Have you ever wondered why lots of people make their own juices at home when you can just buy ready made juices at the supermarket?
Why do so many health & fitness professionals recommend you make your own juice?
Does juicing fresh fruit and vegetables really have measurable health benefits?
Are homemade juices really the healthiest option?
This article explores why people are juicing for health, but first, let me ask you a few questions.
• Do you have health problems?
• Are you lacking in energy?
• Always tired?
• Always getting sick?
• Can’t seem to get over those cold or flu symptoms?
I used to suffer from all of the above, but, since I started juicing for health reasons, I have noticed a huge change in the way my body feels. I have more energy, less illness and my joints don't ache anymore.
Juicing has become my daily ritual. It's my secret health weapon that makes me feel better, stops me getting sick so often and has put a spring back into my 46 year old legs.
The health benefits I have seen in myself have been so striking that I decided to start this website to share what I have learned with others, so let me introduce myself – I'm Andy Williams. I used to be a research scientist, so at times you may find some of this website a little on the technical side. Where I discuss the nutrients you get from fresh juices, I have included a section at the top of those pages with just a simple summary that tells you what that nutrient does and which fruit & vegetables to add to your juices to get more of that nutrient. For those who want more detail, you can read the rest of those articles.
Let's start off by answering a simple question. Why do I juice my own fruit and vegetables instead of buying juices from the supermarket?
When you watch those juice commercials on the television, I bet you think that buying juices in the supermarket will give you all of the health benefits, without all of the hassles of preparing and juicing the fruits and vegetables yourself.
Well, think again.
In our article 10 Hidden Dangers & 26 Additives in Supermarket Juices, we describe the way supermarket juices are made, and more importantly, what is put into them. You might be shocked to learn that many additives can cause severe allergic reactions, some may even be carcinogenic (cause cancer). There are additives that are banned in some countries, but not others, and even additives that were banned in some European countries (possible connections to ADHD and cancer), but these countries were forced to use them again by the EU – oh, and these additives are in use in the US. Read the article and make up your own mind, but I think you’ll agree, that making your own juices is far more healthy – at least you have a better idea of what you are drinking.
Freshly made fruit and vegetable juices are packed with natures own medicines that can strengthen your immune system and help your body heal itself and prevent disease. On this page we’ll highlight a number of those biochemically active ingredients and tell you where to get them and how they may help your body regain its vigor and vitality.
Juicing your fruit and vegetables can increase your daily “servings” of the good stuff, while keeping it concentrated and easy for your body to absorb. It’s little wonder that those who start on a juicing program at home soon become hooked.
Juicing at Home – Why fresh juice will invigorate your body
Fresh juice contains a variety of components necessary for healthy functioning of cells and tissues in the body. These include proteins, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytochemicals. Let’s look at each one of these to see how they benefit your health.
Fruit and vegetable juices are actually a poor source of protein. However, they do contain a wide range of amino acids that the body can absorb. Amino acids are the building blocks for proteins in the body, and are therefore needed to make enzymes, structural proteins etc.
There are different forms of carbohydrate – simple sugars, complex carbohydrates and fiber. Fruits tend to have more simple sugars in them than vegetables – so anyone with a sugar problem should definitely juice more vegetables than fruit. There are two types of fiber –soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in the juice of fruits and it’s thought to help control bad cholesterol.
3. Essential fatty acids
Fruits are relatively low in fats, but there are some fatty acids found in fruit juice that are absolutely essential to life. In fact, they are even called “essential fatty acids” because the body cannot make them – you have to take then in your diet. Essential fatty acids are in many parts of your body including nerve cells and the fluid cellular membrane around all cells.
Juices are great sources of soluble vitamins (and even some fat soluble vitamins). Juices contain Vitamin A, C, D, E, K as well as B-Complex vitamins.
There are a number of minerals that are essential for the correct functioning of cells and tissues in your body. Minerals like calcium (bones & teeth), chloride, sodium, sulfur, potassium etc., as well as trace minerals that are required in very small doses – aluminum, chromium, copper, cobalt, fluoride, iron, zinc, etc.
Plants take up minerals from the soil, through their roots and combine them with organic compounds in their tissues. Minerals in this form are easily absorbed by your body, meaning plants are a great source of minerals.
Enzymes are biological catalysts that regulate chemical reactions in the body. They are found in abundance in fruit and vegetables. Enzymes are made up of amino acids (they are proteins) and this means that heating will destroy their unique 3-dimensional shape – and the shape is responsible for their ability to speed up chemical reactions. Therefore it is better to take fruit and vegetables as raw food, rather than cooked, and juicing is the perfect way to get a rich source of these enzymes.
It is thought that many of these enzymes are digestive enzymes and they can actually help digest food in our digestive systems. With this increase in enzymes, our body can produce less and use the energy it would have made available to the production and secretion of enzymes for other purposes.
Phytochemicals are substances found in plants that give them their smell, their color and their flavor. Plants contain thousands of different types of phytochemicals, although only a small number of these have been studied properly. Some phytochemicals have antioxidant properties and there is some evidence they may help prevent the formation of cancer. There are other phytochemicals that have a hormonal action e.g. isoflavines found in soy behave in the same way as estrogens and may help reduce menopause symptoms and osteoporosis.
Vegetable and fruit juices are packed with these phytochemicals. Here are some that have been studied:
- Curcumin – found in tumeric and gives tumeric it bright yellow color. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It is also thought to prevent blood clumping together which helps to prevent atherosclerosis.
- Gingerol – reduces inflammation and lowers cholesterols.
- Lycopene – a carotenoid found in tomatoes may lower the risk of certain types of cancer. It has also been suggested that lycopene reduces the risks of developing atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease (see Leffingwell.com for more details).
- Indoles – found in cabbage, brocolli, cauliflower and sprouts and may reduce the risk of breast cancer. When the vegetables are broken up by juicing, a chemical reaction takes place which results in the production of indoles.
- Lutein – an antioxidant and also thought to be an essential nutrient for normal vision. Lutein has also been implicated in helping to prevent arterial diseases as well as reducing the risk of skin cancer by protecting against the damaging effects of UV B radiation.
- Ellagic Acid – Found in many red fruit and berries (raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, pomegranate etc.). It has been found to work as an antioxidant, anti-mutagen and anti-cancer agent. In the plant, ellagic acid is produced as a form of protection to protect against bacterial and pest infection.
- Resveratrol – is produced by plants as a defence mechanism against disease. Resveratrol is found in lots of different plants and fruits, including red grapes, blueberries, mulberries, etc. Red wine contains a lot of resveratrol! It is an antioxidant that might help prevent damage to DNA as well as a number of other beneficial actions.
- Beta Carotene – potent antioxidant properties and a precursor in the production of vitamin A. Beta carotene is important for the immune system as well as healthy skin and bones. This phytochemical is found in yellow/orange vegetables as well as some dark green leaf vegetables like brocoli, carrots, kale and pumpkin.
- Genistein – is found in soybeans. It has a similar structure to estrogen, so is often called a phytoestrogen. It can mimic estrogen activity and may help to protect against osteoporosis.
- Allicin – found in garlic and has anti-bacterial properties. It may also be helpful in preventing breast cancer and prostate cancer.
- Saponins – found in beans may interfere with DNA replications and therefore help prevent cancers from growing.
- Quercetin – found in apples, onions, berries, cauliflower and cabbage. Quercetin is thought to have many health benefits including cardiovascular health, anti-cancer properties and protection against osteoporosis. Quercetin may help to lower blood glucose levels and correct insulin levels. For more information on phytochemicals, see Phytochemicals.
Why you need to be Juicing for Health
Just that list of phytochemicals and their potential health benefits should be enough to convince you to start regular juicing. You may just be convinced that you need more juice and decide to hit your supermarket shelves for it, but stop! Bottled, canned and juices in cartons are commercially processed and pasteurized – that means high heat.
As we learned earlier, high heat kills the living components of the juice and so many of the vitamins, minerals and enzymes have been removed. Why do the juice producers do this? Simply to give them a longer shelf life. However, in doing so, they are destroying a lot of the benefits you would get from drinking the juice “freshly squeezed”.
By making you own juices you can vary the fruits and vegetables and drink the juices at their most potent – that means the biggest hit of phytochemicals, enzymes and all the other goodness in natural freshly prepared juice.
Pros of Juicing
- Its a great way to get through your daily fruit and vegetable requirements.
- Fresh juice gives you a concentrated dose of vitamins (especially the antioxidants like vitamin C), minerals and other nutrients without filling you up
- Freshly prepared juices retain active enzymes (whereas commercially available pasteurised ones do not as they are destroyed by the heat). Medical opinion varies as to the usefulness of plant enzymes to humans, but Gabriel Cousens, MD published “A Health Perspective of Sprouts” that supports the idea that enzymes are beneficial.
- Drinking the phytochemicals found in fresh vegetable juice may increase the concentration of cancer-fighting phytochemicals in the body.
- The fresh juice is easier to digest than whole fruits and vegetables that are full of fibre.
- Fruit and vegetable are raw, which preserves the vitamins etc.
- Indoles (phytochemicals) are produced in response to the juicing process.
Cons of Juicing
- FDA warn that juicing raw fruit and vegetables may lead to foodborne illness since all fruit and vegetables can have pathogens on it. Washing the fruit or vegetable carefully can minimize this risk but they suggest pregnant women should drink pasteurised juices.
- Freshly prepared juices need to be drunk immediately. This will stop bacteria from multiplying in the juice, and also make sure that the beneficial components of the juice are not destroyed (the antioxidants and other phytonutrients start to break down almost immediately once they are exposed to light and air).
- Removes fiber from the juice although a Department of Agriculture study, researchers analyzed 12 fruits and found 90 percent of the antioxidant activity was in the juice, rather than the fiber.
- Fruit juices can be high in sugars and are therefore going to raise blood sugar levels. It is therefore not advised for diabetics, although vegetable juices are much lower in sugar.
- Cleaning the juicing machine afterwards is a little tedious after a while.
We want to help you enjoy a healthier lifestyle by embracing juicing. We intend to cover a wide range of fruits and vegetables and offer insights into their potential health benefits. That is what this site is about.
We will also help to guide you through the minefield of which juicer to buy. With several different types of juicer, you need to be able to make an informed decision, and our guide can help with that.
Have you had any success in reducing the symptoms of depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Crohn's disease, with fresh juice in the diet? How many cups of juice should I drink daily, and should I cut out regular foods completely? Thanks. Wendy
I personally have found juicing improved my energy levels and helped with some depression I was suffering occasionally. I have never suffered anything too serious, so I cannot comment on how it might help those conditions you mention. I would certainly start juicing daily tough, and concentrate on vegetables rather than fruit. I like to add in a little fruit to my veggie juices to make them taste better. When it comes to picking produce, go organic if you can afford it, otherwise wash everything really well and concentrate on colors. 5 to 6 colors a day instead of 5 to 6 fruit and veg a day. Think of colors as "health".
I would recommend drinking juice at least twice a day, but do not give up on regular foods. Cutting out processed foods altogether is always a good idea, and having more raw foods, fresh fruits and vegetables can work wonders. I also like to add in some nuts into my daily diet for the essential fats they provide. Walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc. Just eat those in moderation (assuming no allergy).
For all you out there who think you must have a juicer in order to drink juices, consider that you can simply use your high speed blender, then pour the pulp through a cheese cloth (doubled). The pulp can be used to make muffins. I have been doing this for ages and don’t plan to buy a juicer at all. I use a single serve smoothie maker and I don’t miss any of the high-tech gadgets. After all, it’s not about buying things… it’s about being healthy.