January Juice Boost

Before you read my first blog of the year I would like to wish you a happy and healthy New Year!

Now that the food comas, sugar and alcohol hangovers, and holiday binges are over, lots of people are wanting to 'spring clean' and asking about juicing as a way detox for the New Year. I'll share with the pros (and cautions) of juicing to help you juice safety, effectively and tastily!

Why juice?
Anyone who has overindulged over Christmas or otherwise has a delicate level of health will benefit from slightly more than usual nutritional support to help out bodies rebalance. Food provides this resources and juices are a great means of getting all the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes from food to help restore normal function to your cells.

As a supplement to a balanced diet juicing will help initiate a natural cleanse that in turn helps revitalise and refresh, nourish and restore our cells, tissues, organs and body systems; in essence, moving you towards wellness at its best. Many people say they notice a wonderful difference after a month of juicing.

Safety first
Except for a specific health practitioner supervised juice fast juices must be part of a whole, pure and natural diet. This is important because the human body is not meant to thrive on liquids alone. When you juice, some important nutrients end up in the pulp, which does not get consumed  and you do not get the full benefit of the 'whole' foods.

So what are the benefits?
What juices do supply is easy to assimilate nutrition. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, bioflavonoids, phytochemical, and caretonoids. A juicer grinds the fruits and vegetables to a pulp and extracts the juice from the pulp, forcing out the vital nutrients held within the juice of fruit or vegetable fibres. Juices and liquidified foods are more easily digested and assimilated than solid foods (whether raw or cooked).

Juices also supply the 'life-factor'. Around every vegetable or fruit cell is a membrane protecting the life-giving nutrients contained within. You have to have life foods to be healthy and juices supply a delicious boost of life-giving nutrients.  I's this 'life-factor' that helps make juicing such a wonderful accompaniment to a balanced diet.

Juices made from green leafy vegetables are especially beneficial. Green coloured vegetables all contain impressive quantities of chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants that absorbs sunlight and turns it into energy). Chlorophyll is the 'life-blood' of plants and the chlorophyll molecule is nearly identical to haemoglobin in blood that carries oxygen to tissues and organs.

It doesn't take much to get started juicing single fruits or vegetables. Citrus fruit can be juices with a hand-help squeezer, or look into electric juicers and find one in your price range that suits your needs.

Juicing best practice
Ideally I'd recommend organic fruits and vegetables when possible, because the increased fruit and vegetable consumption may otherwise mean increased ingestion of pesticides and fertilizers. I'd also recommend that you juice vegetables or fruit soon after picking (ideally) because fresh foods have a higher nutritional value. For the same reason it's important to drink juice right after making it – to get it to the digestive juices before any loss of nutrients takes place.

Selecting which fruits and vegetables to juice
Because fruit is naturally more sugary than vegetables the fruit juices that people make usually qualify as high in sugar and can cause blood sugar levels to become imbalanced. For this reason vegetables are a healthier base ingredient for your juices. A little fruit can be added (such as apple) for sweetness, or zing (lemon usually hits the spot).

Carrot and beetroot are two vegetables that can result in a fairly high-sugar juice so it's best  not to overdoing it with either of these vegetables.  Green leafy vegetables are great because they are naturally low in sugar and high in chlorophyll. Green juices can be made from an impressive variety of vegetables: dandelion greens, collard greens, mustard greens, beetroot greens, kale, spinach, chard, spouts, alfalfa, wheat grass, barley grass, turnip greens, watercress, parsley, cabbage and asparagus. Include cucumber and celery which yield a lot of liquid to help make your juices more juicy!

I like celery, cucumber, chard and lemon as a combo - Experiment to see which ingredient combos you find the most tasty!

Hughes J Latner A (1936) Chlorophyll and haemoglobin regeneration after haemorrhage .J Physiol.;86(4):388-95 [online] Pubmed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) viewed 05.01.12.
Jensen B (2000) Juicing Therapy. Mc Graw Hill.
The George Mateljan Foundation  (2012) Juicing versus eating whole foods, The George Mateljan Foundation [online] The World's Healthiest Foods (http://www.whfoods.com/) viewed 06.01.12.

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