Juicing stalls and pre-packaged drinks seem to be popping up more and more lately. More and more people are buying juicers. So what’s the deal? Is it just a fad or is there something to it?

Juicing generally refers to fresh juices made up from fruits or vegetables or a combination made by using a juicing machine. During the process the, often very noisy, juicing machine blends the fruits and vegetables so that the natural juices are extracted off to one side and the pulp, skin and seeds are put aside into another section to be discarded. Depending on what foods are used one average glass of juice can take 4-8 fruits or vegetables to get enough juice.

Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fluid and fibre. Vitamins and minerals play a part in many vital roles in the body, from metabolism to muscle functioning to growth and others. Your body often cannot make these so it needs to get them through the diet. Antioxidants are the soldiers in the body fighting off free radicals associated with illness and infections. They help make the immune system strong. These are all some of the great benefits of fruits and vegetables.

Some juicing advocates say that juicing is better for you than eating whole fruits and vegetables because your body can absorb the nutrients better and it gives your digestive system a rest from working on fibre. Some reports say that the body battles to break down the cellular structure of fruits and vegetables. They say that juicing can reduce your risk of cancer, boost your immune system, help you remove toxins from your body, aid digestion and help you lose weight. However, there’s no sound scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating the fruit or vegetable itself.

One should note that if a juice is had by itself then it will have a quick transit time which means it goes through the gut quickly. If the goal is to get maximum absorption of vitamins and minerals then this may not preferable as a quick transit time means the gut has less time to absorb nutrients. However, juice-nutrients are thought to be more easily absorbed as the structure is broken down.

One of the main differences between eating whole fruits and vegetables versus juiced form is that during the juicing process most of the fibre is removed when the skin, seeds and pulp is removed. Fibre is a non-digestible carbohydrate that plays a large role maintaining gut health by providing bulk to stools, providing food for healthy bacteria to feed on in the gut, and helping in the maintenance of good cholesterol levels amongst others. When juicing one should try to keep some of the pulp and add it back, this will bring back the benefits of the healthy fibre but also help fill you up. If you are not getting enough fibre in your average daily diet then it may be more advantageous to rather eat the whole fruit and vegetables instead of drinking the fresh juices.

If you do try juicing, make only as much juice as you can drink at one time because fresh squeezed juice can quickly develop harmful bacteria. If you buy commercially produced fresh juice from a juicing stand or store, select a pasteurized product to help make sure it is safe to drink.

Fruit and vegetable juices are not a complete meal as it has very little protein and virtually no fat, so by itself, it is not a complete food. Therefore, it is advisable to rather use juices in addition to your regular meals not in place of it. The body needs proteins and fats for bodily functioning.

Juices will not help maintain a stable blood sugar level as they will be high in natural sugars and a number of fruits or vegetables are used on one juice. The natural sugars are converted very quickly and may even cause shakiness from the spike in blood glucose. Be cautious then of the quick drop from that high where one may feel tired, light headed, shaky and have a lack of concentration. Also keep in mind that juices may contain more sugar than you think, and if you are not careful, this extra energy can lead to weight gain.

On the other hand, if you don’t enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, juicing may be a fun way to add them to your diet or to try fruits and vegetables you normally wouldn’t eat. Some people battle to achieve the recommended 3-5 servings of vegetables and 2-3 servings of fruit per day. Juicing may help one achieve this guideline easier. Juicing may also help one get a wider variety into your diet as you may not enjoy eating certain foods but can juice them with other flavours that are more enjoyable. This would lead to a wider antioxidant protection. A general rule is the more colours the better as they each provide different types of antioxidants.

Another benefit to juices is that they give you fruits and vegetables in their raw form which means one would get more vitamins and minerals from them compared to when they may be cooked as heat damages certain vitamins and minerals.

Try experimenting with many different types of recipes and ingredients as juices can be added to other foods such as smoothies to boost flavour and nutrients. Some moms have even said they add vegetable and fruit juices to other meals to increase the nutrient content for their fussy eating children who are not meeting their daily vitamin and mineral requirements.

Fruits and vegetables have many benefits and fresh juices will provide you with most of them. However, we advise that juices are added into a healthy balanced diet rather than as a whole diet or strategy on their own.

This content was provided by FUTURELIFE®