Juicing is an excellent way to add fruit and vegetables to you and your families diet to give them healthy nutrients that can help combat diseases. As fresh juices are made from raw fruit and vegetables all the components stay intact so they contain more nutrients than when they are cooked. Recent research has shown that a diet including regular citrus fruit juice can help prevent strokes whilst the phytochemicals abundant in fruit and vegetables help prevent cancer.
Fresh fruit and vegetable juices can be enjoyed by the young and old and ideal for people with reduced appetites and there are always loads of recipes to please the whole family.
It is thought that a good variety of different fruit and vegetable juices – at least 2 glasses a day are recommended to maintain health and more to speed recovery after illness. With calorie controlled diets or for diabetics, vegetable juices are preferred as they have a lower sugar content. Juice contains the whole fruit and vegetable except the fibre retaining all the goodness. Vitamin C and other water-soluble vitamins are easily damaged by cooking so juice enables them to be easily digested and absorbed.
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid cannot be manufactured by the body so has to be acquired from the diet. It is essential for collagen formation, body growth, tissue repair and wound healing. It protects against infection and helps the body’s absorption of iron. Smokers and people who drink a lot of alcohol have problems absorbing Vitamin C. Antioxidants are plentiful in fruit and vegetables and destroy harmful substances called free radicals that build up in the body.
Good sources of vitamin C are strawberries, oranges, melons, mango, kiwi fruit, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, sprouts, plantain, blackberries and grapefruits.
Ideally, all the juices should be homemade as shop bought products may contain additives, sugar and preservatives. They tend to be heat-treated to lengthen shelf life so avoid the ones that are not kept in the cold cabinet. This heat treatment can destroy nutrients reducing their health benefits.
Even when making them freshly from your own juice machine it is recommended that you drink them straight away as nutrients are also lost when the juice is left to sit for a long time.
There are some guidelines to follow to increase the benefits of juicing:
- buy organic produce where possible
- Thoroughly wash produce
- Peel can be left on apart from bitter or inedible peel such as pineapple
- Take out pips especially apple pips as they contain small toxic traces
- Remove carrot and rhubarb greens as they are toxic
- Remove potato eyes and green tints as toxic
- Puree in a blender soft fruits such as papayas, bananas and raspberries then add to juices
- Use a variety of fruit and vegetables
Vegetable juices can include beetroot, carrot, kale, turnips, spinach and watercress and can be absolutely delicious. Garlic can be added to improve flavour. A great cleansing juice is watermelon with the skin intact. Otherwise ideally use local fruit in season to give variety. In the summer they can be mixed with ice to make fruit iced drinks and they can have yoghurt and milk added to make milkshakes and increase calcium intake for children.
There are many juicing recipes available today and it is a great way to boost your health and give you family all the nutrients they need. If your child doesn’t like one type of juice there are always plenty more out there. It is a great way of using up leftover fruit and vegetables and using seasonal produce.