The Benefits of Juicing & How to Get Started
By Maris Callahan for DietsInReview.com
Fresh fruit and vegetable juicing is certainly not a new idea for the raw foods community, however it is growing in popularity as a mainstream method for weight loss, detoxification, and healthy eating.
Unlike conventional juices that are often processed with a lot of added sugar, fresh juicing involves creating nutrient-rich juices out of your favorite fruits and vegetables.
“Before you begin any juice regimen, it’s important to understand why juice is important for your health,” Cherie Calbom, MS, author of The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet and Juicing for Life, told us. “When you understand the many health benefits of fresh juice, you’ll be much more inclined to take the time to make fresh juice.”
Fruits and vegetables are ripe with natural healing properties, making juicing a no-brainer for boosting your nutrition without using vitamins or other supplements.
While it is important to consult your doctor or nutrition counselor before making any major dietary changes, we tracked down some of the health benefits from fresh juice.
Fresh juice has concentrated nutrients. “Fresh juice is like a vitamin-mineral cocktail,” said Calbom. “It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and nutrients.” When you consume fresh juice, you only receive the “good stuff” and nutrients aren’t diluted by other ingredients. This allows the body to absorb them quickly.
Fresh juice is energizing. “When we cook the plants, even lightly steaming vegetables, we lose nutrients,” said Calbon. “But we need plenty of them for good cellular health. They help the cells in our bodies communicate more effectively.”
Fresh juice aids digestion. “Even people with digestive problems notice that their health greatly improves when they begin drinking fresh vegetable juices,” says Calbom. “That’s because the juicer has done the work for you and your body can take up the nutrients quickly and easily.”
Before starting your new juice regimen, it’s important to make informed decisions about your new diet, especially if you’re going to replace meals with juices. However, if you want to just add juice to your existing diet to increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables, we have some tips to help you start making fresh juice.
Realize the importance of organics. According to Calbom, it’s very important to know which vegetables and fruit are the most heavily sprayed with pesticides and which are the cleanest. “Not everything has to be organic, but the most heavily sprayed produce should always be organic,” said Calbom. “Otherwise, it may not be safe to use. Familiarize yourself with the most heavily sprayed produce, known as the ‘dirty dozen’ and shop accordingly.”
Choose your produce wisely. If you are working to improve your health from a certain condition, ask your doctor or nutritionist to recommend specific ingredients. “Kale, and chard and spinach are great for juicing,” said Barbara Mendez, a registered pharmacist with an advanced degree in nutrition. “Cucumbers are great for reducing puffiness and ginger is anti-inflammatory. Carrots are known to help purify the skin and liver, and lemon or lime has great cleansing properties.”
Be informed before purchasing a juicer. While there are a number of juicers on the market for home use, Mendez recommends a Champion Juicer, or an equivalent, because it extracts the most pulp from the fruits and vegetables for maximum nutrition. When you’re shopping for a juicer, make sure it’s easy to clean – so juicing doesn’t become a chore. Know that not all juicers can accommodate vegetables. “Make sure your juicer will do everything from leafy greens and carrots to citrus,” said Calbom. “Some models don’t do those well.”