May
28

Beyond the Blender: Everything You Need to Know About Juice

 

Fresh spinach

I am often asked, “which is healthier: juicing or smoothies?”

In fact, smoothies and juices serve different purposes. The health benefits of juices vs. smoothies depend entirely on your desired nutritional outcome.

I make smoothies when I need a nutritious snack, filled with protein and fiber, to hold me over. On the other hand, when I need a boost (especially in the morning) I turn to juicing. Fresh pressed juice is essentially a direct shot of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes into your system – a great coffee substitute for those looking to ditch caffeine.

It is important to keep in mind that there is no “one size fits all” solution to our diets. What may work for one person may not work for another. Depending on how your body responds to smoothies and juice, you may choose to alternate between the two, or devote yourself solely to one beverage type. Pay attention to cues from your body to decide which is the best remedy for you, given your unique activity and stress levels.

Here is a breakdown (tee-hee) of the pros and cons of juicing:

Pros:

  • Plants are loaded with phytonutrients and antioxidants that have many healthful properties. If you have a hard time eating all your fruits and veggies, juicing provides a quick and simple method of getting your vitamins in (literally) one shot.
  • When derived from from food (opposed to synthetic supplements), vitamins and minerals are more easily assimilated into your body. The juicing process also helps to extract nutrients from fruits and veggies for optimal absorption.
  • Raw foods and veggies contain more nutrients than their cooked counterparts. Many nutrients and enzymes are lost or denatured by the cooking process. Glutathione, a master antioxidant that regulates the immune system, is not present in cooked foods. It can only be found in uncooked fruits, veggies, and meats. I do not recommend the consumption of raw meat, however, so stick to the fruits and veggies for your juicing efforts.
  • For those afflicted with GI issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), juices can be a fantastic way to get your daily dose of veggies without possible flare-ups. The more broken down the food you consume, the gentler it is on your intestines. The absence of fiber from juices, under these circumstances, is a good thing because you get all the goodness without the irritation.

Cons:

  • The juicing process removes soluble fiber from fruits and veggies. Soluble fiber is a very good thing, and is key for healthy digestion. Smoothies retain much of the soluble fiber from fruits and veggies. So, if fiber is what you need, smoothies may be the better option.
  • If you are hungry, opt for a smoothie over juicing. The soluble fiber in this blended beverage will keep you feeling full and satisfied. While juicing gives you energy, it will do little to curb cravings.
  • Our bodies respond differently to juicing. Some people can experience loose stools and diarrhea by drinking juices, so be careful. Start out slowly and allow your digestive system to adjust.

My go to juicer:

Juicer

The Breville Juicer BJE 820XL

There is a wide range of juicers on the market. Your best choice depends on how often you plan on using it. If you juice frequently, a higher quality juicer is well worth the investment.

My Favorite Juice Combos:

Beet Down

1 medium beet (quartered), 1/2 bunch cilantro, 1/2 peeled lime, 4 pieces of ginger (1×1 inch), 1 1/2 peeled navel oranges, 4 medium carrots. Juice all the ingredients. (Courtesy of GOOP)

 

Godzilla            

9 leaves lacinato kale, 10 long dandelion leaves, 1 whole peeled lemon, 1 large Asian pear (quartered), 1 whole English cucumber. Juice everything. (Courtesy of GOOP)
Carrot, Golden Beet, and Orange Juice

4 carrots, 2 golden beets, 3 cara cara navel oranges and 1/2 piece ginger. Juice all the ingredients. (Courtesy of popsugar.com)

 

NL Green Juice

1 cup of kale, 1 cup of bok choy, 1 cup of Swiss chard, 1 small piece of ginger, 1 green apple, 1 whole lemon and lime (squeezed).
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Here are some of my favorite nutrition boosting juice ingredients:

Chia seeds are just plain wonderful. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, and protein. They provide satiety, and are rich in calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium.

Ginger stimulates circulation, has anti-inflammatory properties, fights infections, and alleviates nausea.

Turmeric promotes liver function, soothes digestive issues, is a potent antioxidant, provides relief for arthritis, and offers cardiovascular protection.

Maca maintains hormonal homeostasis and supports the immune system.

Mint allays bloating and gas, clears nasal and chest congestion, and is a potent antioxidant.

Flaxseed Oil is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acid, supports heart health, promotes healthy tissue, and is protective against certain cancers.

When it comes to juicing, the bottom line is this: pay attention to your internal mechanisms and do what works for you and your body!

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