Juice Up - Drink in Nutrients for Energy and Health
by RenÃ©e Loux
We all know that eating an ample amount of fruits and vegetables does the body good, but what about drinking them? Juices extracted from whole fresh produce deliver pure liquid nutrition. Each sip proffers clean bio-available fuel, instant energy and cell-quenching hydration.
Juicing is an optimal way to add more fruits and vegetables to any diet, particularly for kids that are finicky about food. Stripped of produce fiber, the clarified juice contains all of the plant’s health-promoting compounds in a form that is extremely easy for the body to digest and absorb. Fresh juice can be assimilated in as little as 15 minutes on an empty stomach—a true fast food.
An array of fresh juices provides a concentrated source of a full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes needed to fortify, protect and nourish the body. Because fresh juice requires very little energy to digest, it allows the body to direct more of its energy into repairing cells and tissues. More, fresh juices work to “speed the recovery from disease, by supporting the body’s own healing activity and cell regeneration,” advises Dr. Gabriel Cousens, a raw food advocate known for treating diabetes through nutrition.
Many health practitioners believe that fresh juice also improves digestion by eliminating toxins, while facilitating nutrient uptake. Dr. Joseph Mercola, of the Natural Health Center, explains: “Most of us have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to [in essence] pre-digest them for you, so that you will receive most of the nutrition.”
The raw state of fresh fruit and vegetable juice means that all of the nutrients, enzymes and compounds remain intact. This includes water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C that are easily destroyed by cooking and processing, and essential enzyme proteins that catalyze digestion and the assimilation of nutrients. Leading health authorities further believe that these enzymes also help boost metabolism for healthy weight management and stable energy levels.
Fresh juice is obviously preferred to packaged juice from a taste standpoint, as well. One significant distinction is that commercially prepared juice is heat pasteurized to kill pathogens. As Dr. Andrew Weil remarks, “Unfortunately, while heat treating can help keep store-bought juices safe, it also destroys enzymes, lowers vitamin concentrations and alters the taste—juice becomes blandly sweet, rather than featuring a natural symphony of complex and subtle flavors.”
So drink deep and enjoy fresh juices’ bountiful benefits.
RenÃ©e Loux is a green expert, organic chef, restaurateur and media personality, and the co-founder of Andalou Naturals. She has authored four books, including Easy Green Living and The Balanced Plate. Visit ReneeLoux.com.
Juicing Tipsby RenÃ©e Loux
- When you start juicing, use vegetables that you like, possibly carrots, celery and cucumber. Later, begin incorporating vegetables that are new to you or that you may be less fond of, such as kale and beets.
- While sweet fruit juice is a delicious treat, most fruit contains a fair amount of sugar, so use fruit juices sparingly to keep calorie and sugar content in check. Choose fruits that contain a large amount of water, such as watermelon, and fruits that are less sweet, such as pomegranate, for optimum benefits.
- Drink juice on an empty stomach for optimum absorption and health benefits.
- Ginger is a delicious addition to almost any juice and will aid digestion, stimulate circulation and balance blood sugar. Researchers at the American Heart Association and U.S. Food and Drug Administration have found that ginger can dramatically affect cardiovascular health, helping to prevent atherosclerosis, lower cholesterol levels and inhibit oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, aka bad cholesterol).
- Whenever possible, use organically grown produce to prepare juices and prevent chemical residues from ending up in the drink. If organic produce is not available, peel or thoroughly wash produce using a vegetable brush to remove wax coating and reduce chemical residues.
- Drink juice that’s as fresh as possible to retain and obtain the peak of nutritional benefits. If you need to store fresh juice, use a narrow-necked glass bottle to reduce its exposure to oxygen, which over time, breaks down delicate, vital nutrients.