Wouldn’t it be easier if we could just drink our fruits and vegetables all at once, instead of eating the recommended 5 servings per day? Keep reading to find out about juicing and juicing alternatives to make the most of your nutrition!
Juicing has become so popular that there are juice bars dedicated just to juices! Charlotte is home to Clean Juice, Viva Raw, and Green Brothers juicing (to name a few! All have 4.5 stars on Yelp, by the way). You can also make your own at home using the many options of household juicers.
The great thing about juicing is concentrated nutrition and hydration. The juicing process lets you squeeze in a bunch of fruits and vegetables into one drink. You end up with the vitamins, minerals, and water found in those fruits and vegetables. Another benefit is that many juice bars incorporate herbs and spices into their juices for natural healing- such as turmeric and ginger.
One thing that you want to look out for when picking out a juice (or a juice recipe) is the sugar content. Try to find juices without any added sugar and low amounts of total sugar. Normally, you’ll hear nutritionists say that natural sugar is okay, but that’s because natural sugars are usually accompanied by fiber. Fiber slows down digestion, steadying your blood sugar. Juicing leaves out the fiber. Without fiber, juices high in total sugar (even juices without added sugar) spike your blood sugar, increase your insulin secretion, and they don’t send fullness messages to your brain.
Another thing to note is that those health claims related to herbs, spices, and other forms of “natural medicine” usually apply to medicinal amounts, not amounts commonly found in food. So, while your juices may contain health-promoting ingredients (like turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, activated charcoal, etc.) the levels that you’re ingesting them may not actually give you benefit. Additionally, they may interact with medications. Many herbals are not recommended during pregnancy or lactation. Just something to be aware of.
How often should you drink juices?
Juices, juice fasts, and even juice cleanses are generally safe in the short term (a couple of days). Again, be aware if there are any herbal ingredients added to the juice and what the amounts are. Juices do not provide all of the vitamins and minerals required for daily life. Additionally, juice diets are often very low calorie, which is not good for people to be on for long periods of time. Juices marketed as “detoxes” usually have laxative effects, which can lead to deficiencies and dehydration if used often. (Did you know that your body doesn’t actually need you to detox? Read our Detox Guide for details!)
Some alternatives to juicing that we love are infused water, whole fruit popsicles, and smoothies! Most Americans, including kids, don’t drink enough water and over consume sugar. The whole fruit is intact in the process of making infused water, so infused water has more fiber and less sugar than juices. What a great way to meet hydration goals! We also love smoothies and whole fruit popsicles for a similar reason- the entire fruit or vegetable gets blended together, giving you the same benefits as if you’d just munched on a handful of blueberries and spinach. Plus it’s the perfect opportunity to add in yogurt (protein) and nut butter (fat)- making a balanced meal or snack!
Let’s recap what we’ve learned about juices:
- Juices concentrate vitamins and minerals, but leave out fiber
- Watch out for sugar!
- The health claims related to juices may not be 100% truthful
- Long-term juice diets are not safe. Read our Detox Guide
- Try mixing it up with infused water, smoothies, and whole-fruit popsicles!
Check out this article: Juicing: Good or Bad?