Juice It Up: The Healthy Guide to Juicing
Drink to Your Health
A month ago I decided to start juicing. Call me lame, but those celebs with totally covetable bikini bodies are always toting around algae-colored concoctions. I figured that juicing, aside from breathing, is about the only thing we could have in common.
So I bought a juicer and an entire basket of produce and went to town. My first batch was gnarly (I don't love kale that much), but eventually I got the hang of it. Now I feel like one of those women who does yoga at 6 a.m., whips up her own face scrub and meditates -- without actually doing any of those things.
While I could just buy juice at the store, a lot of bottled varieties contain added sugar. Also, they're pasteurized (heated to kill off bacteria and extend their shelf life), which fresh-juice fans say degrades nutrients, though there isn't much research to back up their claim. Bottled juice may contain a bit less vitamin C (the nutrient breaks down the longer it sits on a shelf), but "the difference probably isn't large enough to have a significant impact on your health," says Luke Howard, PhD, a food scientist at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
One thing everyone can agree on is that juice made minutes before you drink it tastes way fresher, and that's a big reason so many people are converts. Plus, juicing helps you sneak in a bunch of produce. Because about 70 percent of women struggle to meet the USDA's quota of four to four and a half cups a day -- including me, and I've never met a fruit or vegetable I didn't like -- that's key. "You'd be hard pressed to eat three carrots and half a bag of spinach in one sitting, but you can easily squeeze that much into a juicer," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member and the author of The Flexitarian Diet.
Juice isn't a replacement for whole fruits and veggies, of course, but it does let you fit in ones that you might not eat otherwise, like beets or carrots, especially at breakfast, which is usually a no-vegetable zone. And the more produce you consume, the better. People who got just three servings of vegetables a day lived nearly three years longer than people who avoided veggies, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Upping your intake can protect against cancer and help you drop pounds too (produce is low-cal and full of water, which fills you up). Plus, because the cells in fruits and veggies are broken down by juicing, their nutrients are easier for your body to absorb, says Nicole Cormier, RD, a coauthor of The Everything Juicing Book.
Making your own juice can also serve as a reset button, say Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss, the founders of the juice company BluePrint. For instance, I've stopped snacking on Sour Patch Kids, which is probably because juicing is putting me in a healthier mind-set.
What do you think of this story? Leave a Comment.