Is juicing healthy? Seems such a simple question…but it’s causing a bit of controversy. There’s been quite a ruckus in the media over the potential health benefits of juicing. Some articles proclaim it to be the best thing since pumpkin lattes, while other articles warn against the harmful downsides of juicing.
So what’s all the hullabaloo about? What is the final verdict on juicing? Is it or isn’t it good stuff?
We think it can be both. Like most things in life, juicing is a double-edged sword. Just as you can use words to encourage or discourage, water to replenish or to drown, money to help out or oppress, you can use juicing to better your health or worsen it.
We’re only interested in the former. Juicing can be a very powerful force in your diet so use your juicing powers for good. Here’s how:
Juicing is a Sidekick to a Healthy Diet, NOT a Substitute
We love juicing. Juicing is great. But – and this is a big BUT – we absolutely do not think juicing should be your main nutrient source.
While a short-term juice fast won’t be detrimental for your body, we really caution against using juicing as a complete meal replacement or as an excuse to not eat whole fruits and vegetables.
Juicing is best seen as an incredibly helpful sidekick to a healthy diet of whole foods.
Shy Away From Juicing Mostly Fruit
One of the biggest juicing mistakes you can make is to juice only – or mainly – fruit. It’s an easy mistake to make since the ease of juicing can make you forget just how much you’re consuming in terms of real food.
It takes about 5 minutes to juice 3 apples and then down the glass. It would probably take you about an hour to eat three apples, since you would get full and have to wait.
But overall, an apple eaten raw is probably better than an apple that’s been juiced. Why? Because the raw apple still has its fiber, which will make you full and eat less of the sugary apple. The fiber also allows a slower, more gradual release of sugar into your body, preventing a sudden insulin spike.
Try to stay away from juicing ONLY fruit since fruit is high in sugar. By removing the fiber that’s in whole fruits, you could end up consuming a lot more sugar than you bargained for, reducing or even counteracting the health benefits that made you start juicing in the first place.
We recommend blending your fruits and juicing your veggies – and then combing them together for a damn good juice-y smoothie!
Juice what you can’t eat
One of the biggest – BIGGEST – benefits of juicing is the convenience factor. And this is what makes juicing a double-edged sword. You can use the convenience to quickly and simply consume lots of sugar OR you can use the convenience to easily and effectively consume a diverse range of vegetables.
We like the latter. And this is the real advantage of juicing – it allows you to get heaps of nutrients from a variety of sources you wouldn’t have the time to get through whole food. Can you imagine how long it would take to prepare and eat 1 cauliflower, several stalks of asparagus, 5 carrots, and 3 beets? Not to mention, how motivated you’d have to be to eat them all raw…
Juicing allows you to get nutrients from food that you normally wouldn’t eat for whatever reason – takes too long to prepare, you don’t know how to cook it, it doesn’t taste so great – and get the nutrition instantly, without the fuss of preparation or the time involved to consume it all.
So…that bitter melon that you’ve been eyeing with a sense of reluctant obligation, that’s the sort of thing we recommend you juice.