Juicing. It’s a word that we’ve become very familiar with in our society today. My clients often ask me whether they need to juice to be healthy. Drinking your fruits and vegetables through methods like juicing and blending can be easy ways to get your nutrients in. Unfortunately, both these liquefying methods come with their own nutritional ups and downs. On the upside, certain vitamins and minerals like carotenoids found in your brightly colored fruits and vegetables seem to be better absorbed in the juice form. On the downside, juice will carry a higher amount of natural concentrated sugar. Concentrated sugars are rapidly digested by your body, leading to quick spikes and drops to your blood sugar levels that can lead to decreased satiety. This can be a potential problem if you’re someone who has high blood sugar levels or diabetes. Blended fruits and vegetables do not contain the same amount of fiber that would be consumed if you were eating whole fruits or vegetables. Fiber is the key nutrient that slows down the release of sugar in your blood system. If you’re leaving the pulp behind in your juicer, you’re probably not getting that much fiber. Here are some tips on how you can make juicing healthier for you:
- Use whole juice instead of extracted juice. Whole juicers are designed to liquefy entire fruits and vegetables and include the fiber. Compared to eating whole fruits and vegetables, whole juice will still cause a more rapid rise in blood sugar, but not as much as drinking extracted juices which leave the fiber behind.
- Try to juice fresh and seasonal produce. The antioxidants and phytonutrients in juiced vegetables and fruits start to break down as soon as they are exposed to light and air. If you are looking for peak nutritional value, it’s best to drink juice fresh and as soon as it has been prepared. If you don’t want to juice every day, freezing fresh juice and drinking it within a couple of days is the best way to preserve the nutrient content in the juice.
- Try adding healthy fat and protein to your smoothie. This will slow down the release of sugar in your body. Sources like nuts, avocado, yogurt, flaxseed and healthy protein powders are good choices.
- If you’re determined on eliminating the pulp from your juice, try transferring the pulp to other recipes. Using pulp in sauces, pastas, stews and in baking can make your dish healthy and delicious.
- Clean your fruits and vegetables to remove any soil, bacteria, or pesticides.
Blended fruits and vegetables can increase the nutrient quality of your diet. But, you’ll get the most nutritional benefit if you chew your whole fruits and vegetables. Check out my favorite healthy smoothie recipe that I created after my trip to Costa Rica where the pineapple is fresh and delicious!