From health bars, smoothie makers and juice making tutorials to endorsements from celebrities, online personalities and even health experts juicing has become the latest craze in the fitness world. However, before you head out onto the high street to buy yourself a shiny new juicer there are some facts you might not know about our favorite liquid fitness trend that may change your mind. We’re all aware that fruit and vegetables are good for you, but unless you’re juicing the skin, pith or seeds you could be missing out on valuable vitamins and minerals as often the juice alone only contains a portion of the goodness.
Many of us are also relying on endless glasses of fresh, delicious juice to get our five a day but you would be somewhat surprised to learn that just one fruit or vegetable juice/smoothie will actually count. Scientists agree that, yes, juicing gives us a few more nutrients and it certainly won’t harm us to consume more fruit and vegetables in this manner, but health experts insist that it’s not a magic weight loss tool despite what people think. Fruit actually contains quite a lot of natural sugars, so it’s important that you pick the right ingredients to pack into that wide awake smoothie. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself drinking more to compensate for the fact that you believe you’re not drinking enough to shed the pounds when in fact the very opposite is true.
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It’s Not Designed For Cleansing
Before you consider swapping that tuna salad with a tasty glass of blended cucumber, carrot and spinach think again. Nutritionists agree that juicing is good for us, but only when it’s combined with a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of protein, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals and even starch. Despite what unscrupulous diet websites may tell you using juice as a natural cleansing tool or meal replacement drink is not safe.
Once digested, the juice works its way through your system fairly quickly leaving you feeling even more hungry and increasing your chances of choosing unhealthy food or even binging on snacks to satisfy your body’s need for real food. Long term juicing isn’t good for our health and can lead to a myriad of health problems such as low blood sugar, headaches, nausea, and dizziness. You won’t even have the energy to walk up the stairs let alone complete a high impact workout, so remember juicing should only have a supporting role in your diet it certainly shouldn’t be the main attraction.
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You Need To Choose The Right Ingredients
Lots of fruits and vegetables contain different properties just like any other foods so depending on what you’ve whizzed up, your smoothie or juice can easily contain too much of one vitamin and not enough of another. Some vitamins are great when juiced such as B and C but others like A, E and K are better when they’re fully digested within a solid food. Vegetables, like tomatoes, will be of much more benefit to your health when cooked instead of being whizzed up inside a blender. To create the best juices pick leafy greens such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, and mustard greens as well as juicy fruit like kiwi, papaya, strawberries, orange, and grapefruit. You can even add in cold-fighting garlic, energy boosting broccoli and sweet red peppers for an extra kick of goodness, plus potassium filled cucumber and zesty, bacteria beating lemons. Try to avoid foods that’ll make your smoothie thick, mushy and sluggish, unless you like it that way, like bananas and peaches which can make juice too thick to drink.
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Mix Up Your Flavors
Don’t just stick to orange, mango and papaya because it tastes good. Unleash your inner chef and have fun experimenting with different tastes, textures and colors. Add in live bio yogurt for a creamier, dessert-like smoothie or grab a bunch of garden vegetables to create yourself a cold soup. Plan how you can keep your kitchen cupboards stocked with juice friendly ingredients, regularly update your fruit bowl and keep an eye out for exotic flavor combinations or unusual ingredients that could pep up a recipe. All successful smoothies or juices have a simple formula to them that usually helps to balance the fruit/vegetable content.
Ward off any bitterness from vegetables by adding in juicy pieces of fruit or sweet spices, or give yourself a tasty smoothie by adding cayenne pepper or cinnamon powder to a vegetable medley of carrot, cucumber,and kale. To get you started why not try grapefruit, orange, kale and cucumber? Or carrot, pineapple, and ginger? These juices combined with regular exercise and a balanced diet will soon have you looking fitter than if you’d followed a Bikini Body Guide.
You could even make seasonal juices such as a winter berry smoothie blended with blueberry, black currant, and apple with just a hint of cinnamon for that festive kick. Enjoy a healthy, refreshing summer fruit cooler filled with cucumber, apple, mango and just a hint of soda water instead of a sugary soda on a hot day. Just keep in mind the sweet/bitter balance and you’ll soon be whipping up all kinds of delicious juices and smoothies for eager family and friends.
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Don’t Store Batches Of Juice
A glass of juice or a smoothie is designed to be drunk straight away so whatever you do don’t fall into the trap of whipping up large amounts to pop in the fridge or freezer. The longer juice stands out, the higher the chances that the texture, flavor, and effectiveness of the liquid will change. The last thing you want to do is to alter the state of the juice as, once they’ve lost their protective skins, any essential nutrients will be quickly lost or the juice itself will start to ferment. Carefully consider each morning if you honestly have the time to make a quick juice. Any stored juice won’t be nearly as potent or beneficial to your health than one that’s been made fresh. You can always eat a piece of fruit or some vegetable sticks in their natural state which will give you energy until you have the time to get busy blending.
Flickr Photo Courtesy Of: Lindsay Holmwood