More than a simple way to quench your thirst, juicing can be a very healthy alternative to other forms of beverage, too. Aside from giving that extra boost you’ll need for your everyday activities, juicing can also supply the body with minerals and vitamins for better all-around health. How can you maximize the benefits you can get from juicing? Here are 10 helpful tips to show you the way.
Start with a Basic Juicer
Some folks get confused about juicing. More often than not, they mistake juice for a smoothie. That is why many use a blender to create their own brand of “juice”. The problem is that this is not juicing at all. It is a smoothie. If you want to create your own juice, then you should start with the right equipment.
A juicer is the right tool for the job. This device separates the juice from everything else. This includes the pulp, pith, rind, and what have you. Unfortunately, most of the fruits that are ideal for juicing come packed with nutrients in these parts. They also contain dietary fiber that can aid in digestion.
As such, when you remove these parts and take only the liquid component of the ingredient, you will not be getting the full nutritional benefits of the fruit. The good news is that the removal of the pulp means you also reduce the number of calories. That is why juicing is such a very appealing proposition to weight loss fanatics.
Juicers come in a wide range of prices. High-end ones can cost you anywhere between $250 and up. There are products in the lower end of the market, too. If this is your first time to do juicing, it is a good idea to start with a basic juicer. You can always upgrade to a higher-end machine with more features as you get the hang of it.
Pick Your Fruits
Fruits are one of the best ingredients for juicing. However, there are some fruits which are best consumed raw if you want to obtain all the benefits that they provide. For example, fruits are rich in antioxidants. These substances are often found in the skin and pulp of fruits. If you juice them, you may still get some of these antioxidants, but never all of them.
There is also the issue of calories. Some fruits have more fructose content than others. For instance, pineapples and mangoes make excellent fruit shakes. Unfortunately, they are also rich in sugar.
A cup of raw pineapple can give you 82.5 calories and 16.3 grams of sugar. Mangoes, on the other hand, contain about 107 calories and 24.4 grams of sugar for every cup of the tropical fruit. Avocados are also high in calories, although low in sugar. A cup of avocado will give you 240 calories but only a gram of sugar.
While it is true that juicing will reduce the number of calories taken from fruit, some fruits will still contain more calories and sugar than others. That is why it is best to be picky when it comes to juicing for weight loss. But if there are no issues about weight, then almost any other fruit can be an excellent choice.
Pick Your Veggies
If you’re concerned about the sugar content of fruits, then you should choose veggies as the key players in your juice blend. Vegetables contain plenty of phytochemicals that serve as antioxidants. They do not contain that many calories as fruits do. More importantly, veggies contain little to no sugar at all. This is great news for those who are trying to curb their sweet, sugary desires.
The only issue with vegetable juicing is that it takes getting used to its taste. Most vegetables are best consumed cooked because heat releases their active ingredients. Plus, it does impart a more palatable profile to the vegetable. There are also vegetables that are best eaten raw, like cucumbers, arugula, and watercress, among others. These are quite easy to “eat” raw because the flavors are not that concentrated.
If you juice veggies, you will get quite a bitter flavor. This is true if you’re going to juice green, leafy vegetables. This is the reason why you may want to add something to the veggie juice to help cut down the bitter taste. Most folks will add lemon, although putting apples into the mix should provide your veggie juice a more interesting taste.
Wash and Prepare Your Fruits and Vegetables before Juicing
It is best to wash every fruit and vegetable before you create your juice blend. One can never be too sure what chemicals or substances are present on the surface of these food items. While farm-to-market produce will often undergo washing and cleaning, there is no telling how many hands have had their share on the surfaces of these fruits and vegetables. If not chemicals, there will always be the risk of germs present on the surface.
It is true that the juicer will only provide you with the liquid component of these ingredients. However, most models of juicers allow you to put whole pieces of fruits and vegetables. This means you can include the rind, skin, pith, and everything else. The skin is where you will see most of the contaminants. These are things you do not want in your juice.
If the recipe calls for you to cut up your fruits, then make sure to slice them in the proper way. This will aid in the more efficient extraction of the nutritious juice.
Start with Single-Ingredient Juices
For obvious reasons, juicing is not for everyone. This is especially true for individuals who are more accustomed to the sweet taste of conventional commercially-available beverages. These are “sweeter” than freshly-squeezed juice because manufacturers already add sugar and other flavor enhancers into the mix.
Vegetable juices are some of the trickiest to acclimatize. It is one thing to eat cooked or raw whole vegetables. It is another thing to drink highly-concentrated vegetable juices. It is as if your brain is telling you not to drink it because of the idea of eating and not drinking vegetables.
As such, it is important to start with single-ingredient juices. You can begin with an apple juice or a strawberry juice. These are excellent choices since they’re packed with antioxidants. They are also not too sweet, yet will provide your palate with a subtle taste of sweetness.
When it comes to vegetables, you can always start with carrots. This vegetable has a certain sweetness to it that should help you get ready with other vegetables. Other choices will be cucumbers and sweet potatoes.
Try to taste as many different juices as you can but do it one at a time. This will help you determine which of these ingredients you like more. From here you can try concocting your own blend of at least two different food items.
Some people do not believe that organic products have a better nutrient profile than those that are not grown in an organic manner. However, one can never deny the fact that organically-grown fruits and vegetables are safer. They do not contain pesticides and other chemicals that farmers use to grow their crops.
The main issue with using artificial chemicals in the growing of vegetables and fruits is that these substances can also leech into the very fiber of the plant. You will never know how much of these chemicals are present in your food. It may be negligible or enough to cause you certain health problems in the long-term.
Because of this uncertainty, people think that the organic food movement is a mere marketing ploy. However, wouldn’t it be a lot safer to drink a juice that comes from food items grown without harmful chemicals? If you answer in the affirmative, then it is best to choose organic produce as your ingredients for your next juicing adventure.
Don’t Be Afraid to Juice the Skin, Pulp, and Pith
If the fruit comes with very rough and tough skin, it is best to discard the skin altogether. It may upset your stomach if you do decide to drink a concoction that includes this part of the fruit. Moreover, it might damage the blades of your juicer since these fruit skins are very fibrous. Examples of these are the skins of pineapples, avocados, grapefruit, and pomegranates, among others.
If you’re juicing apples and citrus fruits (except oranges), it would do you good to include the skin or peel. These parts of the fruit contain flavonoids that have antioxidant properties. They also have minerals and vitamins plus soluble fiber. You can also include the white, soft material underneath the rind. This part – the pith – also contains nutrients.
Now, if you decide to juice an entire fruit, it is best to check if your juicer can handle it. Some juicers cannot process tougher parts of the fruit. However, there are juicers that allow you to put in whole fruits and they will do the rest.
Don’t Mix Veggie and Fruit Juices
As a rule, you are not supposed to mix fruits and vegetables when making juices. This is because fruits require a different digestive process compared to vegetables. This has something to do with the fiber content of these food items. The more fibrous the food is, the longer is the time needed to digest it.
While there is scientific proof to back up this claim, there is anecdotal evidence that shows mixing fruits and vegetables can increase the risk of bloating. The mixture can also increase the risk of other gastrointestinal complaints. What is clear from these “reports” is that these “side effects” only affect certain individuals. As such, it has something to do with the current state of health of an person’s digestive system.
If the person does not have any issues with his or her digestion, then juicing with a fruit and vegetable combo should be fine. However, if you are one of those people who always get stomach upset or indigestion, it may not be a good idea to mix these two types of food in your juice.
There are two exceptions, however. For yet unexplained reasons, apples and carrots seem to work well with any vegetable and fruit, respectively. This means you can add apples to your vegetable juice or carrots to your fruit juice.
Drink Your Juice Right Away
Fresh fruits and vegetables retain their nutrient value for a few hours after preparation. This is because they still have their fibrous matrices to hold the nutrients together. When you turn them into juice, there is no structure that can hold the different nutrients intact. As such, the juice loses its nutritional value.
The only way you can reap all the benefits of juicing is if you drink the beverage right after making it. We’re not talking about several minutes here. The longer you wait to drink the juice, the more nutrients that get lost.
This is one of the main drawbacks of juicing. You have to make sure that when you’re ready to drink your freshly-squeezed juice, then that is the only time you run the ingredients in the juicer.
Juicing Should Not Replace Your Meal
Under no circumstances should you look at juicing as a replacement to your regular meals. While this beverage can contain nutrients and antioxidant phytochemicals, nothing beats the nutritional value of good old meals.
Juices are great accompaniments to your meal. They can also serve as healthy snacks. However, if you have a need for more fiber in your diet, then nothing can replace whole fruits and vegetables. There are also some veggies and fruits that you cannot turn into juice. As such, it is best to include as many varieties of these food items in your diet.
With these 10 juicing tips, you can start reaping the full benefits of this healthy activity. Regardless of your goals in life, including a healthy juice in your daily regimen should make life more worthwhile.