It’s a new year which means for some a great time to try something new as it relates to our health and a New Year’s resolution.
If you have been following the trends over the last year, juicing has become the latest health craze. This simple act of extracting juice from fruits or vegetables not only helps you take in your daily servings of fruits and vegetables but can also help reduce your risk for chronic diseases and certain types of cancers. It also helps you remove toxins from your body, lose weight, aid digestion, and may result in longer lifespan.
There are other great reasons why you should consider incorporating juicing into your health plan. For one, juicing can introduce you to fruits and vegetables that you aren’t accustom to eating. Many people eat the same foods over and over again. But with juicing, you can have a wide variety that you may not normally enjoy eating whole. Carrots, beets, avocados and different greens are all vegetables that many may not enjoy, but when juiced in a tasty recipe, they quickly become favorites.
Another great benefit to juicing is that it helps to absorb the nutrients better and it gives your digestive system a rest from working. It takes less energy to digest food in liquid form. This is important for people with an impaired digestive system that limits their body's ability to absorb all the nutrients. Juicing will help to pre-digest the nutrients for you. Furthermore, juicing allows you to consume an advantageous amount of fruits and vegetables in an efficient manner. Eating 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables might be difficult, but it can be easily accomplished with a glass of fresh juice.
One caution to note is that juicing and blending are two different things. While juicing extracts only the juice, blending captures the juice as well as the healthy fiber or pulp that juicing does not. Nutrition educator Cheryl D. Davis of Oakland, Calif. notes, “There are a lot of nutrients that get missed when you only drink the juice.” She advises being careful especially if you are at risk for diabetes because juiced drinks can still contain a lot of sugar and there may not be enough fiber to counteract it. The question to ask she says is, “What is being discarded and can you get that somewhere else?” With blending, you get the juice and the fiber which is why Davis prefers it over juicing.
However, if you’re not getting your daily servings of fruits and vegetables, then you shouldn’t rule out juicing. The liquid from juicing still contains most of the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are found in whole fruits and vegetables. After all, you need to start somewhere.
If you are new to juicing, start off by mixing produce that you normally enjoy eating. After you get accustom to juicing, try different and exotic fruits and vegetables. When juicing it is a good idea to keep some of the pulp. You can look for recipes where it can be used so all is not lost. Also, it is better to choose organically grown produce over produce that is loaded with pesticides. Some produce like cucumbers, spinach, collard greens, lettuce, kale, carrots, or celery contain more pesticides than other vegetables. When looking for vegetables with more nutritional value, pick dark green vegetables to juice. You can eliminate the bitter taste of the dark leafy green vegetables by adding lemons or limes. It’s important to note that juicing fruits and vegetables has almost no protein or fat. For an excellent source of raw fat add avocado, coconut butter, or freshly ground flax seed.
Since making fresh juice is highly perishable, is wise to drink all your juice immediately to avoid harmful bacteria from developing. After you used your juicer, make sure you clean it to prevent any remnants from contaminating the juicer with mold growth. Please note that unless you’re undergoing some special fasting or detoxification program, it’s not a good idea to consider it as a complete meal. Juicing can still have healing effects when combined with a healthy diet.
The next question is which juicer should you buy? They range from $49.99 to more than $400. If you are serious about juicing, I would recommend going for a juicer in mid range. Breville’s Juice Fountain Compact Electric Juicer for $99.99 is a favorite and one to really consider for starters.
Finally, as for recipes, the possibilities are endless! Again just start experimenting with your favorite fruits and vegetables to create the combinations that become your weekly winners. There are plenty of books for juicing recipes, but one that is highly recommended is Pat Crocker’s “The Juicing Bible,” that not only provides recipes but is also a resource for more than 80 health concerns that can be helped by juicing.
The best part of all about juicing is that you get to be as creative as you want to be. There are no rules for the most part and you can make up and adapt recipes that fit your personal taste. But don’t forget to get out of your comfort zone and try juicing new foods. This should also be a part of your New Year’s resolution to being a healthier you.