Is juicing good for you?
As with all things it is always smart to question how healthy something really is, and when it comes to healthy eating and drinking there can often be a lot of controversy. Even though juicing is generally seen as a good thing, there has also been some bad press that may make people question it. So, let’s explore this fundamental question “is juicing good for you?” a little more closely.
The upsides of juicing are excellent. One thing that all studies conclusively show us is that lots of fruits and vegetables in our diet is vital to good health and those that eat the most fruits and veggies are the least likely to suffer with heart disease, cancer and other types of degenerative diseases. This is because fruits and veggies are loaded with nutrients that we need for optimum health such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. It is antioxidants in particular that defend us greatly from disease because they reduce oxidative damage to our cells that can lead to premature aging and degenerative diseases.
When we drink fresh made juice we are increasing our intake of antioxidants dramatically for two good reasons. First, we are consuming more fruits and vegetables in one serving of juice than we would most likely eat in a day. We can expect to use 5 to 10 servings of fruits and veggies on average for a single serving of juice. Second, and this is an important point, a juice extractor “frees” considerably more antioxidants from fruits and veggies for us to digest than we could be chewing them. Antioxidants are bound to the fiber in produce and some of them are released by chewing, but the rest just pass straight through us with the fiber. However it is important to state that eating whole fruits and veggies still provide us with LOTS of antioxidants, juicing increases this number extensively.
To cut a long story short, fresh juice is essentially concentrated liquid nutrition.
If you have heard that juicing is not so good for you, this is for two reasons – the sugar content of fruit juice and the lack of fiber. These are fair criticisms of juicing and can be remedied if we juice responsibly. While a juice extractor does pour forth an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidant, it discards fiber – but not all. There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble fiber. Juicing completely discards insoluble fibers which are important for moving food through our intestines and keeping us regular. Soluble fibers, such as pectin, are not completely eliminated, a small amount of it does make it through. These soluble fibers help to lower our LDL “bad” cholesterol levels by absorbing cholesterol in the small intestine before it gets a chance to move into the bloodstream so that we just, well, poop the cholesterol out! This is why studies show that giving apple juice to patients that was made with the whole apple is more effective at reducing total cholesterol levels than apple juice made with peeled apples. The peel contains more fiber than the pulp.
So, it is vitally important that we don’t swap out eating whole fruits and veggies for drinking juice, but that we do both – drink and eat them. This way we got an abundance of nutrients and plenty of fiber too.
When juicing it is recommend to stick with vegetable juice most of the time because vegetables contain way less sugar than fruits do. Vegetable juice will not adversely effect your blood sugar like fruit juice can. A glass of fruit juice will spike your blood sugar. For this reason it is better to have a fruit juice just before a solid meal so that blood sugar levels can get evened out with a healthy meal. Used as a snack by itself you may find that fruit juice may leave you feeling hungry as soon as the blood sugar spike drops. The other thing is that whole fruits do not affect blood sugar in the way that fruit juice does because fiber slows down the rate at which sugar moves into the blood stream.
So, while fruit juice is very nutritious we have to take into account that it is sugary and use it wisely.
To conclude the question “is juicing really good for you”? The answer is – juicing is great for you, especially as part of a healthy diet and if you stick with mostly vegetable juice.
To your health