I’ve been inspired by Joe Cross who made the film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead to reboot my health through juicing. Whilst Joe uses juicing for weight loss, I’m more concerned about tuning into my body’s own innate healing abilities. And fresh juices carry the plant based nutrients that can trigger this healing – namely through how they provide plant phyto-nutrients and enzymes
But is juicing the best way to gain the benefits of important plant phyto-nutrients and enzymes? Its certainly one of the best in terms of how these nutrients are made available to our digestive systems – extracted from cells deep within the plant and made readily available within the juice. Personally I believe that masticating juicers are the best for this extraction. And this is due to the pounds of pressure they put on those cells, mimicking the grinding of our teeth.
Centrifugal juicers by contrast prompted me to give up juicing a few years ago! And this was because of the high risk of oxidation of the nutrients in the juice, thus annulling the health providing qualities of those nutrients. I also had concerns about juicing due to its glycemic effect on raising blood sugar and causing insulin spikes. In effect, I opted for making smoothies in order to get the full benefits of the plant fiber. But do blenders oxidize and annul nutrients through their action? I’m sure it all depends on the blender type. More importantly, fiber may retain many nutrients and thus blending may be optimal for nutrient bioavailability.
In the end, I am in favor of juices as they give my digestion a rest from fiber. But I don’t give it a complete rest! Carotenes and other nutrients require the presence of fat for absorption, which I tend to gain from avocado. And the fiber and fat in avocado helps smooth my blood sugar uptake whilst also giving me a feeling of satiety and fullness. It also gives me something to chew – which is needed to release digestive enzymes both in the mouth and stomach.
Overall, fresh juice contains enzymes that help break down foods sparing the body’s digestive enzymes:
- If food contains enzymes, this allows the body to save its own enzymes thus saving body energy from digestion
- Fresh juice requires little energy to digest
- This allows that energy and those enzymes to be used for other body functions (eg repair and rejuvenation)
In addition, juicing is an excellent way to get these powerful enzymes which
- Speed up or cause chemical reactions through their work with vitamins
- Are sensitive to heat and are destroyed through cooking
- Juicers that work slowly and do not generate heat (like a masticating juicer) are therefore optimum for preserving those enzymes
Meanwhile fruits and vegetables contain anti-cancer substances that reduce the risk of cancer through their anti-oxidative qualities that include:
- The manufacture of enzymes that detoxify cancer causing chemicals
- Blocking chemical effects of cancer causing compounds
- Enhancing the immune system
So a juicer that works in a way to prevent oxidization (such as a masticating juicer) is going to be best for preserving these health enhancing qualities!
- 1 bunch of kale (about 150g)
- 1 bunch of parsley (about 75g)
- 1 large carrot (about 100g) or apple for sweetness
- 1 lime or lemon (optional – this helps to preserve the juice if you don’t drink it immediately)
1. Put all of these through your juice extractor
2. Pop the extracted juice in a glass
If you do save the juice, remember to store it in an airtight container away from light and heat. Aim to fill the container so there is minimal air in it. All this slows down the oxidation of the nutrients. Some people keep their juices like this for 2 days, however I would recommend only 12 to 24 hours.
Now … what can we do with all the fiber and “waste” that is left over in the pulp that comes out of the juicer? There are nutrients in that fiber and a LOT of flavor too …
So how about popping it in the crockpot and make a tasty stock!
Juice contents: Kale, Parsley, Carrot, Avocado
|Total lipid (fat)||g||87||17.6375||20.3%|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||g||224||36.0925||16.1%|
|Fiber, total dietary||g||38||17.475||46.0%|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||mg||90||294.45||327.2%|
|Vitamin A, IU||IU||5000||38156||763.1%|
|Vitamin E, total||mg||15||6.29||41.9%|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||Âµg||120||2321.4||1934.5%|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||g||4.28|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||g||19.633|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||g||3.696|
RDA – Recommended Dietary Amount recommendations are based upon calculations for a 40 year old very active man that I have adapted from USDA’s Dietary Intake Guidelines. Using this link you can make your own calculations
Murray, M. (1998). The complete book of juicing. Roseville, CA: Prima publishing
USDA food database: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/
References and further reading:
Why masticating juicers may be best: “Green Juice or Green Smoothies. Which is Better? Or, Which is Worse?” – from Living Maxwell
How Smoothies may be more nutritious: “Which is Better for my Health, a Green Juice or a Green Smoothie?” – from Dr Fuhrman
How avocados optimize the absorption of Carotenes and other phytonutrients: “Avocados” – from World’s Healthiest Foods
An interesting article about the dangers of eating raw food: “Put Down That Kale Smoothie – Why You Should Cook Your Food” – from Nutritional Therapist Diana at Radiance Nutrition
And for balance, a great article from a site dedicated to raw foods: “Should You Juice or Blend? The Difference Between Juices & Smoothies” – by Holistic Nutritionist Ali