Is juicing actually bad for your health?
Tuesday, June 06, 2017
Fresh-made juices are the last health trend, and juice companies are popping up all throughout towns. Many juice fanatics praise the benefits of juicing — supposedly, juicing preserves the nutrients and beneficial enzymes contained in fruit and vegetables — but science does not agree.
The Gerson cancer diet involves massive amounts of juicing to eradicate cancer from your body. Proponents also say juicing fresh vegetables energizes you and alkalizes your blood, which can ward off many diseases, detoxifying your system. Some even claim juicing can reverse graying hair — I personally have not seen this yet.
Sadly, no credible scientific evidence exists to support any of these claims. Research is continually done but never conclusive. However, to negate that claim, many personal accounts back the power of raw juicing and how it has changed their lives.
Most juice Americans are used to is processed juice with added refined sugar. These juices are high on the glycemic scale and spike blood sugar levels. Refined sugar is linked to the obesity problem in this country.
This is not the type of juicing that everyone is raving about. This is the kind where you send your fruits and vegetables through an extractor — a juicer — to extract all the liquid from the fruit or vegetable with only pulp left at the end.
Here are the benefits from the popular juicing vegetables:
- Celery: Great anti-inflammatory; alkalizes and lowers blood pressure
- Cucumbers: Good for the skin
- Carrots: High in beta carotene, which is great for eyesight; great gall bladder and liver cleanser, but it is a high glycemic vegetable
- Wheatgrass: Detoxifies and alkalizes your blood
- Fennel: Great for digestion
- Romaine lettuce: Aids in a healthy heart, lowering blood pressure, cholesterol
- Red bell peppers: Sweet, but not high glycemic; high in vitamin C.
- Beets: Lowers blood pressure; helps with anemia, blood flow and bladder issues, but it is a high glycemic vegetable
Herbs are fantastic to add to juicing and not just for flavor:
- Mint: Aids in digestion, high in antioxidants
- Cilantro: Anti-diabetic, aids in digestion and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
- Parsley: Also an anti-diabetic; both cilantro and parsley help removal of heavy metals in the blood
- Ginger: Great for digestion and cleansing of your blood
- Garlic: Great for the heart health, immunity; helps repel mosquitoes (and vampires, and maybe some people)
- Turmeric: Anti-inflammatory, aids in digestion, aids in mood, wards off disease; touted to be the superhero herb
The downside to juicing, nutritionists warn, is that juice is still sugar. When juicing fruits, you are removing every bit of fiber and keeping just the sugar. The fiber — a necessary part of healthy nutrition — is the key point in the debate about juicing.
When juicing certain vegetables, the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage, collards) can adversely affect thyroid function. They can throw too much potassium into your system, causing problems for people with A-Fib. These foods are goitrogens, and eating large amounts raw causes problems (and bloating and upset stomachs), but cooking them breaks down the goitrogens, removing the negative effects
Spinach and chard are also big favorites to juice, along with beet greens. These vegetables contain oxalic acid, which can cause mouth irritation and kidney stones.
Fresh-made juice is better than factory-produced juice — no one disagrees with that statement. And many fruits and vegetables aid in your overall health. But with any source of sugar, moderation is key to remaining a healthy balance, and digestion of the healthy fiber fruits and vegetables supply is crucial.
So, is juicing actually bad for your health? Not if it's done properly — everything in moderation.
If you love juicing, the best way is to blend your fruits and vegetables, and don't strain the pulp out of your juice so you keep in the beneficial fiber. And remember to keep the high glycemic produce and the ones that create problems in high doses to a minimum.
Your body will thank you for the benefits. Your waist line and blood chemistry will thank you for watching out.
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