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5 Foods You Should Absolutely Be Juicing (Hint: They’re Better Raw)

5 BEST VEGETABLES TO JUICE

Wondering which are the best vegetables to juice? Well, here’s a (slightly roundabout) answer…

Nutrition science has become so complicated. With numerous studies being published on how best to consume so-and-so vitamin or nutrient for extreme health benefits and the rise of raw foodies, there’s so much talk about what’s best eaten raw and what’s best eaten cooked.

For the most part, I think everyone agrees that most vegetables are great to consume, whether raw or cooked but the fact of the matter is that cooking changes the texture, the taste, the color, and the chemical composition of vegetables. And for many vegetables, this change is not a good thing since the heat used in cooking can damage or destroy some of the most valuable nutrients and enzymes found in fresh produce.

Below are 5 veggies that are not only extremely healthy, but are most nutritious when eaten raw – be sure to include them in your juice recipes!

Beets

beet juice recipe

image courtesy of Deliciously Ella

Beets are a unique source of betalains, unique phytonutrients that have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification benefits. Its these phytonutrients that are responsible for giving beets their bright, vivid hue and for tinting your pee an alarmingly red color.

Although these betalains are found in other foods (the beautifully red stems of Swiss chard, for example) – they’re found in very high concentrations in the peel and flesh of beets.The thing about betalains is that they’re not heat stable and are prone to damage when cooked, even for short amounts of time. To get the most of these benefits from beets, juice your beets or if you want to cook them – opt for a short cooking time of 15 minutes of less.

Also, beets lose more than 25% of their folate (aka folic acid & vitamin B-12) when cooked. This lovely vitamin plays an important role in a number of bodily functions including cell repair, DNA synthesis, amino acid metabolism, and has been linked to preventing obesity, heart disease, and various cancers. Find out more beet benefits!

If you want the full benefits – juice raw beets. Want a quick, delicious beet juice recipe? Here’s a brilliant one by Deliciously Ella:

  • 1 beetroot
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 red apple
  • an inch of ginger

Quick note: If you’ve been juicing for awhile and don’t need the super sweetness, feel free to skip the apple since the beetroot and carrots add more than enough sweetness to please your tastebuds 🙂

Garlic

garlic juice recipe

image courtesy of In Sonnet’s Kitchen

Most of us – at least the polite ones – aren’t too fond of raw garlic for obvious reasons. And whereas I admit that raw garlic will not do you any favors in the romance department – it is great for you health.

Raw garlic contains a DNA-protecting compound called allicin. Allicin is the major biologically active component of garlic and has been linked to various health benefits including lowering bad cholesterol, increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol),  restoring suppressed antibody responses, supporting overall circulatory health, and lowering the risk  of heart attack, strokes, and various other heart-related conditions. Get more garlic benefits!

But when you cook garlic – even for one minute – you completely inactivate this awesome enzyme.

To reap the most health benefits from garlic – juice some raw garlic into your favorite juice recipes. Preferably on days when you’re not planning on talking to too many people…like when you’re home with a cold. Here’s a great immune-boosting garlic juice recipe, courtesy of In Sonnet’s Kitchen:

  • 1 – 3 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 bunch of rainbow carrots (or any carrots)

So simple, so healthy.

Onions

But garlic isn’t the only food to contain awesome allicin – raw onions have them too! And much like with garlic, you’ll only get the benefits when you consume them raw.

It’s not just the allicin, though – you’re also getting these wonderful compounds called organosulfides. These compounds are what cause you to get teary-eyed when you chop up a raw onion but they also have real benefits like potent anti-inflammatory benefits. They’ve even been shown to help stop cancer cell growth!

And raw onions are not that bad in a juice recipe – just make sure to use a tiny little bit and preferably on days when you don’t have a date.

Sprouts

Did you know that ounce-per-ounce, sprouts contain more vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes than any other food? Not to mention that they’re totally crunchy and delicious!

Learn how to grow your own sprouts here!

But these yummy veggies are also high in phytonutrients and chlorophyll that are prone to damage when cooked. So be sure to juice raw sprouts for maximum benefits!

Here’s an easy recipe to get you started:

  • a handful of alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1 apple
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 kale leaves

But you don’t even need a juice recipe, really. Sprouts go pretty much unnoticed in juice recipes so feel free to add a handful into any of your favorite juicer recipes!

Leafy Greens

green juice recipe

image courtesy of Nourish Move Love

Leafy greens are among the best vegetables to juice which is a great thing ’cause it is near impossible to get enough of these greens in your diet. Leafy greens like kale, chard, collards and beet greens are high in chlorophyll, vitamins C & E, enzymes, and amino acids – all of which are fabulous for your body.

But these vital nutrients – especially chlorophyll and vitamin C – are damaged through the process of cooking. Even a cooking time of 5 minutes is enough for significant losses of chlorophyll and as for vitamin C – well, this vitamin is highly unstable and degrades super easily through oxidation from heat.

Note: Kale and other cruciferous leafy greens are goitrogenic foods and there’s been a lot of hullabaloo over whether they have adverse effects on the thyroid. In case you’re wondering – unless you have an ongoing iodine deficiency or an underlying thyroid, the risk is miniscule.

That being said – balance is always key. Do not overdo it with any one leafy green. Be diverse with what you put in your body and always, always rotate your greens (and other veggies)!

Here’s a super simple green recipe to get you started, courtesy of Nourish Move Love:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 apple
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 lemon {peeled}
  • 1″ chunk ginger

It’s clean, green, easy to whip up and refreshingly healthy without being overwhelmingly green. Perfect for beginners and advanced green juicers alike.

2 comments
Road Runner: An Energizing Vegetable Juice Recipe | Just Juice - June 7, 2013

[…] RUNNER is a superpower drink packed full of phytonutrients to power your day. Those tiny sprouts pack a powerful antioxidant punch and red cabbage contains a heap of vitalizing vitamin C and vitamin B to boost your energy […]

Reply
Juicing Beets: Get to Know the Many Benefits of Beet Juice | Just Juice - July 19, 2014

[…] Enjoy beets raw: As previously mentioned, it is best to drink raw beet juice. Cooking beets causes beneficial substances to be lost. This is the same for a lot of produce – most fruits and veggies are best enjoyed raw. […]

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