First there were smoothies, then came green wheatgrass shots and now juice is having its moment.
Juicing and juice fasts are fast becoming the norm in the health and wellness world. A miracle potion, juicing is promoted as having the ability to detox your body, energise, boost immunity, enhance weight loss. As well as increase your intake of health-promoting phytochemicals (some of which are linked to reducing the chances of cancer). This, all thanks to the vitamin and mineral rich produce pressed and poured into a glass ready for drinking.
The underlying theme is that if fruits and vegetables are healthy, then a glass brimming with juice extracts of a dozen fruits and vegetables should be even healthier right?
While juicing allows you to take in a larger and wider variety of fruits and vegetables, and is no doubt a healthy beverage choice it cannot replace nutrients you get from other food sources. To get the most out of juicing, whether you’re making it at home or purchasing it follow this is what you should know
The Do’s and Don’ts of Juicing
- Do Go Vegetable Heavy & Fruit Light
While fruits may give you plenty antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, they are better eaten whole in their fibre. The fibre helps buffer the sugar content in the fruit which lowers its glycemic and fructose load. Fruit juices are often loaded with sugar giving your body a heavy sugar spike.
To get the most out of juicing, opt for vegetable juices which are nutrient packed without the sugar. Use fruit as a sweetener, to sweeten the base of vegetables. Opt for fruits lower in sugar like Green apples, kiwis and berries.
Add herbs which not only add extra flavour, but are also packed with nutrients.
- Don’t subsist on juice only
Juice cleanses may help you lose weight (as any calorie restricted diet would), but often that weight loss is temporary and will pile back on as soon as you start taking in solids. In addition while juices may be giving you vitamins and minerals it does not give you all the nutrients your body needs on a daily basis.
Most juices contain barely, if any protein – arguably the most important nutrient, which also means weight loss may just be muscle loss.
If you want to detox or cleanse, instead of existing purely on juice, eliminate inflammatory causing foods like sugar, salt, red meat, bread and alcohol and focus on lean sources of protein like eggs, chicken and fish. Replace a meal or snack with a nutrient packed juice to increase your intake of vegetables, vitamins and minerals.
- Do make your own Juice
Making your own juice may be time consuming but you can better control exactly what goes into your drink, tailor making it filled with the nutrients you want more of. In addition, freshly made juice is where you will find the highest concentration of nutrients.
If you don’t have a juicer or the time to make your own juice, opt for juices that are raw and cold pressed. Avoid juices that are pasteurized. The process of pasteurization which kills bacteria to create a shelf-stable product also destroys vitamins and phytonutrients.
- Do go organic
Juicing creates a concentrated vitamin packed drink. If there is any pesticide and chemical residue on the produce, that too will be concentrated. As much as possible opt for organic produce especially when juicing these fruits and vegetables.
- Don’t waste
One of the downsides of juicing is the waste it creates. A glass of juice will leave you with a heap of pulp which is often discarded. Instead of binning it get creative with these ideas on using leftover juice pulp.
Sources: Food Republic: Pros and Cons of Juicing; Livestrong: Does juicing vegetables give you the same nutrition; Mind Body Green: Common misconceptions about juicing; Everything you need to know about juicing; The Right and Wrong Way to Juice;What you need to know about the way your juice is made; Why it may be time give up juices and smoothies
Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.