The Benefits & Cautions of Juicing
We bombard our bodies with meals and snacks multiple times a day. While it is necessary to eat for fuel to power through the day, eating unhealthy foods can wreak havoc on the digestive tract. With so many fried foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugar-laden treats, the body is sometimes screaming for a break.
Breaks can come in many forms, such as changing your diet by eliminating foods most Americans consume or fasting to give the body a break from digesting. Another way to give your body a break is to juice fruits and veggies. Juicing is a great way to reset your body.
It is important to emphasize we are discussing raw, fresh juices from fruits and vegetables. Store-bought juice is often loaded with added sugars, is sometimes watered-down and depending on the brand, possibly enhanced with synthetic flavors, is non-organic, and nowhere near the freshness you can produce from a juice extractor machine.
Let’s look at some of the benefits and cautions of juicing:
Antioxidants. A healthy diet consists of 2-3 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables per day. Unfortunately, the standard American diet creates free radicals in our bodies. These bring inflammation, oxidative stress, and damage tissues and DNA. Left unchecked, they have the potential to cause heart disease, high blood pressure, and rapid aging.
Juicing is a great way to meet your daily requirements; it also provides loads of antioxidants. The easiest way to explain antioxidants is to think of an antioxidant as Pac-Man and free radicals as the little white dots Pac-Man consumes. The antioxidants eat up the free radicals that cause damage, in turn helping repair and protect the body from future destruction.
Potential weight loss. Switching a fresh veggie juice in place of your usual snack can help you cut down on calories. Drinking fresh juices also stimulates blood flow. Since juice primarily consists of water, it assists the colon in removing excess waste for healthy elimination.
Repair the body. When we consume fresh juice, we benefit from all of the enzymes the fruits and veggies have. Enzymes are types of protein found within cells that create chemical reactions to support the body. They help build and repair muscle, reduce inflammation, eliminate toxins and break down undigested foods, which makes them easier to consume and absorb. Eating less food and juicing more leads to quicker healing responses, since the body doesn’t need to use up enzymes to digest. Your body’s natural enzymes can then focus on eliminating toxins and repairing tissues.
Energy. We all need sustaining energy, but consuming caffeine should not be your go-to choice. When juicing, not only do we receive antioxidants, we also receive all the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids all the fruit and vegetables provide. For example, leafy veggies are high in B-vitamins, which help feed adrenal glands and allow for energy to power through the day.
Do it responsibly. While juicing is highly beneficial, it has the potential to raise your blood sugar levels. If you are diabetic or have blood sugar issues, it is recommended to drink juices with fiber such as flax, hemp, chia, or psyllium. It’s a great idea to add a clean, plant-based protein powder to help maintain proper blood sugar levels and help you feel more satiated.
Time limit. It is best to juice in moderation. While you can juice daily without eating for quite a long time, try juicing for short durations. It can be as simple as a weekend juice cleanse, up to a month, or somewhere in-between. The goal is to help you think about your food choices and the health of your body while resetting your body to be able to handle your daily eating lifestyle. When you feel great, you make better food choices that keep you feeling great.
Lack of fiber. While juicing has a ton of benefits, it is not the end-all, be-all, miracle cure. The main thing juicing doesn’t do is give us fiber; it is stripped out during the juicing process. Our daily consumption of fiber should be around 25-35 grams, but the average person only gets about 15 grams. The lack of fiber can increase your blood sugar levels if yours has a high level of natural sugars. Be cognizant of consuming fiber and/or protein to balance sugars.
Whether you juice or not, your daily food choices are one of the biggest ways to impact your health, both mentally and physically. It affects all we do, even those around us. If you want to live life to the fullest, feel good about yourself, and have the energy to support you and those around you, make daily, healthy food choices to set yourself up for success.