With juice bars popping up in almost every city these days, juicing seems to be the new health nut go-to. People are trying out juice cleanses to shed pounds, detox, or just add a nutrient-packed snack to their diets.
If you’re interested in trying out juicing or a juice cleanse, it’s important to understand the purpose of juicing, its benefits, and the best way for you to incorporate juice into your diet.
In essence, juicing is extracting the juice from whole fruits and veggies. Some people may wonder why it has become so popular in the past few years, especially since we can simply purchase ready-made fruit and veggie juices at the store. The nutrients in the store-bought juices, however, are nowhere near the quantity or quality of those in fresh homemade juices made from whole (and if possible, organic) fruits and vegetables, because the nutrients in store-bought have been pasteurized. Juicing allows the preservation of the natural vitamins, minerals and enzymes of the raw produce.1
It’s also a great way for people who are not big fans of fruits and veggies to get their recommended six to eight servings a day. For example, people who do not like beets can juice the beets together with fruits and berries, and receive the nutrients found in beets (potassium, iron, vitamin C), and enjoy at the same time.
Juicing allows pre-digestion, or the immediate absorption of all of the nutrients from produce. Plus, juicing provides versatility in vegetables because it helps people to enjoy more veggies they may not typically like to eat whole.
Juicing can aid in the digestive process and give it a little break, because it takes less energy to digest the produce as a liquid than as solid foods, which take many hours after consumption to deliver optimal nourishment to the body.2
It can also help in raising the pH balance in our bodies, and in turn, help to protect us from conditions related to acidic imbalances, including heart and kidney disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.3
Most dietitians do not recommend a juicing-only weight loss plan because the lack of fiber and protein in juices often leaves us hungry, and at risk for losing too much muscle mass.4 However, a healthy way to juice for fat loss is to combine juicing with a balanced nutrition plan, because the body needs more than the nutrients fruits and vegetables provide.
Make sure to factor in the calories from the juice as a part of your overall diet. One ounce of juice usually contains about 15 calories. Also, the pulp leftover from juicing is actually where all of the healthy fiber is hiding, and it can be recycled into soups, rice dishes, pasta sauces, muffins, and even crackers (See: Juice Pulp Cracker Recipe). If you’re set on drinking your meal, combine the juice into a smoothie, by blending the pulp, nut butter or avocado for healthy fats, and Greek yogurt for protein.5
Amazon.com’s top selling juicers range in price, starting at $49.99 for the Hamilton Beach Juice Extractor, jumping to $99.95 for the Breville Compact Juice Fountain, and reaching $299.00 for Breville Juice Fountain Elite. It is obviously important to find one that makes sense for your budget, but also be sure to pick a juicer with high voltage consumption and one with inner blades that are evenly spread out, to get the most juice from your fruits and veggies. Also, make sure to check and see if all of the juicer’s parts are break resistant and if replacement parts are available for purchase later.
When you’re ready, turn on your juicer and try out these tasty recipes:
Vegetable Juice Recipe
Fruit Juice Recipe:
If you decide to give juicing a try, let us know how you did it and how your experience was with a comment.