The Goodness of Juices!   

The Goodness of Juices!

Does the thought of eating  fruit and vegetables turn you off? Here's a fun, alternative way to fill up on the nutrients needs.

Juicing is a convenient way to ensure you get almost all the goodness of a large amount of fruit and vegetables in a quick, concentrated serving. While there is no conclusive evidence that juicing is more beneficial than simply eating your greens, it is a fun and useful way to experiment with fruits and vegetables that you normally wouldn't even go near.

The Ministry of Health recommends at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and juicing can help facilitate this by delivering a nutritional punch to your body, minus the bulk. After all, it is much easier to drink a glass of juice than it is to eat a whole bowl of produce. In a world where every second counts, juicing might just be the ticket!

Fruits vs. vegetables
While fruit juice is a popular choice with both children and adults, most people are unaware that fruit juices tend to be just as sugary as chocolate bars or have as many calories as soft drinks.

What these juices do have going for them, however, is their tremendous nutritional value. For example, cranberries and grapes are rich in antioxidants, while pomegranates have been proven to be effective in lowering the risk of prostate cancer. The anti-inflammatory properties of cherry juice may reduce muscle pain and damage induced by exercise. Prunes, famous for their laxative properties, are also loaded with potassium and iron. As for the humble orange, pure orange juice is packed with vitamin C, but it can't quite boast the same abundance of antioxidants.

Vegetable juices, on the other hand, have far fewer calories and much less sugar than fruit juices. But there is a catch-the taste! Juice made from leafy vegetables, roots and stalks are certainly an acquired taste, but the benefits are plentiful. Carrots are an amazing source of vitamin A (needed for good vision, growth and development), while leafy greens like spinach, lettuce and parsley are chock-full of minerals. Cabbage is an unlikely hero, but this unassuming vegetable has long been used to aid gastrointestinal ailments such as stomach ulcers. Touted by some as a nutritional jackpot, wheatgrass is a young, nutrient-rich grass that provides a concentrated dose of iron, calcium, magnesium, chlorophyll, amino acids and vitamins A, C and E when juiced. Wheatgrass juice-as with most vegetable Juices-isn't exactly yummy, so adding a dash of natural fruit juice concentrate or honey can help it go down a little easier.

The fibre fix
A major drawback to juicing would be the near-complete removal of fibre from the final product. Fibre is an essential part of a healthy diet, providing the roughage needed for normal bowel movement, while promoting overall health. Fibre may also reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Fruits and vegetables are a rich source of dietary fibre, but much of this is lost during the juicing process. This can be solved by re-introducing some of the post-juicing pulp into the final product, as well as regularly eating whole, fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Juicing is not meant to replace whole food in your diet; rather, it is meant to supplement your diet by fitting in with your eating regimen.

Juicing prep
In 1999, an outbreak of salmonella poisoning occurred in North America due to the consumption of a commercially-distributed, unpasteurised orange juice-the worst case scenario when dealing with raw food. Therefore, it is essential to begin with clean ingredients, a clean juicer and clean hands.

Supermarket shelves often have chemical washes for fresh produce, but research by the University of Maine in the US has demonstrated that soaking fresh produce in distilled water for a few minutes is just as effective as commercial washes.

Thick-skinned produce should be scrubbed with a vegetable brush, and utensils and cutting boards should be kept clean at all times, particularly after peeling the ingredients but before cutting them, to ensure that impurities from the produce surface are not introduced to the inside.

Ideally, juicers should be easy to dismantle to facilitate immediate cleaning after each use as mould growth is a scarily common affliction faced by juicers.

Note: Remember to make only as much as you can drink at one time–freshly prepared juice can quickly become contaminated, and prolonged exposure to air and light diminishes its nutritional value.

Yummy for children
Most children enjoy drinking juice, and juicing is a great way to get finicky eaters to consume a portion of their recommended daily intakes of fruits and vegetables.

However, parents should proceed with caution, as juices like apple and orange have a high sugar content, while prune and pear contain sorbitol, which young digestive tracts aren't mature enough to completely absorb, leading to tummy troubles.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children younger than six years not to have more than 4-6 ounces of juice a day, while those between seven and 18 years should keep it between eight and 12 ounces. It is vital to restrict it to just one serving a day, but you can stretch this by diluting the juice with water. 

Happy reading,

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