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Natural Awakenings Tucson

The Juiciest Health Secret

May 30, 2013 12:59PM ● By Jon D’Auria

Millions of people across the world are boosting their health by drinking their fruits and vegetables to get their daily dose of vitamins and vitality.

 

 

With no shortage of short-lived diets, pills, programs, shakes and “get healthy quick” schemes in our society today, Americans and nutrition aficionados all over the world are turning to an old methodology that promotes wellness, weight loss and health. The practice of juicing fruits and vegetables has been around for more than 2,000 years and is growing more popular than ever, given the widespread wave of new juicers.

Old accounts of juicing date back to Korea, where they used green juice concoctions as part of their ancient ceremonial burial celebrations. Many primitive societies also used fruits crushed into fluids as part of their regular diets, as well. Today, Americans consume more than 11.5 million gallons of freshly juiced produce per year. That’s a lot of pulp to sift through, but as every committed juicer has discovered, there’s a lot of gain to be found in that little green concoction.

While many avid juicers have their favorite go-to recipe, the possibilities are endless for juice combinations. Some of the most popular items to juice are: apples, carrots, cucumber, kale, celery, chard, collard greens, ginger, garlic, pineapple, papaya, mango, berry, broccoli, cranberry, tomatoes, parsley, wheat grass and citrus of all varieties. While fruits certainly give the juice a sweet, pleasurable taste, it is recommended not to use too many, as they tend to be high in sugar content and can add extra calories.

Of all of the benefits of juicing, perhaps the greatest is getting Americans their recommended daily dose of vitamins through their fruit and vegetable intake. Juicing has also been cited for alleviating skin diseases, cancer, immune disorders and high blood pressure. Beyond that, juicing can detoxify our bodies and help our organs function at a higher level because of the important antioxidants that exist within produce.

Digestive health is also a major draw. While we miss out on the fiber in the skin and flesh of the produce, it takes less energy to digest food in liquid form. Food enzymes that are preserved by juicing give the body’s digestive system a boost, increase metabolism and help to digest other foods easier.

Many restaurants, coffee shops and stores in Tucson and all over the country offer fresh juices, but the best place to juice is in our own kitchens. After the initial cost of a juicer, we can save a lot of money each year by buying fresh, organic fruits and veggies to juice.

The cheapest and most practical option is a centrifugal juicer, which grinds the produce and pushes the extracted juice through a strainer by spinning at a high rate. These are good for beginners and easy on the pocketbook, but aren’t always the most effective. The masticating juicer uses a single gear that chews up the fibers of the produce and breaks up their cells in a spiral motion. This works a bit slower than the other types, but that leads to a higher quality juice that is more potent. The slowest, most expensive and likely best option are the triturating juicers that work with two interlocking augers that can juice almost anything and retain the nutrients at a high level of efficiency. But with any juicer, it is always recommended to drink the juice right away to ingest all of the nutrients before they become depleted via oxidation.

Juicers can be purchased online or locally at health stores or bigger box stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond. It’s a perfect way to feel healthy inside and out while strengthening the immune system, boosting metabolism, restoring the cells in our body and beating the heat with a cold, fresh beverage.

Jon’s Daily Juice

Serves two

3 apples
5 carrots
1 cucumber
½ bunch of celery
½ head of kale
½ head of Swiss chard
½ head of collard greens

Add in ginger, garlic, lemon or melon for a nice twist.

Jon D’Auria is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings.

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