Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The pros and cons of juicing
Over the last couple of months I have developed a bit of a love affair with juicing, but very much as one part of a whole lot changes I have made to the way I eat. I now try to avoid processed food, gluten and go for as much fresh vegetables, fruit and lean protein as I can. It has to be said, it has made a huge difference to how I feel, how my clothes fit, how I sleep and how I (ahem) digest.
However when a good friend of mine asked why juicing was good and queried if the loss of fibre caused by juicing was a concern, I realised I needed to do some research. So research I have!
Those of you that know me know that I have recently begun my Masters studies. It struck me that I actually have a university library at my finger tips! I have done my best to look at a range of sources, both from the library database and a range of general online sources as well. The result is a brief summary of what I gleaned about the pros and the cons of juicing!
Digestion - It would seem that over 50% of our adult population has issues with digestion. If you have poor digestion, juiced fruit and veges are easier to digest. This is a bonus.
Nutrients - Several sources highlight that juicing and drinking the juice before it oxidizes helps you to absorb and benefit from the nutrients in the fruit and vege far more quickly, and you can therefore benefit from the nutrients in as little as 20 minutes.
Raw goodness - Cooking and processing fruit and vegetables destroys micronutrients by altering their shape and compositions. Simply juicing does not, so if you get a greater ratio of your 5+ a day raw and/or juiced, all the better.
More fruit and vege - The chances are, if you are juicing to complement a healthy diet, you are getting more fruit and vege than if you didn't juice. More is better (particularly the vege part!)
Water intake - A large part of juice is water. The more juice you drink, the more water you consume. More water is good.
It is important that juicing is seen as a compliment to healthy eating and not replacement for healthy eating. There are also things to be mindful of, particularly if you go heavy on the fruit side!
Loss of fibre - Juicing definitely removes fibre in removing all that pulp. You could consider smoothies if this is a concern or look at how you could use the pulp in baking and cooking.
Expense - Juicers and fresh fruit and vegetables can be expensive! Heading to your local fruit and vege store (rather than supermarket) can certainly help. I also find that we waste far less than we did in the past, because if it is going squidgy...it gets juiced! We have also found our fairly reasonable juicer (bought in a sale at Briscoes) more than adequate, you don't need to stretch to the Hurom straight away. Also, juicing provides more nutrients (and phytonutrients) than even the most expensive supplements. It also way cheaper than buying a watery (albeit tasty) Tank juice treat.
Concentrated calories - If your juice is sweet, it is probably full of calories. Limes and lemons can cancel out the bitterness of pure vege juices without the calories. Fruit juices are highly concentrated in calories, and because the fibre is removed can do little to quell hunger. So remember, green veges good! If you want to satisfy hunger, consider doing a smoothie instead, or juice and then throw the juice in a blender with some spinach or even better, avocado to provide some healthy fat to kill h'angry monster.
My suggestion would be to consider juicing as a kick ass supplement to a healthy eating plan. If you are concerned about fibre, blend it don't juice it or eat the fruit and vege whole. If you are aiming to lose weight, choose green vegetable juices over calorie dense fruit juice.
Juicing definitely has a whole lot of benefits, it is not however a nutritional silver bullet or the single answer to weight loss. It is however a tasty, healthy addiction to develop!
Clement, B. (2013, 02). Juicing. Natural Solutions, , 34. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.waikato.ac.nz/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1283329948?accountid=17287