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Monday, April 23, 2012

Juicing For Optimal Health And Weight Loss

There are so many alternatives available to us in our search for maximum health and nutrition. One of the better ways to boost our nutritional intake, while decreasing our calories, is juicing. That's right, a delicious, nutritious, tasty beverage!

Nearly every single nutritionist or health authority recommends we consume six to eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Does it seem impossible to prepare and eat such a volume? I think for most people it is. However, juicing makes the daunting recommended volume of fruits and vegetables into an easy to manage beverage or two.

There are many advantages to supplementing your diet with juiced fruits and vegetables. Most importantly, juicing allows us to more efficiently absorb all the vitamins and nutrients available in produce. The gears of a juicer break down the cell walls of the plant, and often the juicer will remove indigestible fiber. In effect, the food is slightly pre-digested! This allows us to easily “soak-up” the nutritional benefits without a lot of waste.

In addition, juicing helps us to increase the array of the fruits and vegetables we consume. Often times, we all end up eating the same vegetables over and over again, because it tastes good. This is to the detriment of getting more nutritious yet less flavorful vegetables, such as kale or spinach. With juicing we can easily introduce these vegetables right into a blend of our favorite fruit flavors. All of the nutritional impact, none of the taste!

Your first step is to procure a juicer. Honestly, the most cost effective method for this is to check sites like Craigslist or Ebay for used juicers. Many people have started juicing, and decided it is not the route for them. They are more than happy to sell their machine for a few cents on the dollar of the original purchase price. If you decide to buy a new juicer, I recommend a mid-priced model. Steer clear of the cheaper machines, as they tend to clog and/or break easily.

Next step is... what to juice? It is important to note that you should only use fruits and vegetables that are pesticide free. Your local farmers market could be a great source for fresh, in-season, organic produce. Green leafy vegetables should be the base for most juices, as they are packed with nutrition. Try cabbage, spinach, kale, mustard greens, escarole, or any one of the abundant lettuce varieties available. Add in broccoli, carrots, or any other vegetable that has the nutritional attributes you are seeking. For maximum flavor, add fruits. A few apples, or even grapes, will mask the potentially unpleasant flavors of green leafy vegetables. Lemons and limes add a delicious zesty flavor.

It is best to immediately drink freshly squeezed juice. However, if you choose to juice in the morning for the whole day, store in the refrigerator in a solid color, airtight container to preserve the maximum nutritional value.

While juicing seems like an excellent addition to any diet, there are some people who need to take precautions before implementing it into their diet. Diabetics need to look at the fructose content of the produce they consume, as high levels can send sugar levels skyrocketing. For those with kidney disease, the increased levels of potassium and minerals in fresh juice can build up in the system and cause problems. Individuals undergoing cancer treatment should talk to their doctor about juicing, as the high levels of antioxidants in juice may interfere with chemotherapy.

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