If you feel challenged in consuming enough vegetables, then making a small investment in a high-quality juicer is one of the best steps you can take for your health.
Raw juice is equivalent to a “living broth” teeming with micronutrients that many people are lacking, and this deficiency is a major factor in disease.
When you drink fresh, live juice, it’s almost like receiving an intravenous infusion of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes because they go straight into your body without needing to be broken down. Since juicing is essentially “mainlining” live nutrients, it’s no surprise it can produce rapid and profound health benefits.
Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from your vegetables. This is important because most people have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years, which limits your body’s ability to absorb all of the nutrients in whole, raw vegetables. Juicing helps “pre-digest” them, so that you won’t lose any of this valuable nutrition. Juicing makes it easier to consume a large quantity of vegetables. Virtually every health authority recommends that you get six to eight servings of vegetables and fruits per day, but very few actually get that. Juicing virtually guarantees you’ll reach your daily target.
You can add a wider variety of vegetables to your diet. Many people eat the same vegetables every day, which violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to certain foods. Juicing expands the number of different phytochemicals you receive, as each vegetable offers unique benefits. Juicing also allows you to consume vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole. Do this to:
Boost Your Immune System. Raw juice supercharges your immune system with concentrated phytochemicals and biophotonic light energy, which can revitalize your body. The nutrients in fresh juice also feed your body’s good bacteria and help suppress potentially pathogenic ones.
Increase Your Energy. When your blood is flooded with nutrients and your body’s pH is optimized, you’ll feel energized. Since juice is absorbed and utilized by your body very rapidly, juicers report feeling an almost instantaneous “kick” of energy.
Vegetable juice is one of the purest sources of water and actually qualifies as water. Vegetable water is structured water (living water), which is different from regular water – H3O2 rather than H2O. Water from vegetables is the best quality water you can drink!
WHAT ABOUT PROTEIN AND FAT?
When you think of protein, the image that might come to your mind may be a big juicy steak—but many vegetables actually contain substantial amounts of protein. For example, broccoli contains roughly 4 to 5 grams of protein per cup. Spinach contains 5 to 6 grams, and kale, watercress, collard, and turnip greens have respectable amounts of protein as well.
So during a juice fast when you are drinking juices all day long, you could easily be consuming 20 to 30 grams of protein or more from your juices alone. If you’re doing a short fast, a few days – for example, chances are you’re going to get plenty of protein from the juices.
If you were to try an extended juice fast, you might want to consider adding a source of high-quality protein, such as whey, especially if you’re exercising heavily. You could augment your fats by blending healthy fats into your juice, such as avocado, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil, as well as raw seeds like (flax, chia, hemp, etc.).
It’s important to remember that juice is not a beverage, it’s a liquid food. The way to get substantial protein from veggies is to consume them in high volume, and the way to consume a high volume of veggies is by juicing! I recommend getting into the habit of juicing daily. But even if you don’t, a three – to seven-day monthly juice fast is a great detoxification that can give your health a considerable boost.
THERE ARE THREE BASIC TYPES OF JUICERS
Please understand that blenders, like Blendtec and Vitamix are NOT juicers but blenders.
They are great blenders but will damage the juice because they process it at much higher temperatures, and the added fiber makes it less palatable and more difficult to consume larger amounts. When it comes to juice extractors, you have three options:
- Centrifugal Juicers: Centrifugal juicers separate the juice from the fiber through a spinning process. These are the most common and least expensive machines, but they are noisy, generate higher heat, are harder to clean and typically less efficient at separating the juice from the pulp.
- Masticating Juicers: Auger or masticating types of juicers (single and double gear) chew up the vegetables and push them through a strainer. They work very well and tend to give you more juice than a centrifugal juicer (possibly 20 to 25 percent more), with less heat. They’re also quieter than other models and tend to be easier to clean and assemble. They cost a bit more than centrifugal juicers, but over time you’ll break even as they give you more juice per veggie.
- Grind-and-press: Presses work like an apple cider mill. These are quite expensive and therefore not as popular for everyday juicing.
In addition to juicers, there are also high-power blenders that some people use to make “whole juice,” which is essentially whole vegetables and/or fruits blended with water or another liquid.
This is not the same as juice. You lose at least one of the major advantages of juicing—which is being able to consume a very large quantity of vegetables, because the fiber limits the amount you can drink and it’s not as tasty.
While fiber certainly has its own benefits, the abundant live nutrients in real juice are more important. The following comparison between blended juice and extracted juice by Juicing Science is instructive in understanding why the fiber issue may be insignificant:
“One hundred grams of kale contains more than 100 percent of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, and more than 10 percent of your RDI of vitamins B1, B2, B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Yet, despite its dense, dry appearance, it is made up of only 1.7 percent fiber, which means it provides less than six percent of your RDI for fiber.”
So if you’re pursuing a high-fiber diet, blended green smoothies may help, but you’re still going to have to get the majority of your fiber from other sources. Another downside to blended juices is that the heat generated by blending significantly damages many of the micronutrients, due to oxidation.
One laboratory analysis found that 60 seconds in a high-powered blender destroys between 23 and 63 percent of the vitamin C, calcium, and potassium in green vegetables. There is simply no replacement for the flood of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients your body gets from fresh, cold-extracted juice.
YOUR JUICES SHOULD CONSIS MOSTLY OF GREEN VEGETABLES
Your juices should consist mostly of green vegetables, with minimal fruits so its sugar (fructose) content will be low. You can add in an apple, kiwi, or a handful of berries to give your juice flavor, but the bulk of it should come from organic green veggies like spinach, celery, kale, Swiss chard, etc. Unfortunately, green juice has a stigma for tasting bad, and many people avoid it simply because of its color. But green juice actually has a very pleasant flavor, and it’s easy to “tweak” it to taste even better.
If you’re new to juicing, you can start with more mild-tasting veggies, like celery and cucumbers. From there you can work your way up to red leaf lettuce, romaine, spinach, and escarole, along with parsley and cilantro. Kale, collard, dandelion, mustard, and other greens can be bitter, so you’ll want to start slowly and add just a few leaves at a time.
Some of the most nutrient-dense veggies are the strongest tasting, but don’t avoid them—just use a lesser quantity in your juice until your taste buds acclimate. Selecting organic, non-GMO produce is very important when juicing, but the price can be a challenge for some.
One alternative is to grow your own veggies, making sure to avoid toxic garden chemicals (synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers). A great trick to make your juice more palatable, especially in the beginning, is to add one or more of these elements:
- Cranberries: You can also add some cranberries if you enjoy them. Limit the cranberries to about four ounces per pint of juice.
- Fresh ginger: This is an excellent addition if you enjoy the taste—it gives your juice a little “kick”!
- Limes and lemons: You can add one half to a whole lime or lemon for every quart of juice. Provided you’re using organic lemons or limes, you can even juice the skin if you want to avoid the hassle of peeling them. Limes are my favorite for cutting bitter flavors.
- Limited amounts of apple and carrot (just be mindful of your overall sugar content)
JUICE PREPARATION AND STORAGE TIPS
One nice thing about juicing organic vegetables is that you don’t have to peel the majority of your veggies, simply brush them thoroughly. One exception is beets, which have a rather foul tasting skin.
If you’re using non-organic vegetables, your best bet is to peel them, to avoid juicing pesticide residues. This is particularly important for fruits and vegetables that have been waxed, as this seals in the chemicals. It can be difficult to discern if a vegetable has been waxed or not, because the wax can be applied in a very thin, transparent layer. According to Dr. Saul:
- Eggplant, turnips, cucumbers, and tomatoes are almost always waxed
- Zucchini and other squash are usually waxed, but not always
- Carrots are never waxed
Ideally, you’ll want to drink the juice right away. The longer it sits, the more nutrients are lost through contact with the air (oxidation). You also lose taste. This brings me to another reason I prefer masticating juicers: they introduce less air into your juice, so the juice may actually stay fresher longer. When storing juice in a container, such as a Mason jar, make sure you fill it all the way up to the top to minimize air space.
You might want to enlist the help of a FoodSaver vacuum sealer, which comes with an attachment designed to suck out the air from the top of a Mason jar. You still need to keep the juice refrigerated, and you’ll want to drink it all that day to avoid the risk of botulism, which can happen over time in an oxygen-free environment.
Juices stored more than 24 hours can also build up methanol. Your body is not adapted to detoxify methanol, which can cause a number of problems; for example, it can convert into formaldehyde that can then make its way into your brain.
Methanol toxicity, which is primarily associated with the artificial sweetener aspartame, has been linked to Alzheimer’s and other health problems. Methanol is not a problem in fresh produce because the methanol is bound to pectin, which allows it to safely pass through your system, but juice is a different story. So, if you haven’t consumed your juice within 24 hours, toss it into the compost bin.
AND FINALLY HOW TO HANDLE CRAVINGS AND SYMPTOMS OF DETOXIFICATION
Changing your diet or any other aspect of your lifestyle is sometimes stressful, and stress can sabotage your success. You might also feel a little worse before you feel better, as detoxification symptoms and food cravings can arise.
Start slowly and you will see some remarkable results in just a few days.
Am J Med. September 2006
2 3 Juicing Science
4 J Nerv Ment Dis October 2012