Depending on who you talk to, juicing is healthy or a health craze
It seems you can’t walk a block these days without bumping into a juice bar, and you need extra fingers to count all the friends who have bought a home juicer. Some health gurus tout juicing as a miracle cure for everything from heart disease to cancer. But is juicing really healthy or just the latest health craze?
Why You Should Juice
Fruits and vegetables contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals, and juicing fans say your body can more easily absorb these nutrients in juice form. And since one glass of juice utilizes a larger quantity of fruits and veggies than the whole foods you would eat in one sitting, you’ll get more health-boosting nutrients—and your recommended daily servings.
The Downside of Juicing
When you squeeze fruits and vegetables down to their liquid form, you lose the fiber, a vital part of a heart-healthy diet. You may also consume more calories and sugar in juice. You should also note that raw foods used for juicing can, in some instances, contain dangerous pathogens that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hepatitis or kidney failure. Pasteurization—the process packaged juices go through—kills these organisms; juicing on its own does not.
Limit the Bad, Maintain the Good of Juicing
There are things you can do to minimize the downsides to juicing. To lessen the sugar intake, drink more veggie juice—beet, kale, carrot and celery (all of which are lower in sugar)—than fruit juice. Nutritionists advise you to limit fruit juice to one glass a day. To combat the bad bugs, wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly and drink your raw juice concoction as soon as you squeeze it. (Pregnant women, however, should be cautious about drinking unpasteurized juice.)
The Question Remains: To Juice or Not?
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have concluded that there’s little scientific evidence to support the belief that juicing makes vitamins in fruit and vegetables easier for the body to absorb. They advocate the whole fruit and vegetables as the healthier way to get your daily intake.
But in a Department of Agriculture study, researchers found 90 percent of the antioxidant activity in fruit was in the juice, rather than the fiber. Other studies have found people who drank juices were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s, cancer or heart disease.
So we’re all still debating the issue. Here’s where we can agree: The average American eats less than a fifth of the recommended three servings of fruits and five veggies a day. A juice (or two) a day can only help.