From celebrities like Beyonce and Jennifer Aniston to health gurus like Dr. Oz and Oprah, it seems like everyone is slugging back their salads through a straw. It’s hard to argue against the benefits of eating (or drinking) your vegetables. Juicing can help you shed unwanted pounds faster, feel less fatigues and bloated, and fight countless diseases. There’s a growing industry ready to quench the collective thirst for weight loss and health in a glass. So is juicing the antidote to great health or just another fad diet?
your digestive system will thank you
Juicing is a great way to get fruits and vegetables into your diet if you don’t typically like them. Juicing gives your digestive system time to relax and repair itself. The body looks at the same food in different forms in different ways. Eating an apple, for instance, engages the digestive system more to break down the skin and flesh of the fruit. When it is juiced, you are just dealing with liquid and the system doesn’t have to work as hard at processing. Fans of green juicing, or juicing raw vegetables, say that you can drink more vegetables than you can eat, and that juicing allows your body to more easily absorb the vitamins and antioxidants extracted from fresh produce.
The detox and cleansing benefits attributed to juicing may be more psychological than physical. There’s also a lack of scientific evidence that proves that juicing your vegetables is significantly healthier than just eating them. “When juicing proponents say their juices ‘detox’ the body, I wonder what toxins they’re talking about,” says Dr. Donald Hensrud, a nutrition specialist at the Mayo Clinic. “What exactly are we meant to be cleaning?”
If there are any benefits to juicing, Hensrud says there currently isn’t any supporting research, he believes they may be only temporary: “You may feel lighter if you reduce the calories you take in, and even mentally better too, but those are short-term effects. I’m not aware of any long-term benefits.”
not all juices are created equal
Whether you get your juice at a juice bar, health food store or through a delivery service, be wary of bottled and pasteurized juices and read the labels carefully – too much fruit or fruit concentrate can increase the sugar level, and heating and processing can lessen nutritional value.
Buying a home juicer and doing it yourself can pay off in the long run, although the juicer you buy might also make a difference. Centrifugal juicers, which grind and strain produce at high speeds, are the most affordable machines, but also less efficient – some say the high speed generates heat, and decreases the amount of enzymes in the resulting juice.
moderation is key
Despite what some raw food endorsers might say, it’s probably not best to live on juice alone. A juice fast, in which one consumes only juice and no solid food for a day or more, may have healthy benefits, but it’s not entirely necessary. Drinking green juice can still have healing effects when combined with a regular, healthy diet.
For optimal results, juicers need to drink green juice on an empty stomach, and make sure it’s as fresh as possible. More extreme measures, like the lemonade-and maple syrup-only Master Cleanse, or juice fasting as a quick-and-easy weight loss method, are not recommended as they are not healthy or sustainable.
Fat Burner Juice
- 6 carrots
- Handful of kale or other green leafy vegetables
- 1 lemon
Wash the ingredients thoroughly and cut into small pieces that can be fitted into your juicer. Put the leaves in first. Enjoy your juice right away.
Better Than Salad
- 1 cucumber
- 1 lemon
- 1 medium onion
- Handful of parsley
- ½ red pepper
- 3 small whole tomatoes
Wash the ingredients thoroughly and cut into small pieces that can be fitted into your juicer. Put the parsley in first. Enjoy your juice right away.
Bye Bye Caffeine
- 6 carrots
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Handful of parsley
Wash the ingredients thoroughly and cut into small pieces that can be fitted into your juicer. Wrap garlic in parsley before feeding into juicer to help absorb some of the garlic odor. Enjoy your juice right away.
*Organic and local produce is always the best, but not essential
by Am Sahota