Nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables play an essential role in everything from skin health to disease prevention.
Unfortunately, most people have a difficult time reaching the daily 4 servings of fruits and 5 servings of vegetables recommended by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.(1)
One technique that can help you reach these goals without sacrificing the happiness of your taste buds is adding juicing to your daily routine.
What is Juicing?
Juicing involves using specialized equipment to remove the liquid from fruits and vegetables.
The resulting juice extracts most of the vitamins and minerals while leaving the fiber that makes up the structure of the produce behind.
There are four main kinds of juicers, centrifugal force, masticating, triturating and hydraulic, more commonly referred to as cold pressing.
Each method uses a slightly different method to extract the juice, but it’s the machines that use triturating or cold pressing that preserve the greatest amount of nutrients through their process.
However, these machines are typically more expensive, and you can still get all the same benefits from less expensive equipment.
History of Juicing
The practice of juicing has ancient historical roots that have evolved into modern juicing methods today.
References to this health practice are found all the way back to ancient Polynesian practices with Noni juice, a mixture of water and passion fruit juice.
References can also be found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and other historical texts, especially in relation to using juicing for healing and natural medicine.
Modern-day juicing got its start largely from the 1936 book Raw Vegetable Juices written by Dr. Norman Walker, who also developed the hydraulic juice press in conjunction with his book.
Moving into the 1960s, both juicers and blenders grew in popularity and availability, with the 1970s marking the appearance of the first commercial juice bars.
Today juice bars have spread throughout the world, often attached to gyms, spas, and fitness centers.
However, it’s the availability of affordable home juicers that have made juicing more accessible to those looking to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet.
Benefits for Weight Loss
While adding juicing to your diet won’t necessarily contribute to weight loss, juicing can play an important part of your diet routine.
Cutting calories can sometimes result in a lack of nutrition if not planned carefully. Juicing can act as a multivitamin to help combat this issue.
When using your juice blends in a weight loss program, be sure to focus the greater percentage of your produce blend to juicing vegetables that have a lower calorie and sugar load, such as carrots, spinach, cucumber, celery, swiss chard, and broccoli.
If you miss some of the sweetness, try adding in sweet potato or beets.
This method doesn’t mean you have to remove fruit completely, just use moderation, as the more variety you have in your juice blends, the greater variety of vitamins and nutrients your final juice will have.
Benefits for General Health
The primary benefit to juicing is how easily it increases your vitamin and mineral intake from fruits and vegetables.
This benefit is especially helpful for those that don’t necessarily like fruits and vegetables and struggle to add them to meals and snacks throughout the day.
Removing the fiber also allows you to consume more fruits and vegetables without feeling full too quickly, and may also help simplify digestion and allow enzymes, vitamins, and nutrients to more easily absorb into your system.
Juicing also allows you to experiment with other types of fruits and vegetables you don’t normally eat in their whole form or don’t buy because you’re not sure how to use them in recipes, suggests the Mayo Clinic.(2)
Juicing also helps reduce waste in your home.
An estimated one-third of food produced in the world goes to waste, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.(3)
How often have you purchased cucumbers, apples or other produce only to throw them away when they start to shrivel or look unappetizing?
If they’re still good on the inside, you can easily throw them into your juicer.
Juicing does have certain disadvantages over eating the whole fruit.
While removing fiber from produce allows you to more easily consume more fruits and vegetables, it can also negatively impact how satiating the meal is.
Fiber makes you feel full, and removing it completely from your juice can leave you feeling hungry.
The lack of fiber also impacts how the natural sugars from the juice blend impact your blood sugar levels, so it's important to use juice as a supplement in a healthy varied diet full of other healthy high fiber foods like whole grains, legumes, and whole vegetables.
If your juice blends are higher in fruits than vegetables, you'll also need to watch calories. While juice can be extremely healthy, moderation is key.
When Should You Drink It?
Drink your juice blends early in the morning when you first wake up on an empty stomach, which may help increase nutrient absorption. It’s also important to juice only what you plan on drinking for optimal benefits, versus storing excess in the refrigerator.
6 Juicing Recipes For Beginners
If this is your first time juicing, the beginner’s juice is a great way to guarantee you’ll like the results.
This blend can also act as a jumping off point to add other fruits and vegetables to your own tastes.
There really are no limits to what produce you can juice!
Just Beet It
Most people only ever experience the canned beets served at a holiday dinner table.
However, once you try the fresh detoxifying beets in this smoothie blend, you’ll easily be converted to a beet lover.
When using juicing for weight loss, this green juice recipe is great for minimizing calories while accelerating metabolism and fighting inflammation.
The cucumber adds a refreshing flavor along with heart-helping potassium.
Ginger Carrot Bite
This blend is packed full of beta-carotene and vitamins A, C and K from the sweet carrots, an antioxidant-filled tart from the green apple, and brings in an extra punch from the fresh healthy ginger.
The ginger amount can be raised or lowered depending on how much bite you desire.
If you have trouble getting kids to eat green vegetables, they’ll barely be able to tell there’s any in this mix filled with tropical hints of mango, lime, ginger, and pineapple with the added zinc, niacin, and vitamin K of spinach.
If you’re a fan of a Bloody Mary, this nonalcoholic juice version is a healthy way to get your fix.
The tomatoes in this mix increase your intake of lycopene, a potent anti-inflammatory, and anti-clotting antioxidant.
The added jalapeno not only wakes up your taste buds but the capsaicin from the pepper can help speed up metabolism for weight loss.
The spice may also help balance blood glucose levels, according to biochemistry research from the Herbal & Indian Medicine Research Laboratory, Dept. of Biochemistry.(4)
Don’t like it that spicy?
Try removing the seeds from the jalapeno first and soaking in water, or simply remove the jalapeno altogether.
With the increased availability and smaller price tags of quality juicers now on the market, there's never been a better time to start juicing for your health.
While the included recipes are a great starting point, don't be afraid to make your own blends to suit your taste buds and individual needs.
The greater the variety of fruits and vegetables you include, the more your health will benefit, so experiment, enjoy, and experience the wide range of health benefits you'll experience by adding juicing to a healthy diet routine.