Squeezing fruit and vegetables for health has been going on for centuries, but movies like Fat, sick and almost dead bring the trend into the mainstream. Many people start making juice as part of a weight loss plan, for cleansing the digestive system or to supplement nutrients after an illness. The main advantage of juice, however, is that it's a simple way to start eating healthier foods that you might not have eaten otherwise.
With so many different juice products on the market, it is easier than ever to take advantage of these health benefits. This is especially true now that modern juicers do a lot of the work for you.
Here is a brief overview of how juice works, the pros and cons, and how you can get started today.
How Juicing works
In simple terms, juice refers to the process of extracting juice from fruit and vegetables. The modern juice trend usually refers to centrifugal juice extractors, which push fruit and vegetables through a feeding tube into a room where the juice extractors grind them. The juice moves through a tube and into a jug while the pulp remains.
Masticating presses are also popular. These machines work slower and require that you cut the fruit and vegetables before you give them juice because of the smaller diameter of the feed tube, but they tend to extract more juice from each item. They often produce juice with more pulp than centrifugal juicers.
Manual, portable juicers can also be used to produce juice. The advantage here is more portability and a much cheaper investment, but these juicers require a lot of effort to use. Manual juice extractors are best for making irregular juice.
Health benefits of juice
Proponents of juice are in fact the health benefits of taking a high level of nutrients in larger amounts than is possible by eating the same number of whole plants. Juicing delivers vitamins and phytochemicals to the body quickly and in large quantities. Juice is very caloric but easily digestible.
Juicing for weight loss is the primary goal for most people who are new to this diet trend. Juicers often follow juice diet plans that last for weeks or even months in an effort to lose weight. This trend is reflected in the documentary Fat, sick and almost dead. There are many online communities dedicated to making juice for weight loss.
On the other hand, some people prefer to include juice in a more typical diet as a way to get more healthy nutrients into their system. For example, many juicers choose a juice made from fresh vegetables or fruit for breakfast or drink juice as a snack. It is also common for athletes to drink fresh fruits and vegetables after training or athletically to supplement lost nutrients and hydration.
Health hazards when making juice
Although there are certainly many health benefits associated with making juice, we must also point out some of the potential hazards associated with the process.
First, health practitioners quickly point out that juice should never be used as a substitute for eating fruits and vegetables. Juicing is a great way to deliver lots of essential vitamins and minerals, but should never be your only source of these important foods. This is due to the amount of fiber that is extracted from your fruit and vegetables during pressing. Making sure you consume the recommended dietary fiber not only reduces your risk of developing many dangerous health problems, it also helps with your weight loss program.
Another potential danger of juice is the consumption of too much sugar. Fruit is full of sugar, in fact an apple has about 23 grams of sugar, which is also about the same amount as an orange. For comparison, a 12 oz. Coca Cola can has 39 grams of sugar. If you only pressed one apple and one orange, you would consume more sugar than a can of coke. You could claim that it is a different kind of sugar in the two drinks, which is reasonable, but there is no denying the potential dangers of adding an excess of extra sugar to your diet.
However, these potential hazards do not prevent you from making juice. It is undeniable that juice has many health benefits and can help with a weight loss program or simply improve your overall diet. Don't forget to check your sugar intake and find other sources of fiber. As the old saying goes – everything in moderation.
Popular juice combinations
Fortunately, juice making is versatile. Just about every vegetable or fruit works in a juicer, and there are countless combinations that make a tasty juice. Experiment with your favorite products to come up with unique blends. It is also a good idea to read more about the health benefits of specific fruits and vegetables to pursue specific health goals.
Juice fasting usually includes different types of juice during the day. For example, a breakfast juice often contains fruit such as apples, oranges, melons or grapes. Suggested dinner juices usually contain heavier products such as zucchini, kale or spinach. Juicers sometimes contain spices such as ginger, garlic or even hot sauce to add more flavor.
A very popular juice recipe for every moment of the day is a green juice. Sometimes referred to as "Green Goddess Juice", green juices contain a base of fresh vegetables such as kale, spinach and other dark, leafy vegetables. There are many excellent variations outside the green base, but typical recipes require ingredients such as green apples, cucumber, lemon juice, celery and extra liquid such as coconut water or almond milk. Green juice is often part of a juice fast, but it is also typical of the type of juice in a typical healthy diet.
Hundreds of juice recipes are available. Try a few of these recipes, experiment with your own ingredients and you are guaranteed to find a juice that you want to drink all day.
The best juice extractors
It is easy to add more juice to your diet. First you have to find the right juicer for you. We have a wide selection of juicers available for you. Here is a list of some of our favorites:
The Top 3 Juicers on the market
- Kuvings Multi-Purpose Masticating Slow Juicer (Model # NJE-3570U)
- Metrokane Citrus Power Juicer (Model # 1009)
- Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor (Model # 67608)
When you are done with a balanced diet, juice offers a number of notable health benefits. Make sure you keep a close eye on how much sugar you consume and that you still consume the recommended amount of dietary fiber. If you have any doubts, it is advisable to consult a doctor or nutritionist before you start a juice diet.