The Juice is Worth the Squeeze
As originially seen on The Peak TV!
Juicing has become quite the kraze, but don’t just jump on the bandwagon without knowing the facts first. Juicing is the process of extracting juice from fresh fruits and vegetables. While juicing can add variety to your diet and help you to easily meet your daily recommendations of 2 whole fruits and 3 to 4 vegetables, it should not be your sole source. Unless you are using a triturating juicer which presses produce, retaining more nutrients, or a masticating juicer which chews produce, the juicing process results in fewer vitamins and minerals because the nutrient-rich skin and fibrous pulp is left behind.
Will juicing improve my health?
Eating a plant-based diet is linked to lower risk of heart disease and cancer. Vitamins and minerals can help boost immunity, while phytonutrients, like flavonoids and anthocyanins, guard against oxidative cellular damage. Juice provides a lot of water, which is needed to hydrate the body.
Does juicing help with weight loss?
Eliminating entire food groups is not recommended as part of a healthy diet. When participating in a juice cleanse or diet, you will likely begin craving other foods because you have placed those items in a restricted, or off-limits category. Strict juice diets also do not provide enough protein or fat, putting you at risk for loosing muscle mass. Since inadequate nutrients are consumed during juice diets, the body’s metabolism also slows down, meaning you do not burn as many calories throughout the day. To keep your organs functioning at peak performance, a balanced diet consisting of minimally processed, nutrient-dense foods is needed.
What about food safety?
When juicing, wash your hands before touching the fruits and vegetables and thoroughly clean the produce prior to juicing. To clean the juicer, use hot, soapy water if you have to hand wash the juicer or blender. Let all parts completely dry before putting away, to prevent bacterial growth. When juicing make only what you plan to drink. Juice that isn’t consumed right away can harbor bacteria and cause food poisoning. Exposure of the drink to air, bacteria and other pathogens can not only make you sick but threaten the nutritional value of the juice as well.
So what’s the bottom line?
Juicing is a great way to boost your intake of fruits and vegetables and an excellent supplement to an overall plant-based, whole foods diet rich in phytochemicals. If you don’t enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, juicing may be a fun way to add them to your diet or to try fruits and vegetables you normally wouldn’t eat. When juicing, be creative, try different combinations and add leftover fiber-rich pulp can be added back into the juice, or used in cooking, by adding it to soups, stews, grain dishes, pasta sauces, muffins and quick breads.