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Thursday, September 12, 2024

Where’s the Juice?

At our ripe old age, we all know we need to eat lots of fruits and vegetables to prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Flavonoids and anthocycanins in fruits and vegetables help protect us from oxidative cellular damage.

I’ve always relied on salads as a source for obtaining those leafy greens such as spinach, kale and romaine that are so crucial to the process. Lately, however, I’ve grown tired of all the same old salads. I started thinking about juicing as an alternative way to get vital nutrients after I saw the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, in which Joe Cross boosted his immune system, lost weight, increased his energy and even cured his autoimmune disease by juicing. After doing some research, I noticed that more and more people have been talking about the benefits of juicing lately. Allow me to explain.

Juicing 101

Traditional juicers extract the juice from fruits and veggies — including the vitamins and minerals but leaving behind the healthy fiber. Fiber is essential, which means you’ve gotta make sure you get your fiber elsewhere. There are also juicers that leave all that great fiber in the juice.

Is drinking the juice healthier than eating the actual fruit or vegetable? No, there’s no evidence to suggest that it is healthier. What is important to note is that there is evidence that some vegetables are healthier raw than cooked. So, unless you are eating a good combination of raw and cooked veggies every day, juicing can help you get the important enzymes from raw veggies without suffering from the gas and bloating normally associated with them.

There are also a lot of claims that juicing can help with weight loss. If you replace a breakfast that typically consists of donuts, Egg McMuffins and other processed and fried foods with pure fruits and vegetables, it only makes sense that you will likely lose weight. Digesting a modern diet is hard work; replacing one meal a day with juice can give your body a nice rest.

Why Juice?

Juicing allows you to add a variety of vegetables to your diet. Instead of eating the same veggies over and over, you can try juicing some of the veggies that are not necessarily your favorites. Eating the same foods repeatedly increases your chance of developing an allergy to those foods. It’s much easier to add variety to your diet through juicing. For example, I’m not a fan of onions, but I throw a little in my smoothies to ensure I get the health benefit of onions every few weeks.  

Furthermore, juicing allows you to consume more fruits and vegetables than you would if you were simply eating them. For example, a typical morning smoothie for me consists of 1/2 of an avocado, 1/2 cup of carrots, 2 cups of lettuce (spinach, kale, romaine), 1/3 of a cucumber, 1 pear, 1/4 cup of blueberries, 1/2 a banana, 1/3 cup of nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil etc.), 3 basil leaves, a dash of cinnamon, a dash of curry powder and a chunk of fresh ginger. There’s a big difference between drinking a glass of this versus trying to eat all of it whole. I’m able to pack almost two meals into one and I still have the rest of the day to eat even more fruits and veggies in solid form. All of that may not sound tasty, but you’d be amazed at how delicious it can be!

If you decide to start juicing, make sure you wash all your fruits and veggies first and consume right away to avoid the buildup of any bacteria. If you do choose a juicer that extracts the fiber, consider adding it back into your drink or adding a fiber supplement to your juice, as fiber is important for digestive function. If you are diabetic, be sure to become familiar with what fruits contain the most sugar.

Information taken from:

Carrie Robertson
Research & Community Education
Chicago Skilled Nursing

Chicago Senior Living

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