I was strolling through the produce section of my local supermarket the other day and something stopped me in my tracks. Right there in the aisle, an industrial-strength super blender was being put through its paces. The operator was demonstrating how, in a matter of seconds, a whole sweet potato and a carrot, along with a handful of kale, could be unified into a lush beverage, without any peeling, dicing, or slicing on my part.
I have to admit that my curiosity was piqued. And right then I remembered a report in a 2009 issue of The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society that contained data showing that fruit and vegetable juices might play an important role in promoting health and averting chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and high blood pressure.
While we should all strive to consume an abundance of whole fruits and vegetables each day, studies like this one are beginning to highlight the fact that fruit and vegetable purees and juices can actually provide a significant source of beta carotene and vitamin C, which are often scarce in the American eating style.
Reasons to juice vegetables and fruits
Clean eating. Juicing, blending, and pureeing fruits and veggies are a great way to get creative and invent your own soups and sauces without all the preservatives, fat, and sodium found in “convenience products.” Fruits and vegetables are naturally fat free, and are either very low sodium or sodium free.
Nutrition simplicity. Juicing fruits and vegetables with whole grains and seeds will enable you to create dishes that are good sources of magnesium and potassium—nutrients that are otherwise quite scarce in our American food ways.
Variety. Based on our daily calorie levels, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we get between 1-1/2 and 2 cups of fruits, as well as 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day. This amount of fruits and veggies is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes, and might even be protective against certain types of cancer.
Some of my clients just prefer to “drink” their fruit and vegetable servings, to avoid volume overload. A "one-glass wonder" of fruits and vegetables can help improve nutritional quality while also saving time.
Creativity. Be your own gastronomy inventor! Use your kitchen super blender to create original combinations of nut butters, smoothies, dips, soups, frozen desserts, batters, and purees, all in 1 simple countertop container. There’s no need for multiple mixing bowls or processing steps.
Food camouflage. Kale, chard, spinach, and mustard greens are some of the most fiber-packed, nutrient-dense, antioxidant-powered foods on earth—and we of course adore them all, right? But they’re not often the first choice of many folks, so a juicer is a convenient way to incorporate (read, “sneak in”) more of these great vegetables into whatever you’re serving.
What I tell my clients
“Man cannot live by juicer alone!” Weight-loss plans and cleansing diets that rely solely on juicing as a meal-replacement strategy can very possibly deprive a person of essential nutrients such as protein and essential fatty acids. Always use your juicer as a compliment to a healthy diet, not as the foundation of your nutritional regime.
“Nutrition in equals nutrition (and great taste) out!” For your juicing experiments and adventures, always pick fruits and vegetables at the peak of their freshness and quality. Rotting or wilted produce will only result in strong, pungent, or off-taste juices with poorer nutrient content.
“Keep it safe at the plate!” When making your own juices and smoothies at home, always make no more than you can drink right away, since freshly squeezed, raw, fruit and vegetable juices can rapidly begin to spoil, ferment, and develop harmful colonies of bacteria.