Top 6 Health Benefits of Juicing
Juice is wonderful stuff. I mean real juice – not the questionably flavoured, highly processed, pasteurized, preserved and often watered-down product so ubiquitous on grocery store shelves – but the juice that comes from fresh fruits and vegetables.
What’s so great about it? Well, a lot more than I’d be able to fit in this little sentence, so keep reading – but the first point in juice’s favour is that it’s easy to get down.
You can fit a lot of fresh produce into a juicer before a tall glass is filled. Now, imagine what it would be like to plough your way through that many raw fruits or vegetables. Don’t get me wrong – fruit and veg can be very enjoyable to eat whole, but the amount needed for fresh juice…well, that’s a lot of fibre to chew!
Juicing helps ensure you get enough water – something many of us are sorely lacking in. Some health experts suggest the average person is in a chronic state of low-level cellular dehydration – yes, it’s as unhealthy as it sounds.
Every beverage you drink goes toward hydrating your body; tea, coffee, fruit juice, fizzy soft drinks… even the water content in food counts toward your daily water intake. However, the benefits of getting your water in a can of soda pop is not the healthiest option, when it’s laden with refined sugar, artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.
Sufficient hydration is important for physical and cognitive functioning. And getting that vital hydration from fresh fruits and vegetables is a super healthy way to meet your daily water needs.
Remember what we said earlier about how juicing removes some of the fibre from the equation, making it easier to get more servings of fruits and vegetables? That is true – but it should be mentioned that some fibre does remain in fresh juice, and that’s a boon to your body’s digestion, cardiovascular and elimination systems.
Fresh juice is rich in micronutrients. We often talk about the importance of macronutrients – carbs, protein and fat – but the little guys, the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – also play a very important role in keeping you healthy.
Fortunately, fruits and vegetables are chock-full of these tiny (yet life sustaining) health-helpers, including vitamins A, C, E and K, B1, B2, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, beta-carotene, selenium, zinc, manganese and copper. They protect against oxidative stress caused by free radicals, improve eyesight, boost metabolism, help maintain strong connective tissues and even keep hormone levels healthy.
Juicing at home is a great way to naturally get a wide spectrum of crucial vitamins and minerals into your body.
3: Digestive Enzymes
If you’ve spent any time in a health food store, you’ve probably seen bottles of “digestive enzymes”. These little marvels help break down macronutrients, relieving gastrointestinal upset after eating “problem foods”, or simply too much food. But popping synthesized or isolated enzymes all the time probably isn’t a good approach. Instead, consider the fact that fruits and veggies are rich in naturally occurring enzymes which help bolster your digestion.
Fresh juice has long been associated with the word “detoxification”. The water and fibre content helps with elimination, flushing out waste products; the liquid format of juice provides a highly effective delivery system for the many free radical-neutralizing, liver-helping and overall health-promoting micronutrients to reach the bloodstream. It’s no wonder that people embark on “juice cleanses” and come out looking healthier, happier and usually a few pounds lighter.
Let’s not forget the convenience factor. Many of us are busier than ever before. Eating three apples, an orange, 2 carrots, a small bunch of kale and a whole red beet would take plenty of time and a lot of chewing. Juicing them and drinking a glass brimming with flavour and nutrition would be much faster – and you’d get to control the taste by choosing the perfect ratio of ingredients. Fresh juice ranges from the intensely “green” and “alkaline” – tasting, to blissfully sweet, and everything in between.
Experiment with a convenient way to get your 5 a day and feel your taste buds delight in your healthy new concoctions.
Use your own home juicer to put some swing in your step and some zing in your swing. Because juice is rapidly absorbed and assimilated, it provides quick energy – and the improved elimination and detoxification improve your sense of overall well-being.
Of course, fruits and vegetable contain calories (the fuel our body burns for energy), but these are known as “full” or healthy calories. Juicing is a fast way to supply your body with nutrient dense energy!
If you’re unsure as to whether fruits or vegetables are the best choice, fear not – because both are highly beneficial to your health.
Apples are rich in fibre and help maintain steady blood pressure; citrus fruits contain high levels of vitamin C, critical for immune health and collagen formation; cherries counteract inflammation (in fact, cherry concentrate and juice are often employed by natural health practitioners to reduce the symptoms of gout); papayas and pineapples contain powerful enzymes which aid in digestion and possess anti-inflammatory properties; and grapes and loaded with antioxidants and vitamins.
Don’t forget the vegetables! Tomatoes contain lycopene (demonstrated to lower the risk of prostate cancer), as well as vitamins A, C and K – important for skin, eye, immune and cardiovascular health; broccoli has a similar vitamin content, in addition to folic acid; squash and carrots contain vitamin A; spinach is rich in iron (important for blood and heart health); and colourful bell peppers are loaded with antioxidants.
It’s important to remember, that though fruit juice is wonderfully beneficial, it’s also higher in sugar than vegetable juice – which is why it shouldn’t comprise the bulk of your juice intake. By all means, juice fruits, but consider them a tasty adjunct to what should be a primarily veggie-based juicing routine.