To an avid juicer like myself the benefits of juicing fresh fruits and vegetables seem endless – it is convenient, nutritious, great for the immune system, helps to detox, and on it goes… All of the above are true. For me, however, first and foremost the intense smells, flavors, and colors of the vegetables and fruits I juice connect me with all Nature’s goodness has to offer, and allow me to feel connected mind, body and spirit. I love the taste and smell of fresh cut ginger and its vibrant yellow color. I love the unique aroma of freshly cut flat parsley. And the intense flavor of freshly pressed, picked from the Tower Garden kale. I love the bright orange of the freshly pressed turmeric. Or the sound of a stem of celery snapping, announces its freshness and vigor. And the sweet-sour note and promise of health a fresh cut ruby red grapefruit carries.
Yet it is specifically the unique and intense colors of many fruits and vegetables that announce their healing and nutritional properties. Watermelon and Red Grapefruit get their red pinkish color from a uniquely high concentration of the phytochemical lycopene, known for its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics. Red Beets’ betalain antioxidant pigments give them their red color and are a powerful and relatively unique antioxidant that helps to improve cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure. Red Apples have a high concentration of anthocyanin, key to lowering blood sugar.
Kale, Spinach, Parsley, dandelion are some of the healthiest vegetables and herbs around. Their high levels of chlorophyll are responsible for their bright, full green color. They are powerhouses of concentrated vitamins, minerals, and a whole spectrum of phytonutrients – all essential to a healthy body. Unbeknownst to many, one cup of raw kale contains more and often multiples of 100% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin K.
As these fruits and vegetables are allowed to ripen to maturity, their nutritional content increases and their flavors intensify. Government health bodies now recommend to eat at least 9-13 servings or more of fruits and vegetables every day to increase health, improve longevity and prevent disease. By eating fruits and vegetables from a variety of color groups, we benefit from the unique array of phytochemicals, essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that each color group has to offer. Think of eating the rainbow!!
While it may be difficult to eat 9 to 13 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables everyday, juicing can help significantly. I do know that not all can or will juice and that’s okay too. There are simpler ways to getting the good stuff and a bit more affordable too. It’s important to recognize that we all need to bridge the gap between what we do eat and what we should be eating.
When juicing, I recommend the following:
- Use organic vegetables and fruit when possible (meta studies have shown that their antioxidant and nutritional content is 2 to 3 times higher than in their conventional counterparts).
- Either use a slow juicer to press most nutrients from the fruits and vegetables as well as some amount of fiber. Alternatively use a blender if you wish all the fiber to be in your juice smoothie.
- Add some lemon to delay oxidation (fiber will help as well).
- Be adventurous, creative, have fun, and go with colors that speak to you. Somehow, I have found that my body knows what (color) it needs. Remember that in the end, you have to like your juice to drink it.
- Be mindful when you drink your juice – take a moment to taste its bounty!
- When buying juices, try to buy local and organic if you can, as it will always be fresher and healthier. Juices made from concentrate and that are heat pasteurized will have most of their naturally occurring nutrients destroyed in the process.
Live a Juicy Life, Jackie