How to Enjoy the World’s Healthiest Juices
Juicing sounds like a great idea. You squeeze all the goodness out of fruits and vegetables for powerful nutrition. To hear the juicer manufacturers tell it, juicing makes practically any plant into a superfood.
Juicing can add a lot of good nutrition to your diet – and help you subtract inches from your waist, too. But there are some things most sources won’t tell you. So, today, I’ll share the whole story on juicing with you – both the good and the bad.
First, nutrition depends on what you juice. Juicing vegetables is smart. Juicing fruits, not so much. Homemade fruit juice is more wholesome than store-bought. But it’s still mostly sugar water. And that sugar is the worst kind: fructose.
Fruit is best used in smoothies. That way, you get the whole fruit – including the fiber that helps balance the sugar. The exceptions to this are lemons and limes, which contain very little sugar. You can juice them (minus the rind) or simply squeeze them directly into your juices for flavor.
And flavor is an important consideration. You’ll probably find it easier to start with milder vegetables first. Bitter vegetables – such as kale – are nutritional powerhouses. But most people can’t handle the concentrated flavor right away. Cucumbers, tomatoes and mild lettuces are good choices when you’re starting out.
As always, I recommend you use organic veggies. They’re pesticide free. And many studies have found they’re higher in important nutrients.
Juicing delivers a powerful dose of nutrients. Adding fresh juices to your day can boost your intake of vitamins, minerals and other plant-based nutrients. But vegetable juices don’t deliver fiber or protein in significant amounts. So look at fresh vegetable juices as only part of a healthy diet.
You can use the pulp left from your juicing to add body to tomato sauces or as a base for delicious soups. That will add some of the fiber back into your diet – and help you reduce waste.
Don’t forget your homemade vegetable juices won’t last long, either. Store-bought juices have been pasteurized, so they have a longer shelf life. Your safest bet is to make no more juice than you’ll use that day.
Finally, you can’t juice without a juicer. So here are some tips on choosing one that’s right for you.
“Centrifugal” type juicers use blades and a high-speed screen to separate the juice from the pulp. They’re the least expensive juicers – with some models costing under $100.
But these models are also the least efficient juicers. What you may save in initial cost, you’ll eventually make up in waste. If you don’t plan to juice often, though, they’re an economical choice.
The high speed of the rotating screen on these models – which may spin at up to 15,000 rpm – also generates heat. The heat may affect the nutrition content of the veggies you process.
Single-gear – or “masticating” – juicers are far more efficient than the centrifugal type. Prices start at around the cost of a higher-end centrifugal model. These models use a heavy-duty gear to crush vegetables and then press the juice out through a stationery screen.
Single-gear juicers are also more versatile then their less expensive cousins. Many can also make nut butters, process baby food, and even extrude homemade pasta. And because they operate at very low speeds, they don’t generate any heat.
Finally, there are the dual-gear juicers – the most efficient models. They’re slower than single gear models, but also extract the maximum possible juice. However, they’re very expensive. Some models cost over $1,000.
For most people, a single-gear juicer is a good compromise. They’re a good blend of efficiency and reasonable cost.
Whichever model you decide on, there’s one last point to keep in mind… Always clean your juicer thoroughly right after each use. Keeping your juicer clean will ensure that the healthy ingredients going into your juicer stay healthy coming out.