No matter who you are or where you live, everyone can benefit by following one simple rule: eat more vegetables! This simple yet important rule often has a huge following in the beginning of a new year as many people are resolute to eat healthier and exercise more. In fact, to encourage people to stick to their New Year resolutions, January 26th has been named Green Juice Day. But as the annual juice day creeps closer, it is important to know…is juicing beneficial? To keep it simple, the National Foundation for Cancer Research has broken down some myths and spelled out the facts.
What is juicing?
Juicing extracts the juice from fruits and vegetables using a juicer or blender. The most common juice is freshly squeezed orange juice, but the sky is the limit when it comes to making a tasty drink. Many juice options aim for a healthier edge by adding ginger, beets, carrots, or greens.
Can I consume my fruits and vegetables exclusively through a juice?
No! This is a common misconception. The truth is that people need to eat whole fruits and vegetables to reap the benefits. While many of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables can be passed through the juice (such a vitamin C), other nutrients like fiber cannot be consumed via juice. Some advocates of juicing explain that drinking fruits and vegetables via juice gives the digestive tract a ‘much needed’ rest, especially from fiber. However, the average adult doesn’t consume nearly enough fiber each day, and therefore, does not need a digestive tract rest. The average adult consumes an average of 15 grams of fiber per day when they should be consuming 25-40 grams.
So…juicing is bad?
It’s not bad, but it’s not black and white. It cannot replace eating whole fruits and vegetables, but it can increase one’s intake of essential vitamins and nutrients. Juicing shouldn’t be one’s exclusive or primary diet as it doesn’t have any protein and it can provide too many calories and sugars. Adding juice to a diet should be in addition to full servings of fruits and vegetables. It is also important to be selective with what goes into a juice. While fruits are extremely tasty in juice form, they often add much more sugar to a juice than vegetables and other potential ingredients.
What about juicing to detox?
Detoxes are not a healthy or necessary thing to do. We are equipped with organs that instinctively detox the body, including the liver and kidneys. Juice detoxes (or other concoctions) don’t do a better job at cleansing than the organs themselves do, and there is no scientific evidence proving otherwise.
Does juicing prevent cancer?
Not necessarily. Fruits and vegetables are packed full of antioxidants and those help prevent some cancers. Fiber is also highly effective at preventing some types of cancers, like colon cancer, but is removed when fruits and vegetables are juiced.
What do cancer patients need to know about juicing?
Some cancer patients will experience difficulty swallowing caused by the disease or related treatments. Some patients may also be advised to follow a low-fiber diet. In these situations, juicing can be an excellent option.
What should I add in a juice?
When making a juice, carefully selecting the ingredients is key! Adding vegetables is a good start, but embracing variety will ensure there are plenty of nutrients in the juice. Get creative and try juicing broccoli stems, turnips, radishes, bok choy, and other types of vegetables that are typically left out of juices.
How do I pick a juicer?
The price of juicers can range from affordable to shocking, and with so many options, picking one out can be a challenge! Surprisingly, a juicer is not even a necessity. Fruits and vegetables can be blended in a regular blender and strained to make juice. This is a great strategy to include a little extra pulp (or fiber!) in the drink. Using a blender might take a little extra time, but it is a great option when getting started. For those who fall in love with juicing, a reasonably priced juicer works just as effectively as the top-of-the-line models.
Will you be making a green juice on Green Juice Day? Share your recipe in the comments!
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