Veggie juice isn’t a meal replacement, rather it is a meal enhancer.
Being healthy is a goal everyone should be working to attain, but we sometimes get sidetracked and forget this goal. It’s easy to grab a meal at a fast food place on the way to work, or pick up a pizza for the family on the way home. We live in a “hurry up and go” society and our ongoing health concerns can take a back burner, whether we want them to or not.
Luckily, there are small changes you can make for your health that are not only cost-effective but packed with the nutrition you might be missing on a daily basis. Veggie juicing for health is a great addition to your diet and is convenient, too. There is virtually a never-ending selection of recipes to choose from, and making your own sparks creativity while helping to get enough fruits and vegetables to meet your daily requirement.
There are several things to know before you start juicing – here is some helpful information to get you going:
Unless you are intimately familiar with biology you are probably unaware that your body contains 22 digestive enzymes, all with a different purpose but the same end results – to aid in digestion and keep your body healthy. Without each enzyme serving as a cog in the machine of your stomach, you would become more susceptible to bacterial infections due to the extra stress being placed on an immune system that is already working overtime.
When your body has an enzyme deficiency, the wide range of vitamins and minerals ingested each day pass through without being absorbed into the bloodstream. Not being able to retain the proper nutrients can lead to issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, food allergies, anxiety and depression, and even acne. This creates a long-term health concern that will ultimately have a devastating impact on your body.
Another problem that can develop from a lack of enzymes is toxemia, more commonly known as blood poisoning. When enzymes are not present to break down the food in your stomach it can sit and develop toxic microorganisms, which then pollute your bloodstream. It’s important to constantly replenish your enzymes by consuming fruits and vegetables, especially in their raw form, for maintaining optimal health.
Benefits and Drawbacks to Juicing
Depending on your weight, your body requires up to two pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables each day in order to maintain optimal health, but eating that much raw food can cause strain on your intestinal system and hinder digestion. Juicing allows your body to produce more enzymes, aiding in digestion and allowing you to retain higher levels of vitamins and minerals.
Cleansing the body of toxins and regulating your digestive system is easily accomplished with juicing, and professional equipment is not needed. As long as fruits and vegetables are rid of seeds and rinds they can also be combined in a blender to achieve the same result. Aiming for one to two whole fruits and four whole vegetables a day will provide great benefits in a simple, convenient method.
Juicing has been proven to reduce the symptoms and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, protect against certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and regulate blood sugar. These are all great ways to achieve a high level of nutrition, but are there any drawbacks? The answer is yes – even with all of the healthy benefits there are concerns that should be addressed when considering juicing.
- Juicing typically does not provide you with the fibre needed for optimal digestive health. So it is important to either eat additional foods high in fibre, or add a fibre supplement to your diet.
- With none of the fibre to slow digestion and absorption, blood sugar will rise and fall more quickly, and you will also not get the feeling of being full. You will feel great for awhile, but may crash and be prone to binging and fatigue later. Including more leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach and fewer fruits in your juice will ensure maximum health benefits.
- There is a higher risk of food-borne illnesses because home pressed juice is not pasteurized. Fresh juice cannot be kept for long periods of time, and should be consumed within a few hours of being prepared.
- Juicing is not an immediate cure for what ails you and it can take some time before you start to see results, which can be frustrating.
If you’re ready to get started, it’s time to choose your juicer. Take a look at what products are available to help with your juicing journey. We use a centrifugal juicer by MOULINEX (KRUPS).
Types of Juicers
There are several ways to juice your fruits and vegetables, and they all have their various pros and cons. Here’s a closer look at different types of juicers:
- Centrifugal – Seeing as how juicers can range from $30 to $300, this type of juicer is the most common simply because of its budget-friendly affordability. But there are good reasons to use one. This juicer can handle high quantities of cut or whole fruit and produces high juice yields without the need to core, remove seeds or hull during preparation. The drawback is that it can’t handle leafy or grassy foods very well, producing very little juice for the amount of raw material. Another drawback is that the fast-spinning metal blade generates heat, which destroys some of the enzymes in the fruits and vegetables. The heat also oxidizes those nutrients, rendering less nutritious juice than a cold-press juicer.
- Mastication (a.k.a. Cold Press or Slow Juicer) – This is a new type of juicer design that uses a single auger to literally chew the food into small pieces while extracting the juice. It helps to retain more enzymes, vitamins and minerals. These juicers produce a lot of juice with little waste and handle leafy green vegetables with ease, but the price is a lot steeper than centrifugal juicers, which may be a deterrent for some people.
- Triturating – This is a two-gear juicing system that turns at a slower rpm than any other juicer, therefore slowing oxidizing from foam and retaining the highest possible amount of nutrients by putting the food through two interlocking rollers that retain the fibre, vitamin and mineral content of each fruit or vegetable. The pulp is drier than any other method, which is great for sauces or butters. The equipment is fairly heavy, weighing anywhere from 13 to 26 pounds – the largest of the types of juicers – and can be quite expensive when compared with other juicing methods. The loading chute is often smaller on two-gear systems than with others, meaning more patience is required to achieve the desired result.
Fresh juice is at the peak of its nutritional value when extracted, and should be consumed right away. However, sometimes it’s more practical to make a larger quantity for later use. Some juices last longer than others, and some should not be stored at all.
Storage also depends on the type of juicer used:
- Centrifugal – Do not keep more than 24 hours after extraction
- Masticating – Discard juice after 48 hours
- Triturating – Juice should be thrown out after 72 hours
Always use an airtight container to store juice immediately. Essential nutrients can dissipate after making contact with the air. Remember, too, that the longer a juice is kept refrigerated the more vitamins and minerals will disappear from it, negating the health benefits that would have been gained.
The life of juice can be extended by freezing it in ice cubes and using them to add nutrients to your morning smoothie. Freezing causes some damage but significantly lower than leaving the juice in the fridge for several days. Adding citrus fruits to your juice also helps to extend life, as fruits like oranges, lemons and limes act as natural preservatives.
Veggie Juicing Tips
- Always thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before juicing
- Make sure your juicing equipment is clean and free of soap
- Assure food is cut into small enough pieces before starting the juicing process
- Try to combine sweeter fruits and vegetables with dark leafy greens for optimal health benefits
- Compost your juice pulp, or consider saving it for stews, quiches, oatmeal or pancakes
- Experiment with a variety of fruits and root vegetables, like beets or even ginger. You never know what combinations you might enjoy!
- Use the extracted juice in smoothies for even more recipe options and nutritional value.