In the last few years juicing has become a huge trend. It’s so popular these days that entire lines of products made specifically for juice making have come on the “health scene”. Sure, juice tastes good and people have been drinking it for thousands of years — no big secret there. However, many wonder if there are any other benefits to juicing, aside from gaining a healthy snack.
There are actually many benefits to juicing, and not all of them have to do with health. On the practical side, making your own healthy juices is much less expensive than buying the pre-made and bottled juices that you can find in grocery stores. It’s definitely less costly than constantly buying products from juice bars — just one 12 ounce serving can set you back a $5 or more at a popular juicing chain, whereas making your own 12 ounce serving at home costs pennies to the dollar, most of the time.
As far as health goes, there are few things better for your diet than knowing the source of your food. With juicing, you get to control the ingredients, proportions, flavorings, and quality. Don’t like apples? Don’t use any in your juices. Prefer a bit more sweetness, but don’t want any artificial flavorings or additives? You can add in healthy alternatives at home that aren’t in off the shelf juices.
Read on to find out how easy juicing is and how you can make it work for your lifestyle.
Juicing for Weight Loss
Among those who juice for heath reasons, one of the biggest motivators is weight loss. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a great way to help maintain a healthy weight or stimulate weight loss, however most adults don’t eat enough produce. Juicing is an excellent method of getting more healthy produce into your body in a convenient way. If you don’t like the taste or texture of certain things like kale, spinach, carrots, or pineapple, juicing and mixing them with other fruits and veggies will help make it easier to drink.
Juicing is also a way to combat leptin resistance. The way that leptin works is by telling your body when it’s had enough to eat, and signaling when your body needs to take in more food. If your body is resistant to leptin, you’ll generally feel hungrier and have a lower metabolism. By juicing and getting an abundance of healthy nutrients into your body, you’ll be able to help control your leptin levels.
Having balanced insulin levels also helps with weight loss, and as leptin and insulin are directly tied together, regularly consuming fresh juices will go a long way towards regulating both hormones. To derive even more benefits from juicing, opt for low gylcemic index produce — fruits and vegetables that have a minimal effect on blood glucose levels — such as broccoli, carrots, cherries, grapefruit, apples, pears, and strawberries.
The most important thing that you’ll need when juicing is good, fresh produce. The fresher the better, and if you can grow your own or have access to a farmer’s market, that’s excellent. There’s debate about whether organic produce is best for juicing, and organic ingredients do have their own advantages. However, organic produce is also the most costly and if it’s a choice between regularly juicing with quality non-organic produce and rarely being able to juice because organic fruits and veg are cost prohibitive, go with non-organic ingredients. You can also try a lemon detox or any of these 7 juicing recipes.
There’s no right or wrong way to combine fruits and vegetables for juicing, but you should avoid adding anything else except for herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, basil, cinnamon, and ginger. Some people feel tempted to add sweeteners, but if you go this route, stick to something natural like honey and use it sparingly. Simply adding more sweet tasting produce to your juices, such as apples, carrots, and peaches, can raise the sweetness to a level that you prefer.
You can use a number of different machines to make juices, from food processors to blenders. However, machines made especially for juicing are very effective and efficient. Well made juicers grind the fruit, skins, and seeds to extract the maximum amount of nutrients and juice possible.
It’s easy to find tons of healthy juicing recipes online, but you don’t actually need a formal recipe to get great results. In general, you want to have a mix of produce that will provide a wide range of nutrients and will work together to help your body absorb all of their goodness. For instance, mixing half a cucumber, half a bunch of parsley, 1/4 of a pineapple, and a large handful of kale will produce a juice that tastes refreshing, a bit sweet, and have a good amount of essential nutrients.
Keys to Juicing Success
Juicing for health, weight loss, to save money, or simply because you like the taste can be easy if you follow a few guidelines. Keep these healthy juicing tips in mind as you start your juicing journey:
- Juicing takes the fiber out of fruits and veggies, so if you want to get the benefits of this necessary nutrient, either add the pulp back to your juice, eat it separately, or be mindful and ensure your diet outside of juicing includes a sufficient amount of fiber each day.
- For the sake of convenience — which is important for sticking with juicing long term — opt for an easy to clean juicer with components that can quickly be taken apart and reassembled. If your juicer has a quick clean setting, that will help make clean up even easier, as will choosing a machine with components that are dishwasher safe.
- The finished juice is best if you drink it the same day that it’s made, but you can safely store it in the refrigerator for two to three days. Beyond that, monitor the color and smell of the juice — if it smells or looks “off”, don’t drink it. If you’re making a large batch of juice that you don’t think you’ll finish quickly, freeze it in smaller portions to preserve it. Once it’s defrosted, drink it within a day.
- Play around with the combination of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that you use — that’s part of what makes juicing fun. Experiment to add variety to your diet and keep your juicing routine from becoming boring.
A great tip if you’ve thought about juicing is to try Organifi, a fairly simple to use, although a bit expensive. I like it when I don’t have time to make smoothies or juices, and need something fast.