Our smart parents told us to eat our greens. We now know they were right in making us finish all of our vegetables. Full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, vegetables are the main source of nutrition for optimal health and well being. Plants literally give us life…oxygen, energy, and vitality. They also contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that along with the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients helps to keep our cells healthy, our immune system strong, lower inflammation, and maintain balance in the body.
As Hippocrates once said, food is medicine. Fuelling our body with vibrant and nutritious foods helps us to feel more energized, balanced, grounded, and therefore happier in our day to day lives. While it’s important to fill our plates with plants (vegetables and fruits) and consume them in their natural whole form for the benefits of fiber, we also love juicing! Juicing fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to provide your body with an immediate dose of nutrients from a variety of nourishing fruits and vegetables. Fresh juices are full of vitamins that get delivered straight to your cells! You can almost feel the immediate energy.
Juices contain a great quantity of fruits and/or vegetables. In other words, the vegetables and fruits are condensed so the juice will therefore contain a high quantity of nutrients. It would be next to impossible to eat all of the produce that you can cram into one juice. They are convenient and easy when on the go for guaranteed nutrition.
Juicing removes almost all of the fiber content which helps to encourage easy digestion and absorption. This is because a juicer removes the fiber from the produce so your body does not have to work to break it down. Some use juicing as a way to give the digestive system a break.
The cleansing and detoxifying properties of juices can help to aid in liver detoxification and promote clear, glowing skin. Some fruits and vegetables also contain certain phytonutrients that can help to eliminate sugar cravings.
When juicing, try to stick to the 80% vegetable and 20% fruit rule. Since the fiber is removed during the juicing process, it is best to limit the fruit content to keep blood sugar levels stable. Certain vegetables (like celery and cucumber) contain more water and therefore, are great as a “base”. On the contrary, leafy greens with a lower water content won’t produce a lot of juice, but they’re an excellent source of chlorophyll and vitamins. You can also add “warming” foods such as ginger, turmeric, beets, cinnamon, cacao, or cayenne to your juice.
If you’re juicing fruits and vegetables that are not organic, make sure the skins are peeled prior to juicing them. After juicing, you can use the pulp from your juicer to make soups, veggie burgers, raw crackers, or simply add them to your compost or garden. Lastly, a variety and rotation of fruits and vegetables is the best way to obtain an abundance of varying nutrients. If you do not have a juicer, you can still make juices at home with a blender and a cheesecloth to strain the pulp. It is important to note that juices should not serve as a meal replacement.
Whether you are a juice fanatic and drink one everyday, or you drink them therapeutically for various reasons, remember that it is important to still consume whole fruits and vegetables for their fibre content. While there are a lot of wonderful juice bar options around town, make sure that you avoid consuming ones that are filled with added sugar or fillers. When purchasing from the grocery store be sure to read the ingredients and check the labels for sugar content. Often the juices found in grocery stores are pasteurized, made from concentrate, contain a high amount of sugar, are not fresh cold-pressed, and are actually more like processed sugary water.
Although juicing has great health benefits, juices are not miracles in a glass. Drinking juices should be seen as an accessory to a healthy lifestyle. Try a green juice on an empty stomach in the morning, as a side dish to your balanced snack/meal, or as a coffee replacement.
Happy sipping and remember to drink your greens!