegetables and 20% fruit.
Commercial fruits and vegetables now days are often sprayed with pesticides to protect them from insects. Soaking the fruits and vegetables can help get rid of the pesticides that are present on the outside. Still, these conventional fruits and vegetables will contain toxins within their flesh as well. Likewise, they could be GMO, which we are only just starting to find out is incredibly dangerous to our health. Be sure to choose organic fruits and vegetables when juicing.
Fresh juices can develop bacteria. It is best to drink any juice you make at home straight away, usually within 24 hours or within the time your juicer’s manual instructs. Be sure to keep your juicer clean. Likewise, keep your hands clean and throughly pre-rinse your fruits and vegetables.
3. Orange Skin
Carrots and tomatoes contain a lot of carotene and lycopene, which are great for your body. The down side is that having these vegetables in excess can cause your skin to have an orange tint. It is not dangerous, however it is worth noting.
4. Urination Effects
Asparagus has methanethiol, which makes your urine smell a bit pungent during the digestion process. Beets have a pigment called betalain, which makes you urine a bright shade of red if you have too much of it in your system. Celery is a great detoxifying base for juices, but beware that it speeds up your body’s uric acid excretion and increases the need to urinate.
5. Some Things Should Not Be Juiced
Carrot greens, peels of oranges and grapefruits and rhubarb greens should not be juiced because they contain toxic substances. Note that the peels of lemons and limes may be juiced.
Likewise, the cores of apples contain cyanide and so apples should be cored and the seeds removed before juicing.
Juicing Recipes to Try
For an Immune System Boost
Juice together a large beetroot, three large carrots, four stalks of celery, half a cucumber, half a thumb of ginger, and a pear. If this drink needs a bit of sweetness, you can always add a succulent mango.
For a Brain Boost
This mixture is a combination of antioxidants that can improve the blood flow to your brain. Simply juice together a beetroot, three carrots, and a sweet potato. If you want added flavor, blueberries, blackberries, and bananas can be an option.
For a Natural Energy Boost
Spinach is the key, but to make a great juice combine two cups of spinach with half a cucumber, an apple, two carrots, and two stalks of celery. You could also try to add in some pumpkin to change the flavor a bit.