Sick of Salads? Get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals by putting the squeeze on your fruits and veggies.
Fruits and vegetables should be consumed daily as part of a healthy diet, but most of us are probably guilty of skimping on the job. When you fall short of your daily dose, you’re missing out on many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. These amazing foods have been shown to reduce high blood pressure, promote eye health, keep gastrointestinal issues at bay, and decrease the risks of heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Recommendations call for 2 ½ to 3 cups of vegetables and 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit daily for the average adult (about 8-10 servings per day). If these colorful nutritional powerhouses aren’t making regular appearances on your plate at meal times, and you can’t stand the thought of munching on one more carrot or celery stick, give juicing a try. And that’s the juicing of fresh
fruits and veggies, of course—not the needles and raging.
Juicing can help you reach your daily fruit and vegetable intake goals, increase the variety of vegetables in your diet, and maximize nutrient absorption. Because dark green vegetables are typically the most challenging of all the veggies for people to eat for reasons of time, taste, or just not knowing how to prepare them, work to incorporate greens into your fresh juices. They can be paired with mild tasting veggies for a more palatable drink.
Fruits can also increase the flavor factor, but because most people don’t have as much aversion to eating fresh fruits, and because fruits carry a pretty high sugar load in large amounts, try not to add much beyond lemons, limes, and green apples. Even though fruit is a natural sugar, it’s still a sugar, and too much can cause problems with blood sugar, insulin levels, and body composition/weight. If taste is an issue when it comes to certain vegetable juices, enlist the help of lemons and fresh herbs and spices, such as mint and ginger.
A FLAVOR FOR EVERYONE
If you’re not a lover of dark greens and you’re main encounter with juice thus far only involves opening cartons of OJ, don’t expect to whip up straight kale and cabbage juice and have an enjoyable experience. The juicing newbie should first reach for mild starter veggies, including celery and cucumber. Once you’ve gotten used to the taste, bust out the big guns—the dark leafy greens you’re probably less than thrilled to see on your dinner plate, but know you should eat. Vegetables such as spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, and cabbage may be difficult to choke down in their raw and steamed form on a regular basis, but you may find them quite refreshing juiced with fresh lemon, ginger, and green apple. Along with discovering a new love of greens, you’ll also reap massive health benefits from the juice of these antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powered super foods that boast vitamins A, C, B6, K, folate, and calcium.
As you consider adding juicing to your nutrition program, remember that for an athlete who trains daily or multiple times a day, juicing should not be used as a main meal replacement, as it contains little to no protein or fat. You will also lose much of the fiber in the vegetables that you juice as the pulp is separated. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you’re consuming balanced meals with organic lean proteins and healthy fats, as well as fiber-rich foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and quinoa.
TRY THIS GREAT TASTING VEGGIE RICH RECIPE
• 1 cucumber
• 2 celery stalks
• 1 cup kale or spinach
• ½ lemon
• ½-inch piece of fresh ginger root
• 1 granny smith apple, halved and cored
Wash and chop all produce so that it will fit into the juicer shoot. Push in one ingredient at a time through the juicer. Pour into a glass and enjoy.