Green Juice Benefits
I have been interested in and studied nutrition for many years, but had never got into juicing. After all, there are only so many changes you can make at a time! It wasn’t until I got a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer as a gift about 5 years ago, that I started to juice. The timing was perfect. It was only a few weeks later that my wife Veronica had two of her wisdom teeth out. These wisdom teeth were deeply embedded and had grown horizontally (not vertically!). The result was two weeks of liquid food only and serious pain killers. This was my crash course in juicing.
I have since learned, practiced and experimented a lot with juicing. Used different types of juice extractors, some are better for making green juice recipes than others, you can read more about this at best juicer for greens. As I learned more about juicing and nutrition, I came to understand that green juice is the healthiest of juice. “Going green” can apply to juicing too. So then, what is green juice?
What is green juice?
The answer to this is a simple one! Green juice is any juice that is made mostly with or completely with green vegetables to produce a juice that is – well – green in color! Some of the most used green vegetables for making green juice are:
- Collard greens
- Green cabbage
It is common to add a fruit such as an apple or a lemon, or sweeter vegetables like carrots and cucumber to the mix to make green juice a little more tasty.
What’s green juice got that other juices don’t?
This question is really at the foundation of the benefits of green juice, and is one that I asked myself when I first started to hear the buzz about this healthy colorful beverage. Are not all juices made equal? Are not wonderful colored juices such as pomegranate juice, blueberry juice, strawberry juice, carrot juice just as good as green juice? Isn’t variety the real key? These are all good questions, and the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. However, if someone were to ask the hypothetical question “if for some reason you were only allowed to drink one color of juice, what would it be?” – I would be forced to say green. Let me explain why. (Read our post Benefits of Juicing for a general idea of the health benefits of juicing)
The Sugar Factor
The first and foremost reason for me comes down to sugar. Green juice has minimal amounts of calories and sugar because green vegetables are low in calories and sugar. Other colored vegetables such as carrots and beets, tend to be sweeter and contain more calories and sugar. An 8oz glass of carrot juice contains about 15 grams of sugar. Fruit juice is even more sugary, and for that reason I keep my fresh fruit juice intake to a minimum. At most I drink a 4oz glass 3 times a week. The fact that juice loses its fiber, which is the component of fruits and vegetables that slows down the rate at which sugars are absorbed into the blood stream is also an important point to bring up. Fruit juice can cause blood sugar spikes, and if over done can increase the risk of health conditions that come with excess sugar intake. Here are a 146 reasons to cut down sugar intake. Also check out our post Is Fresh Fruit Juice Bad for You? However, don’t be scared off by this, within moderation fruit juice is fine, just be aware of the amount of sugars you are consuming in a day.
For checking the amount of calories and sugar in juice I use My Fitness Pal Calorie Counter. This is the only place that I have found that provides calorie information for a variety of fresh-made fruit and vegetables juices, even including green juices such as cabbage juice, broccoli juice, kale juice and more. When searching use the words “raw” and “fresh” to find what you need. For example type “raw kale juice” or “fresh spinach juice”. Using this system you will find that most green juices contain zero sugar, or just a gram or 2 of sugar for an 8 ounce glass. Of course, this makes sense since the raw whole green vegetables contain very little sugar. We can drink lots of green juice and not be concerned.
The Chlorophyll Factor
Green vegetables are green because of the chlorophyll they contain. The darker green they are the more chlorophyll they contain. Kale and spinach are therefore greater sources of chlorophyll than celery. It is the benefits of abundant chlorophyll content then that are unique to green juice, and these benefits are powerful. Here are some known benefits:
- Wound Healing. Research dating back to the 1940’s discovered that chlorophyllin (a component of chlorophyll) helps wounds to heal faster.
- Powerful Antioxidant. Chlorophyll and chlorophyllin are both potent antioxidants that have anti-cancer properties and help prevent our cells from oxidative damage.
- Detoxification. Chlorophyll attaches to toxins, especially heavy metals, and removes them safely from the body. Chlorophyll also cleanses the liver by protecting it from cancer-causing cells.
- Blood Building. The chlorophyll molecule is almost identical to that of the heme part of our red blood cells. Although not yet confirmed, chlorophyll is believed to help increase red blood cell count, and may help with anemia.
- Alkalizing. One of the most potent benefits of chlorophyll is its alkalizing effect on the body. Because of its chlorophyll content, green juice is one of the most alkalizing foods that we can consume. The benefits of reducing the amount of acid in the body (given that over acidity is an epidemic) cannot be understated. The more acidic the body, the more prone it is to illness and disease. Acidity is a breeding ground for bad health.
The Everything Else Factor
Just because green juice is green because of the chlorophyll it contains, doesn’t mean that is the only antioxidant it contains. The list of antioxidants in green juice are mind-blowing. You will be receiving the antioxidant benefits of beta-carotene, sulphorane, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeazanthin, kaempferol, quercetin, and many others with long unpronounceable names. In addition to this your green juice is a great source of many trace minerals, including calcium and magnesium, and a great source of vitamin K and living enzymes.
This all adds up to one of the most nutrient dense health promoting drinks that exist. Yep, juice of other colors are important too to get a diversity of antioxidants and other nutrients, but if there is one juice that contains more nutrients than all others, it is a juice that come in the darkest green.