The Skinny on Juicing
There is a recommended amount of vitamins and minerals that we should take in daily to remain healthy and balanced. In order to meet the daily requirements, we basically have to eat all colors of the rainbow on a daily basis – the more fruits and vegetables we eat, the better. If you want to get all your nutrition, it’s best to stay away from processed foods. Some people choose to take supplements, while others choose to get their nutrients straight from the source. The problem is, sometimes eating enough fruits and vegetables a day can be a task. That’s why drinking smoothies and fresh juice has become a very popular method. When you realize how much you can pack into one tiny glass, it’s easy to see why.
Smoothies are a fabulous way to blend fruits, vegetables, and protein powder into an energizing and nutritious beverage. If you are looking for the nutritional value, and a bit of fiber, a smoothie might be just what you need. Because smoothies are often blended with ice, they can almost pass for a milkshake. What a great way to trick the little ones into drinking their greens!
If you have ever tried to juice from home, you can appreciate just how much goes into a single cup. You have to stock up on a ton of fruits and vegetables in order to produce enough juice to make it worth the trouble. The benefit of juicing is being able to absorb nutrients without all the fiber. With smoothies or other fiber rich foods, your body has to work hard to digest it, causing some of the nutrients to get destroyed along the way.
There are several different types of juicing machines out there. The popular ones are centrifugal and masticating. The centrifugal juicers are efficient and fast. However, the blades heat up during the process, and some say the heat does away with some of the nutritional value of the raw fruits and vegetables. The masticating or “cold pressed” juicers crush the fruit first leaving less for the blades to have to do, resulting in less heat.
If you decide on juicing from home, be sure to do your homework, as there is a lot to consider. Cleaning all of the tiny pieces should be a consideration. Perhaps you will pick a machine that is known for easy clean up. If you want to benefit from each tiny micronutrient, perhaps you will go for a masticating machine. Of course, the overall integrity should also be considered. Thankfully, with consumer reviews right at our fingertips, researching is much easier than it once was.
Coming up with recipes is the fun part. There are many combinations of fruits and vegetables that go well together. For me, I like to ensure there are always greens. Because spinach and kale are so packed with goodness (rich in potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, calcium, and b6 to name a few) they are often the bases for my juice. Carrots (rich in beta carotene which turns into vitamin A), beets (fabulous for your heart; rich in nitrates, vitamin B, copper, iron, magnesium and more), and apples (packed with potassium and vitamin C) juice well, are super good for you, and are readily available year round, so they usually go in as well. When it comes to fruit, I like to include something with vitamin C; an orange or a tangerine. To top it off, I like to juice fresh ginger or turmeric (both help to fight inflammation and boost immunity). You can also include hot peppers (contains capsaicin which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties), lime or lemon (both contain a ton of vitamins and minerals essential to a healthy lifestyle), and your favorite herbs. While some combinations aren’t as tasty as others, it’s good to research good recipes and build from there. That way you don’t have to dump the whole batch if you include an ingredient that doesn’t play well with others.
If a more nutrient dense diet is what you are after, perhaps integrating smoothies or juices is just what the doctor ordered.
Jessie Marchese is a native San Diegan with love for health, wellness and good eats. See her lifestyle blog here: www.haveyourcakeandeat.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.