Juicing Benefits: Learning to Juice the Sensible Way
Unless you’ve been living on a desert island with no Wi Fi, you are no doubt aware of the latest health trend to go viral…juicing. From Hollywood to mainstream America, it seems that everyone is touting the benefits of juicing. Depending on who you are talking to, Benefits of Juicing range from weight loss to cancer prevention, and pretty much everything in between. As with anything that claims to be a miracle cure, we must do our homework and weigh the pros and cons before we jump in with both feet and a heartbeat.
Perhaps the most obvious and undisputed fact about juicing is that it gets people to eat more fruits and vegetables…especially people who don’t LIKE fruits and vegetables. Disguising cucumbers, carrots, beets, kale, spinach and other healthy ingredients in a glass of juice is an easy and tasty way to get your recommended three to five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. And for children who wouldn’t touch broccoli if you smothered it in chocolate, juicing it and adding an apple or some strawberries to disguise the taste is a great solution. Juicing is also a great way to try new fruits and vegetables that you might not be familiar with.
Will I lose weight?
Juicing can be an important part of a good weight loss plan, if it is done correctly. Many people think that juicing to lose weight means forgoing all other food in favor of juice. This is not the way to use juicing to lose weight. Fruits and vegetables that have been juiced retain their vitamins, minerals and enzymes, however they lose the fiber from the plants. Fiber is an essential part of your diet, as it keeps things “moving along nicely”.
Fruits and vegetables in juice form will keep you hydrated, and their slightly higher water content means a lower calorie count. In addition, fresh juice provides a low calorie, nutrient rich jolt of energy when it is used as part of a balanced diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also free of toxic fats, salt, added sugar, preservatives and other unhealthy additives. For this reason alone, juicing should be considered a vital part of a good diet plan.
What are the Juicing benefits?
Juicing is thought to be easier on your digestive system, by allowing your body to easily digest the nutrients and enzymes found in the juice, rather than having to work through the fiber found in whole foods. Although this claim has not been substantiated medically, people who juice regularly report having more energy and being more regular. It is also used as a “detox” method, but again it is important to recognize why you feel that your body needs to detox, and if you plan to do it, do it sensibly.
In a healthy body, the liver and kidneys filter out the toxins that are in your system. It is not medically necessary to do any kind of detox program in order to “help them along”. That being said, many people report that after doing a juice cleanse, they feel like they have “jump started” their body on the road to better health. If you choose to do any kind of detox program, whether it is juicing or another type, it should be no more than three days in duration, to avoid potentially harming your system.
A word of caution…
Juicing should never be used to replace all of your meals. Your body needs a balanced diet, with protein, whole grains, dairy, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables. As one commenter put it, “Some things just don’t juice well…like fish and whole wheat bread”. Although a liquid (juice) diet can help you lose weight in the short-term, it can seriously affect your metabolism and cause lean muscle mass to begin to break down in just a few days, effectively limiting the number of calories that your body burns overall, and once you begin to eat solid food again, the weight that you lost will quickly return.
Break it down…
Juicing allows you to consume an optimum amount of fruits and vegetables in a manageable form. It would take two pounds of carrots, 10-12 apples or 8-10 pounds (YIKES!) of spinach to get the same amount of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that you get in a 16 oz. glass of juice. You can also use produce that is near the end of it’s usefulness in juices and avoid throwing it away. There are foods that have proven healing powers, such as cabbage juice, which is a well-known natural cure for ulcers.
Other benefits of juicing…
- It’s the original “fast food”, perfect for people whose busy lifestyle doesn’t allow time for fancy kitchen prep
- Vitamins, minerals and enzymes are in their most highly concentrated form
- Natural plants are more easily absorbed by the body than highly processed foods
- Can improve complexion, energy levels and strengthen the immune system when done properly
No hitting the bottle!
If you do decide to make juicing a regular part of your nutrition regimen, make sure that you are using freshly made juice, and not bottled juices, as “all juices are not created equal”. Bottled juice has been pasteurized, which kills vitamins, minerals and enzymes. In addition, most commercial juices have added sugar and can contain other additives which negate the health benefits that you are trying to achieve.
Wrapping it all up…
I have given you some food (juice?) for thought there, but don’t take my word for it…I want to encourage you to try it for yourself and discover the many juicing benefits. There are many juicers available on the market, and it is possible to get a good one for less than $100. Although the cost of produce may be a little bit higher than what you are used to, the benefits of using good, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables instead of overly processed, additive laden food will soon make themselves apparent. And once you have tasted fresh juice straight from your own kitchen, I can guarantee that you will not ever want to go back to buying it at the supermarket. There is simply no comparison.