With the summer upon us and an abundance of produce at local farmers markets and grocery stores, lots of people ask dietitians and nutritionists about juicing as an alternative for fruit and vegetable preparation. Here are some common questions answered.
- Is juicing healthier?
Juicing is not any healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables. Juicing simply removes the liquid from fresh fruits or vegetables. The resulting extract/product contains most of the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (chemicals/antioxidants in plants that make them healthy) found in the whole fruit. BUT…whole fruits and vegetables also have healthy fiber, which is lost during most juicing.
- Don’t I absorb more nutrients from juice if I don’t have to digest it as much?
There’s no proven scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating the fruit or vegetable itself. The process of breaking down fiber actually stimulates digestion as well as leads to healthier gut functioning overall. If someone has known gastrointestinal distress or other known medical conditions that prohibit the breakdown of fibers and plant materials, then juicing would be a healthier alternative.
- What if I don’t like eating fruit or vegetables raw?
If you don’t enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, juicing or blending may be a fun way to add them to your diet or to try fruits and vegetables you normally wouldn’t eat. There are lots of fun recipes for smoothies that incorporate both fruits and vegetables. If you choose to blend, the edible parts of fruits and vegetables produce a drink that contains more healthy phytonutrients and fiber. And fiber can help you feel full.
- Is there anything I should worry about with juicing?
If you do try juicing, make only as much juice as you can drink at one time because fresh squeezed juice can quickly develop harmful bacteria. If purchasing direct from the store, then select a pasteurized product. Lastly, remember that juices may contain more sugar than you realize, and if you aren’t careful, they can add up to a recipe for unsuccessful balance in both calories and carbohydrates.
Green Smoothie Recipe
1 ripe banana
1 peach, cut into slices (can be frozen ahead of time if already ripe)
½ cup raspberries or blueberries
1 cup kale
½ cup milk (or unsweetened alternative milks such as almond, coconut, soy, or hemp milk)
2 ice cubes
Combine all smoothie ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve in glasses or bowls and sprinkle with toppings. Enjoy!
Adapted from: MindBodyGreen.com
Edited by: Lindsey Traudt, LCPC