Lately I have been hearing a lot more about juicing. It seems as though juicing is being touted as having greater health benefits, and juice fasts have become all the rage for many who are trying to lose weight. Supporters of juicing say that juicing is better for you than is eating whole fruits and vegetables because your body can absorb the nutrients better. Yet, there is really no scientific evidence to support that. The the idea that the enzymes found in raw fruits and vegetables have special powers is erroneous as well. Enzymes found in raw produce are broken down by your stomach juices during the digestive process regardless of whether they are juiced or whole.
I am not against juicing, but I think people are expecting far too much from the juicing concept. When you use a juicer, only the juice is extracted from the raw fruit or vegetable. The fiber, an essential nutrient for digestive health is removed during juicing process and you miss out on the fiber.
Juicing certainly is not unhealthy, and included as part of a healthy diet seems to do no harm. If you are not a lover of fruits or vegetables, juicing may be a way to get some of the essential nutrients you may not otherwise consume. Drinking too much juice could result in sudden weight loss or diarrhea. It could also result in consumption of excessive calories or spike your blood sugar, particularly if the juice is made mostly from fruit. Think about this: it may take up to six pieces of fruit to make one glass of juice…would you eat six pieces of fruit at one time?
If you want to start juicing, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of the juicing experience:
- Prepare only the amount you will drink, and consume the juice soon after you make it; fresh juices can deteriorate quickly and develop harmful bacteria
- Don’t rely too heavily on fruit; try using mostly vegetables and add 1 serving of fruit for a bit of sweetness
- If you haven’t purchased a juicer yet, consider one that allows you to reserve rather than discard the pulp; incorporate the pulp back into the juice or use it as an ingredient in another food you are preparing
- If purchasing commercially prepared fresh juices, make sure they are pasteurized to prevent bacterial contamination
Have fun experimenting with your juicer, but don’t forget to eat those whole fruits and vegetables too!