Most Americans have a hard time consuming the proper amount of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. To make matters worse, as you may have read in my previous articles, today’s fruits and vegetables have far fewer vitamins and minerals than they did just one generation ago.
Over the past few years, the juicing business has started to boom in the United States and in many countries throughout the world. Just a few years ago, many people who were juicing were celebrities who believed that a “juice cleanse” would help them lose weight. This however, is far from the only health benefit that juicing provides.
About 95% of the vitamins and enzymes our bodies need are found in the raw juice of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately though, we would have to eat a very large amount of fruits and vegetables to equal the amount of nutrients you can receive from just 16 ounces of raw juice. These nutrients can safe guard the body against many diseases.
Implementing a regimen of eating a healthy diet, including raw juice each day, can have extreme benefits according to many research studies. Reasons to consider these options including the following:
Juicing can help immensely with detoxification. Juices contain nutrients and enzymes that fight toxins and chemicals. After years of build up from fast food, other forms processed food, and environmental chemicals, the body stores chemicals and toxins in multiple organ systems. By transforming your diet to include more raw fruits and vegetables, it helps to detoxify the body.
Fresh juice from raw vegetables has few calories. A regular juicing regimen can promote weight loss. There are many reasons that people gain weight, including consuming more calories than we burn. A poor diet can start a bad effect that leads people to rush around and make poor choices of non-nutritious, calorie-laden food. It is not advisable to go on a total juice fast if you are new to detoxing. Rather, implementing juicing as part of a healthy diet is much easier to do. Making a plan and establishing goals will help to better keep with your new diet. If you have not already seen it, here’s a great documentary I recommend watching: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.
For many with digestive disorders and absorption issues, juicing can be beneficial for your digestive health because juice lacks fiber and is more easily absorbed by the body. A high quality juicer I frequently recommend is Breville.
However, eliminating fiber from your diet may not be such a good idea. Fiber has many health benefits, ranging from improvement of bowel function to reduction of cholesterol. It also provides us with more satisfaction after eating, making dietary changes easier to follow. In order to maintain fiber in your juice, opt for a blender to make smoothies, as these do not remove pulp from the fruit or vegetables. High-speed blenders, such as Vitamix, are excellent to use. By making smoothies through blending, you maintain healthy fiber and greatly reduce the amount of vegetables and fruit needed.
Cucumbers, fennel, apples, and ginger help stimulate digestion and promote kidney function. Also, many combinations of fruits and vegetables can help get the balance of your gut back in order. In future articles, I will have some recipe suggestions for specific conditions. Please stay tuned!
There has been some suggestion that high speed blending creates heat which destroys some of the nutrients. In my experience, through testing numerous patient’s white blood cell vitamin and mineral levels (not just blood serum levels), this has not been the case, as both juicing and blending “flood” the body with nutrients.
Boost your Immune System
It is well known how beneficial raw fruits and vegetables can be for your immune system. Naturally occurring vitamins and minerals are more easily absorbed than synthetic vitamins. Concentrated phytochemicals found in raw juice can revitalize your body. Citrus alone can decrease cholesterol, and carrots that have carotenoids (beta carotene) boost healthy immune systems.
When the blood is flooded with nutrients, the body’s pH is optimized and more energy is felt. Green vegetables pack a heavy health punch and give you energy. All of these elements help to boost energy by improving circulation and blood nutrients. Juices that include these will not only absorb quickly into the system, they will have you up and on your feet ready to meet a new day instead of dragging your feet out the door like a nutrient depleted donut.
Supports Brain Health
Studies suggest that consuming juice can help reduce the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In 2006, a study from Vanderbilt University found that drinking vegetable and fruit juices three times a week could cut Alzheimer’s risks by 75%. Juices contain polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants that provide protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Some brain-boosting foods that you can juice include:
When juicing or blending, I recommend a vegetable to fruit ratio of at least 4 to 1. Always remember that both juicing and blending concentrate everything, including fructose from fruit. Too much fruit can make the drink high in both calories and sugar. Juicing and blending also concentrate any pesticides, so it is very important to use organic produce when possible.
Before starting any major dietary change, be sure to consult your physician. Juicing is not intended to be a substitute for a well balanced diet, but it can supplement for deficits in raw fruits and vegetables in your diet. You’ll need to properly store juices as well. Because they are raw foods, they must be properly refrigerated or consumed completely at the time they are created to avoid bacteria from growing. If making a larger amount for refrigeration, I recommend storing for no longer than 48 hours, as the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients are rapidly depleted after this point. Choosing the right juicer can make all the difference. Do your research before starting to juice and create a plan that you can stick to.
Juicing and high-speed blending are great ways to add vegetables and fruits to your diet and optimize your health.
- Bertholf / CC By