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The Benefits of Juicing

juicingVegetable Juicing 101

Although many people have heard of the wonderful benefits of juicing, few know much about it or where to start. Here is a beginner’s guide to the art of juicing and all it has to offer.

WHAT is juicing?
Juicing, put simply, is using raw vegetables, fruits, or other fresh ingredients to make a healthy, nutrient-rich juice. There are special machines made just for this purpose called Juicers. They work by removing the solid part (pulp), discarding it, and producing the liquids for consumption. There are many juicers on the market, and it is recommended that a beginner purchase a mid-to-low range priced machine. To find out more about juicer reviews, check out http://www.consumersearch.com/juicers.

WHY should I juice?
The most obvious reason to juice is the extra nutrient boost in our diet which improves body pH and immune function, and facilitates natural detoxification. Although fruit juices are known to be healthy, they are VERY HIGH IN SUGAR which raise insulin levels and stores fat. Also, most store bought juices lose much of their nutrient composition from the heating pasteurization process. Fresh vegetable juice contains way more nutrients without the insulin spike and naturally has live enzymes that facilitate digestion. Most importantly, it provides a simple way to incorporate a wide range of vegetables into our diet- especially for people who don’t enjoy eating them whole. Many people tend to eat the same kinds of vegetables on a regular basis, which can actually increase the likelihood of developing a food allergy. Juicing allows you to consume a variety of vegetables in one sitting. It is delicious, nutritious, and the health benefits are remarkable.

WHO should juice?
Juicing is beneficial for just about everyone. As a Registered Dietitian, I recommend juicing for many of my clients with poor immune function and various diseases, most specifically cancer. I have seen miraculous results from daily juicing of organic vegetables. Side effects from juicing are rare, but it is always important to listen to your own body since we all respond differently to various foods.

WHEN should I juice?
Although you can juice anytime, it’s ideal in the morning to help boost your nutrition and energy levels at the start of your day. If you drink it on an empty stomach, the nutrients will be absorbed quicker and easier. It is important to note that fresh vegetable juice is extremely perishable and should be consumed right away. However, you may carefully store it up to 24 hours in an airtight, covered container.

HOW do I juice?
Step 1
Beginners should start simply and then add more and more ingredients as your body gets used to juicing. Start out with easily digestible vegetables such as celery, fennel, and cucumber. Some people like to transition into true vegetable juicing by adding a sweet fruit or vegetable, like apples, oranges, tomatoes, carrots, or beets. These sweeter foods may enhance flavor and reduce bitterness, but should be used in moderation.
Step 2
After you have made some basic juices and started to get the hang of the process, start adding more vegetables. Red and green leaf lettuces, endive, and spinach are great examples of nutrient-rich leafy greens. Add cabbage and/or bok choy, as they contain extremely high levels of many vitamins and minerals. Then throw in some herbs – parsley is extremely high in vitamin K and cilantro is rich in vitamin A (be aware that some people cannot tolerate cilantro very well). Some other important greens are kale, chard, collard greens, dandelion greens, and mustard greens; these are all bitter, so only use one or two at a time.
Step 3
Now you can experiment with various other ingredients that will provide extra benefits. For example, vegetable juice does not contain much protein or fat, so you can easily add these in. Try ground flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, cod liver oil, or fish oil for the Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids.
Step 4
You may have heard about spirulina and chorella, which are both forms of algae from the ocean. They are powerful nutrients that actually bind with harmful substances in our body such as heavy metals and pesticides, removing them from the body. They are good for mercury detoxification and are loaded with vitamin D and iron. These can be added to juice in small doses. If you would like to learn more about detoxification, check out my 9 Day Natural Detox Program.
Step 5
Garlic is another great juicing ingredient due to its incredible healing powers and digestive benefits. You can add about 1 large clove or 2 small cloves to your juice, which is just enough to provide the boost while not making it obvious that you ate garlic.
Step 6
Concerned about the taste? Here are some ingredients that will add both a wonderful taste and extra nutrients. Whole or shredded/unsweetened coconut has been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. Cranberries have tons of antioxidants and phytonutrients, and can help prevent urinary tract infections. Half a lemon may improve the taste as well as add a boost of vitamin C. Ginger will add a delightful kick and has wonderful cardiovascular and digestive benefits.

WHERE do I find out more?
If you would like to learn more about juicing, check out www.juicingbook.com. It contains a ton of great information, FAQ’s, juice recipes, and a comprehensive library of many fruits and vegetables with nutrition facts, juicing information, and more. Also check out my past newsletter, Essential Vegetables for Your Diet for my top choices. Our whole food chefs will be posting their favorite juicing recipes and smoothies on our blog. If you would like to receive weekly recipes and tips from our chefs and nutritionist, enter your email address on the top right section of the page.

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Discuss: “The Benefits of Juicing”

  1. May 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    Thank you for outlining the steps in an way that’s easy to follow. Start simple, like juicing in the morning is great advice and how I got started.

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