Juicing lets you easily sneak more vegetables into your diet, especially the varieties that don’t make it into your salads or stir-fries. For instance, I don’t tend to enjoy beets or celery in any form, but I just love juice made with these foods.
While juicing removes a great deal of fiber-rich pulp, nearly all the fruit or vegetables’ calories and micronutrients are retained. Since most Americans don’t eat nearly enough produce, juicing provides an especially convenient way to remedy this shortfall.
You can’t any food that tops vegetable juice as a source of highly concentrated nutrients. When juicing vegetables at home, throwing in some leafy greens will bump up the nutrition another notch. Spinach or parsley are especially good choices.
The one downside to juice is that it contains virtually no fiber. Healthwise, that’s less than ideal, especially for juices made from fruits or carrots—both of which are rich in sugar. Without fiber, the body tends to absorb this sugar too quickly—producing sugar crashes in the short term and elevated risk of developing diabetes in the long term. For this reason, many people prefer liquifying their fruits in a Blendtec or Vitamix blender. This mode of preparation (called a smoothie) does not remove any fiber. Both fruit smoothies and green vegetable smoothies are immensely popular among heath conscious people.
You can buy bottled juices at any natural food store or supermarket. Unfortunately, thanks to a heavily publicized 1996 E. coli outbreak, nearly all bottled juice companies resort to pasteurization. The industry tries to obfuscate the situation with deliberately misleading “flash pasteurized” marketing-speak. But any form of pasteurization involves high temperatures that negatively impact flavor.
If you want a better, fresher grade of juice, visit a juice bar. You can also get fresh juice at most natural food store delis, and at many vegetarian restaurants.
You can make wonderful orange or tangerine juice using a citrus reamer purchased in a dollar store. Other kinds of juice require an electric juicer. There are two main types: centrifugal and masticating, and each has its advantages.
Choosing an electric juicer from the many models available can be overwhelming, since a wide variety of brands cover every price point. Check out our juicers page to learn how to make a well-informed selection.
Making Juice at Home
Nothing beats home juicing. Not only do you gain total control over the quality of the ingredients, you can select your fruits and vegetables in proportions that suit your taste. Juice bars rarely add as much ginger or parsley as I’d like—I consider vegetable juice made without a thumb-sized hunk of ginger a missed opportunity.
Beets and greens are overwhelmingly strong tasting when juiced all by themselves, but they’re a delicious addition when held to about ten percent of your drink.
One way to boost nutrition is to make a point of adding several fruits or vegetables of different colors. The pigments in these colors are indicative of different nutrients. By all means go off the beaten track and experiment with unusual fruits or vegetables. A little purple cabbage or orange sweet potato, for instance, will bring a new dimension to your juice.