Juicing (the process of separating the juice from the pulp of fruits, vegetables and plant foods) is a great way to add more servings of vegetables and fruits to an already-healthy diet. Juicing should not be used to meet basic nutrition needs as it significantly reduces the amount of fiber you get from a vegetable or fruit. This is true for people who are feeling well, are able to chew and digest their food normally, and aren’t losing weight without trying.
If you are in active treatment, are having chewing, swallowing, or digestive problems, or are struggling with excess weight loss due to cancer and its treatment, juicing may be a good option for getting valuable nutrients into your body. During my own Cancer treatment I juiced vegetables such as Carrots every day.
If you currently eat five or more servings of colourful vegetables and fruits per day, then juicing to boost the intake of these foods further can be a healthy option. A serving ranges from one-half to one cup of chopped vegetables or fruit.
Your first five servings of vegetables and fruits should come from whole foods, not juice, so if you’re not meeting this five-a-day goal already, you should do this first. Once you establish, and stick to, a habit of having five servings of vegetables and fruits per day, you can add in juicing.
Follow a few tips, and you can make the most of juicing:
- Focus on vegetables.For the healthiest juices, try to include more vegetables than fruits. Include some fruit to sweeten up your mixture, but make the other ingredients vegetables—they have fewer calories, so make for a healthier drink over all. For example, juice one carrot, a chunk of cucumber, a small beet, a piece of ginger, and an apple. If you are new to juicing, start with a little more fruit to help with the taste then transition to mostly vegetables.
- Drink what you’d eat. Juice packs a lot of nutrition—and calories—in a smaller volume than whole food. For example, you need four to six large carrots to yield eight ounces of carrot juice. Most people wouldn’t eat this many carrots in a sitting. Stick to juicing small quantities at the beginning as your body is adjusting to the raw ingredients being consumed.
- Go Protein.Have your juice with a serving of protein, and a little bit of fat. Protein balances out the carbohydrates in the juice, and fat helps your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients from the juice. For example, if you juice thing in the morning, enjoy it with Greek yogurt with some nuts, berries and seeds sprinkled on top. Or have your juice with scrambled or hard-boiled eggs.
- Embrace variety. Get creative with your juicing to avoid overdoing it on just a few specific nutrients. By mixing it up, you get the greatest variety of nutrients possible. Don’t be afraid to experiment and your taste buds will let you know what they think.
- Count crucifers. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, kale, chard, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, watercress, collard and mustard greens and turnips. These foods help support our body’s ability to detoxify. Having one to two serving of cruciferous vegetables per day is associated with decreased risk of several types of cancer and no adverse effects.
- Embrace variety, again! In the same way that you get different nutrients from different foods, you absorb different nutrients from the same food, when it is prepared differently. What you absorb from a cooked carrot is different from what you absorb from a raw carrot, which is different from the nutrients you absorb from carrot juice. Don’t rely on juicing for all of your servings of any one particular food, or you miss out on vital nutrition.
- Shop Local. Remember the local farmer will have better produce than the larger companies. If you really want to get the most from ingredients such as kale, spinach, beetroot, chard and tomatoes why don’t you try to grow your own at home. These vegetables are easily grown at home in Ireland.
Remember, food first. Once you are meeting the five-a-day whole vegetable and fruit goal, try juicing to add extra nutritious juices to your already healthful diet.