Juicing for Health
By Claudia Jones
A glass or two of fresh juice per day is a delicious and simple way to get plenty of nutrients into your body, help alkalize your system and improve your overall health.
When you drink a freshly prepared juice on an empty stomach the phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals are quickly and easily absorbed into your system making juicing an efficient way to increase your absorption of essential nutrients; this is particularly beneficial if your digestion is anything less than optimal. By drinking fresh juices on a daily basis, you can help to alkalize and hydrate your system and minimize cravings for unhealthful foods. If your system is overly acidic, your digestion and therefore your overall health will be compromised; in this case taking green vegetable juices would be particularly beneficial and alkalizing to the body.
For those who find vegetables difficult to eat for digestive reasons, juicing is a great way to get a nutritional boost without the accompanying gas or bloating. By varying the vegetables you have in your juice every day you ensure an intake of a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals.
Consuming juice is very easy on the digestion and used as part of a cleansing program can provide the body with many of its required nutrients while allowing the digestive system to rest and heal. However, it is important to bear in mind that a juice is not a complete food and as such should not be used as a meal replacement but more as a healthy addition to a balanced diet.
What about fiber?
When juicing fruits and vegetables the fiber content is removed whichincreases absorption time. It also means that you need to use a large amount of fruits and vegetables to yield a relatively small amount of juice. While this is good news with regard to nutrient intake, if you are juicing fruits, it means you may take in too much sugar at one time, so for this reason vegetable juices arepreferable to fruit juices, although adding some apple to a juice for sweetness (and having the occasional fruit juice) is fine.
Note: if you are replacing some of the vegetables from your diet with vegetable juices, it is very important to ensure you take your fiber from another source.
One of our favorite detoxifying juice recipes here at Samahita Retreat is the Sun Salute. It contains a blend of the following:
Kale, cucumber, carrot, apple, beetroot, ginger
Try it and if you don't like it, you can switch the ingredients until you find a recipe that suits your taste buds. By adding ginger, lemon, lime or some fresh herbs such as coriander or mint you can totally transform the flavor of a juice.
To increase the nutritional value of your juices you can add superfoods such as spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass powder or a good quality whey/soy protein powder, virgin coconut oil (in warmer climes) and any other superfood supplements you enjoy.
Practical tips on juicing for health
- The ideal time to drink your juice is in the morning before breakfast or in between meals.
- Aim to drink the juice immediately after you have prepared it and if you can't drink it right away then store it in a sealed container to minimize oxidization and loss of nutrients.
- Keep the leftover vegetable pulp and use it make raw vegetable lasagna or tasty raw crackers in a dehydrator.
- Select fresh and organic produce for juicing and ensure that the vegetables you use have been properly cleaned or peeled (if not organic) to remove dirt and pesticides.
- Start with any type of juicer just to get you into the habit of enjoying a daily juice or two. Once you are in the habit of juicing you can then explore the market for a better quality slow juicer that will be a long-term investment in your health.
Cheers to your health!
Claudia is the Wellness Director at Samahita Retreat. Claudia offers support and advice to guests on our detox programs and teaches detox & wellness retreats at Wellness Thailand, Samahita Retreat throughout the year.