Updated: Nov 5, 2018
Juicing has become all the rage these days, and I’m not talking about grabbing a jug of orange juice from the supermarket. From popular juice bars to in home juicing machines, almost everyone has access to freshly juiced fruits and vegetables these days. People rave about their nutritional benefits, as well as claim they help your digestion, metabolism, and more.
Proponents of juicing claim that it's the quickest and easiest way for you to squeeze in tons of fruits and veggies, while making it easier on your digestion to absorb the nutrients.
Let's take a look at some of these claims.
Nutrition Because of the sheer amount of fruits and vegetables used to make fresh pressed juices, you can squeeze in tons more than you would be able to eat in a sitting. Take a look at the above photo: this is the juice I juiced this morning in preparation for writing about juice.
This glass took 8 full sized tricolored carrots, 1 apple, 2 lemons, a huge chunk of ginger, half a cucumber, and copious amounts of spinach and baby kale. (P.S., if you want a good juice recipe, this one's awesome!). There is no way I could happily stuff down this much plant matter, meaning I can get far more micronutrients and phytochemicals in a glass of juice than in a typical meal. However, there were several studies done on the nutrient absorption that showed little to no difference between absorption rates from whole fruit versus their juices. So it's not really that you absorb more nutrients, you can just fit more.
If you're new to the world of juicing, beware: juicing removes most of the fiber that comes from the plant pulp. This means if you're only drinking fruit juice, you're getting a big fat sugar spike with no fiber to slow it down. Stick to juicing mostly veggies, mostly green ones, with added superfoods like turmeric or ginger that you don't eat in normal meals.
If you need some sweetener, throw in an apple like I do!
Cleansing and Digestion
The truth is, your body is made to detox on its own. Your liver and kidneys are designed to clear out toxins. The problem is, with the typical American diet of omega-6 fatty acids and the rare vegetable combined with the way we process our food, our natural detoxifiers are usually not functioning that well. Going on a short term water/juice fast can be very beneficial for your system, as it helps your body to reset its digestion, floods it with healthy nutrients, and gives it a break from its hard work.
Don't juice fast for more than a few days as it lacks essential nutrients (like proteins and fats) that are required for survival!
I should also note, you don't need to juice to help your organs do their job. Drinking plenty of water, eating vegetables regularly, and even occasional full-fasting will all help reset your digestion. Taking supplements on a regular basis will help as well. Milk thistle, brocco powder, and dandelion root are all great herbal supplements that help restore liver function.
Anytime you increase your vegetable intake your body loves you for it. Veggies (especially green ones) have many many micronutrients that increase metabolism, promote fat burning, and do even greater things like promote neurogenesis and fight free-radicals that cause cancer. Fresh-pressed juice can be a great way to increase your intake, especially if you don't love fresh veggies. It's also a great way to start your morning if you don't like to eat first thing.
However, you can't rely solely on juicing for your veggie intake if you're trying to lose weight. The fiber from fresh fruits and veggies is a necessary part of your diet, helps you stay full longer, and decreases the glycemic index of any carbs you eat with it. This means less sugar spikes, more stable blood-sugar, and less of that excess energy being stored as fat.
If you haven't caught on yet, I'm a huge proponent of fresh juicing. It's delicious, nutritious, and helps me clean out my fridge when I can't eat all the fresh veggies I bought. Not to mention, I feel a nearly immediate energy and mood boost after I've chugged a jug of fresh pressed veggies.
How do you feel about juicing? I'd love to hear your thoughts, concerns, and questions - drop me a comment below!