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Healthy Juicing: Super Juice for Super Health

Blog0914_Juicing0It's warm. It's sunny. Hope everyone is enjoying the last stretch of summer. With the higher temperatures comes the need to stay cool and well hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is the best place to start but if you're feeling festive, you might also want to have a healthy juice or even start juicing for yourself.

Why Juice?

Juicing is often a topic of interest for the health conscious and for good reason. Some turn to juicing as a tool used in short-term weight loss or detox programs. These may be welcome side effects of juicing but it is, most importantly, a simple and effective way to increase your intake of nutrients in an easily digestible form. This means that juicing is a great option for those with digestive difficulties as well as many other health conditions since it provides high quantities of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and various healing phytonutrients.

3 Ways to Healthy Juicing

Blog0914_Juicing2Here are 3 ways to make sure that juicing is a healthy option for you:

  1. Keep blood sugar levels balanced: When fruits and vegetables are juiced, their liquid content is separated from their fiber content. The juice may have a high nutritional content but without the fiber, is made up mostly of carbohydrates or sugar. The fiber within a fruit helps to slow down the body's absorption of this sugar. Fruit juices can cause spikes in blood sugar followed by episodes of low blood sugar (called reactive hypoglycemia) that leave one craving more sugar to regain balance. Episodes of low blood sugar may involve fatigue, foggy thinking or confusion, mood swings and dizziness. The best way to avoid this is to:

    1. Stay otherwise well hydrated with pure filtered water. You can add some electrolytes to your water by adding a small amount of sea salt, coconut water or juice. Electrolytes are basically soluble salts, acids and bases that replenish the body's loss through sweating and thereby contribute to better hydration. Here is one recipe that might work well for you.

    2. Consider making smoothies in a blender so that the fiber content of your ingredients is retained and you have the option to add other sources of protein, fiber and healthy fats (greens, yogurt, nut butters, flax meal and chia seeds), for example and make it a quick meal that helps to keep you feeling full.

    3. Drink juice with well balanced meals (complex carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats) to help slow down your sugar absorption rate.

  2. Boost your juice with greens: Leafy green vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals so adding them to your juice makes it even healthier and helps increase the number of those much-needed servings of  a wide variety vegetables to your daily diet.

  3. Try making Super-juices: I call them Super-juices because they taste great and are packed with healing ingredients. Consider dark berries and beets which are high in antioxidants, dark leafy greens for their vitamin and mineral content and ginger to aid digestion and circulation. Fruits like cucumber and oranges are particularly juicy and refreshing while providing plenty of essential nutrients. Check out the EWG's Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen list to help you choose which ingredients you might want to buy organic to limit the pesticide content in your juices.

Chart: Fruits and Vegetables with Relatively High Amounts of Essential Nutrients

Nutrient Juice or smoothie-friendly raw foods (1 cup) Number of calories Daily Value
Biotin Carrot 50 20.3%
Calcium Yogurt (whole milk)
Folate Spinach 7 15%
Iodine Yogurt
Iron Spinach 7 5%
Magnesium Swiss Chard 7 7%
Manganese Spinach
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) Avocado 240 41.6%
Potassium Beet greens
Sweet potato
Vitamin A Carrots
Sweet potato
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) Beet greens 8 5%
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) Sweet potato 114 14%
Vitamin C Papaya (1 medium size whole fruit)
Vitamin E Avocado 240 20.7%
Vitamin K Kale 33 684%


Tips For Preparing Raw Vegetable and Fruit Juices & Smoothies

  1. Blog0914_Juicing1Use freshly squeezed or extracted juices as and drink them right away for the best taste and maximum nutrient content

  2. When drinking fruit or sweeter vegetable juices (like carrot or beet juice), be sure to dilute them 1:1 with filtered water to prevent blood sugar spikes

  3. Choose fresh, organic vegetables and fruits whenever possible

  4. Clean and wash the produce thoroughly

  5. Use a juicer for juices and a blender for smoothies

  6. Remove inedible or waxed peels, seeds and pits before juicing/blending

  7. The pulp left over from juicing is full of fiber and can be used in soups, stews, and baking or make excellent garden compost

  8. As a beginner, keep it simple. Juicing 2-4 vegetables and fruits at a time will keep your juicing routine easy enough to continue on a regular basis

Here are some great juice and smoothie recipes that you can enjoy for all seasons!

Juice Recipes

Easy Breezy Cucumber Cooler Recipe: 4 carrots, 1 cucumber, 1 stalk celery, 1 apple, 1/2 lemon, peeled

Beet-le Juice: 1 apple, cored and sliced; 1 lemon, peeled, 2 tall celery stalks, 1 beet, with the leaves, 1 handful of spinach (optional) *For added sweetness, include more lemon and apple

Veggie Ginger Juice: 3 large carrots, 1 beet, 1 green apple, 4 large stalks celery, 1 large handful of spinach, parsley, or other dark green, 1 small cucumber, 1 inch knob ginger. Feel free to omit the ginger if you do not prefer or tolerate spice.

Smoothie Recipes

Blueberry Flaxseed Shake: 4 each ice cubes, ½ cup blueberries, fresh, 2 teaspoons organic Agave, 1 tablespoon flax seed powder, 8 ounces cold water, 2 scoops  protein powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ banana, 1 tablespoon Omega 3 oil

Creamy Almond Kale Smoothie: 2 cups raw almond milk, 1/2 bunch kale, 1 to 2 pears, cored and chopped

Raspberry-Avocado Smoothie: 1 avocado, peeled and pitted, 3/4 cup orange juice, 3/4 cup raspberry juice, 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, (not thawed)


Other Resources on Healthy Juicing

McIntyre, Anne. Drink To Your Health. 2000. Gaia Books Ltd.

World's Healthiest Foods

SELF Nutrition Data

Note: Be sure to consult your doctor or health care provider before making any dietary changes.

Editor Messag:Choosing Your Juicer

There are many types of juicers in the market. The early juicers, popularized by Jack LaLanne, the Juice Man, were mainly centrifugal juicers that extract juice by spinning at a high speed. The spinning action extracts juice through centrifugal forces. These juicers are quick and easy to use. However the spinning generates heat which can destroy nutrients in the juice. Since then, the juicing market has evolved into slow juicers. These juicers' gears rotate at a much slower speed and extract juice by using cutting, chewing or crushing mechanisms, thus earn them the name slow juicers or masticating juicers. As technologies evolve, different types of slow juicers were created, all aiming to produce nutritious and delicious juices.

While there are many good juicers in the market, oftern the choice of a juicer dependes on the user's lifestyle. Considerations include the usage, produce preferred, ease of use, yield, and prices. To learn more about juicer choices and which one fits your needs, see Ultimate Nourishment.

Dr. Adeola Mead, ND is the Natural Choice Network's Healthy Living Content Coordinator. She is a Bastyr University graduate and Seattle based naturopathic physician. Dr. Mead is passionate about using natural medicine education as a powerful healing tool for both individuals and communities.

Photo Credit: Coconut Juice Facts by John Revo Puno; Juice Samples courtesy of Live Better America; Wheatgrass shots Sip Juice Bar by Steven Depolo