To juice or not to juice?

Some of you might’ve noticed juicing has quickly risen in rank on the nutrition fad scale and scene. Celebrities love it, dieters love it, and new wave detox junkies are addicted. You have probably personally not been immune to the many juice bars popping up around Sydney.

There are many juicing’s pros and cons.  Are we better to juice our vegetables or eat the whole foods? Maybe we we better off just eating our plates of vegetables, like our mothers always dreamed we would?

Not so sure? Juices affect everyone differently. It makes some people energised, but for others it just puts them to sleep. Try and decide for yourself.

The ‘For’ argument

Juices are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that combined leave us feeling our best. Its’ liquid form allows for better absorption of nutrients that otherwise we may not get from chewing alone (this especially relevant to the powerful group of dark leafy green vegetables). It also makes for easier digestion, channeling energy saved in breaking down fibre for the more crucial detoxification and healing process.  Mini juice fasts are also helpful for quick weight loss but note it is mainly water loss, not fat.

The ‘Against’ argument

Conversely, when the fibre is removed in the name of your favourite juice, we miss out on many other health benefits. Fibre absorbs toxins lurking in the gut, and provides the bulk to ‘dispose’ of them every time you go to the toilet. Even more importantly, fibre acts as a buffer to stop sugars from absorbing too quickly in the bloodstream. Without the fibre, sugars can sharp sugar spikes that may leave you feeling tired, age you and potentially increase your risk of conditions such as hypoglycemia and type II Diabetes. Another little known fact is that a lot of nutrition can be lost in the air (oxidisation) when juicing with your average juicer (NB: cold-pressed juicers don’t oxidise the juice like commercial ones are remain rich in nutrition).

Why you want to ALWAYS avoid fruit juice, fresh or not

Fruit juice is rich in the natural sugar fructose. Unlike glucose, fructose can only be metabolised by the liver and can’t be used for energy by your body’s cells.   You might as well be drinking a soft drink. Adverse effects of high fructose consumption include:

  • Raised bad cholesterol levels
  • Increased insulin and leptin resistance
  • Weight gain
  • Potential heart disease

NB: Juicing fruit dramatically increase the fructose per serving when compared to a whole piece of fruit. So whilst it’s best to avoid fruit juice, eating a whole piece of fruit is perfectly healthy and ok.

7 tips to remember if you love your juice

  1.  Invest in a cold-press juicer and make home made juice. Industrial juicers used in cafes etc oxidise produce so much you might as well be drinking sugar water.
  2.  Avoid store bought, pre-made and packaged juice if you can. Often they include additives and aren’t sealed correctly thus may not contain a lot of nutrition.
  3. Avoid making fresh fruit juice, always opting to juice green vegetables instead.
  4.  Storing homemade vegetable juice is a good option for busy workers and those who don’t feel that well. Always us a glass jar or stainless steel jug with a vacuum seal lid (which prevents further oxidation). Never store your juice for more than a day or two; never freeze juice and never refrigerate unsealed in a glass.
  5. Stick to your greens: celery, spinach, kale, cucumber, green romaine lettuce, endive, spinach, lime, green apple, mint and parsley.
  6. Add lemon or ginger to the mix for their liver-cleansing, anti- inflammatory properties.
  7. If it tastes a bit astringent, add a small amount of unsweetened coconut water for taste.
  8. If you are doing a juice fast, I encourage you combine the juice with a teaspoon of some sort of vegan protein or spirulina powder. This will regulate your hunger pangs and prevent your energy from crashing thru the day.

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