Spring Cleaning? Benefits of Juicing
As a Holistic Sports Nutritionist, one of the most important impressions that has stayed with me through my training and into my own diet, is the importance of juicing for health. Consuming foods with extremely high enzymatic value, such as fresh vegetable and fruit juice, is essentially a practice that can regenerate the health of your cells by oxygenating them, thus, fresh juice can be considered the ‘fountain of youth’. Not only is it excellent for your cells, fresh juice has a myriad of benefits (listed by the juicer guru):
- Juicing for health provides vital nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for our bodies to repair themselves, strengthen the immune system and for cell regeneration and growth.
- Unlocking nutrients of raw foods is one of the vital benefits of juicing. Fiber is quite literally locked into many vegetables and fruits and the potential benefit of the fiber is lost as the digestive system does not unlock it. Juicing releases the fiber’s nutrition so that benefit may be realized.
- Normally we do not consume peelings, seeds and pits of fruits and vegetables. These parts are a rich source of vital nutrients we normally throw away. A good quality juicer extracts juice from the whole veggie or fruit, including peelings, pits and seeds to provide vitamin and minerals that would otherwise be lost.
- Heat kills live enzymes. A quality juicer minimizes heat in order to preserve the most live enzymes possible.
- Using a good quality juicer will cause the least amount of foaming in the juice. Foam is indicative of oxidation of the juice which lowers the antioxidant benefit. Less foam equals more antioxidant benefit.
- Juice is an excellent snack or meal replacement that is very filling. Many dieters claim that juices assist them to lose pounds with no hunger.
- The antioxidant effects of juices will help detoxify your body and help you eliminate the toxins, fats, preservatives and chemicals that a diet of processed foods leave behind in your body.
- Increased energy and mood uplift are collateral benefits of juicing. As your body becomes detoxified and “cleaned out” it will be more able to access and utilize restorative and sustaining nutrients which most likely will make you feel better in general. When you feel better you are more energized and happier.
- The most readily digestible or absorbable form of foods, not to mention the most concentrated form, is juice. Juicing makes foods easy to digest and thus, easier for the body to receive maximum benefit from the source food.
- Making your own juices allows you to make any combination of fruits or vegetables that you choose into juice – and you know what’s in it, unlike produce on the supermarket shelves.
In my experience and opinion, including fresh juice into your diet is excellent in aiding digestion and cleansing of the digestive tract, detoxifying the body and protecting it from potential diseases, and the nutrient content is off the scales good.
The important thing to remember is that fresh juice should be consumed immediately due to oxidation, where if left, the nutrient, vitamin and mineral value rampantly decreases over time. Temperature also affects the quality and nutrient value of fresh juice so keep it cool!
If you do not have a juicer (they can be quite costly), I would recommend picking up a fresh juice from your local juice bar at least once a week: Booster Juice or Jugo Juice (in North America) offer great varieties.
Lastly, remember that if you are enjoying a fresh juice, fruit juices have a very high fructose content which, if not consumed in portion, can affect your weight loss goals. If you are trying to lose weight, stick with the following:
- Green vegetable juices
- Avoid too many beets, carrots, burdock root
- If fruit is included in the recipe, request that they halve the portion ie. 1/2 apple rather than a whole apple
Here are some recipes I love:
½ head of romaine lettuce
6 spinach leaves
1 green apple
2 celery stalks
1 cup kale or spinach
1 cup wheat grass
½ cup broccoli
3 celery stalks
1 handful fresh parsley
1 handful fresh spinach
½ inch fresh peeled ginger
1 lemon, peeled
1. Clean all produce well. Toss in the juicer in order and drink immediately.
Check out My Favourite Drinks Page for some of my other