Apples and oranges. Carrots and beets. Tomatoes and watermelon. Maybe a little nub of ginger and a handful of the same old greens (lettuce, kale or spinach – take your pick).
It does to me. The above list of fruits and veggies is what pretty much every juicer I’ve ever known has started with – myself included.
And whereas juicing the same fruits and veggies over and over again makes for some easy shopping and produce prep, you’re selling yourself short nutrition-wise.
The truth is that when it comes to juicing, as with most things in life, diversity is key. Especially since you’re consuming large amounts of these fruits and veggies on a daily basis and the last thing you want to be doing is overdoing it on a certain fruit or veggie. Like say, drinking a daily pint of tomato-carrot juice – that could turn you orange, you know.
And not turning orange – ‘though very important – is not the only reason for rotating your fruits and vegetables. Read on to find out exactly why life is more fun and juicing more nutritious when you expand your range of juice-able produce!
Why You Should Rotate Your Fruits & Vegetables
1. Nutritional Diversity
Let’s talk for a moment about phytochemicals. These health-boosting, disease-fighting substances are found only in plants and they are key to a healthy diet. The thing is – there are thousands of phytochemicals and nobody (not even the experts) know exactly what each one does or how it works in concert with various nutrients and other phytochemicals to do the awesome things they do.
We just know that each food category has a vast array of powerfully nutritious foods and each one of those contains myriad unique substances like phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, micro- and macro-nutrients, and antioxidants. Your body needs all of these to perform at its best. And the best way to ensure you get access to all the nutrients and phytochemicals Mother Nature has to offer? Eat a diverse array of fruits and veggies.
An easy route to nutritional diversity is to simply juice the rainbow, i.e. make sure you’re including a huge variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to your juicing routine. With just a little exploration, you can add a bunch of new choices into your juicing recipes and amp up your nutrition profile.
2. No Risk of Overdoing Any One Thing
The difference between a medicine and a poison is in the dose. And Mother Nature has her own way of reminding us of that very importance distinction. You see, most vegetables contain small amounts of alkaloids and other phytotoxins like oxalates, goitrogens, and even arsenic and opium.
Overdoing it with one fruit or one vegetable not only deprives you of nutritional diversity but increases the risk of getting too much of one thing – which can cause some funky side effects, by the way. Brassica vegetables, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are highly nutritious and very good for you, but they also contain a little substance called goitrogens that can suppress the function of your thyroid gland by interfering with iodine uptake. It’s not something likely to happen to most of us, but it’s a good reminder to not down several cups of pure broccoli juice every single day.
And it’s not just brassica veggies that run this risk. As you know, some vegetables – like spinach – contain oxalic acid which can be equally problematic when consumed in high amounts.
If that sounds scary – don’t worry, the alkaloids and phytotoxins found in vegetables are in minute amounts and won’t cause harm unless consumed in large quantities.
After all, Mother Nature is not sadistic – this is just her way of persuading grazers in the fields to move on to another plant family before eating up all of one kind of produce. Luckily, the tiny traces of alkaloids and phytotoxins found in healthy serving sizes are totally safe since the human body does a great job at processing the nutrients you give it, ridding itself of the useless substances, and protecting itself against the harmful ones.
Again, the best way to do that is to reduce the risk of getting too much one thing by rotating your fruits and vegetables. Diversity is the road to wellness here.
As mentioned above, there are thousands of phytochemicals. And those are just the ones that have been found! Each one of those performs an important function – some acting as antioxidants, some protecting and regenerating essential nutrients, and some working to deactivate disease-causing substances.
The things is – these phytochemicals don’t work alone. They work alongside other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in a beautiful nutritional synergy and it’s important that you provide not just one, but a diverse array of the team players for this synergistic effort.
An easy way to make sure you’re getting a great diversity of players in your juicing routine is to incorporate various colors into every juice you make. The colors of fruits and vegetables is an indication of their unique nutritional benefits and consuming the rainbow is an effortless way of making sure you’re allowing the abundance of health-building elements to work together in beautiful, health-boosting synergy.
You may want to be especially color-diverse when it comes to juicing fruit. Fruit doesn’t contain the sort of alkaloid or phytotoxin risk as vegetables, but different types of fruit do provide unique nutritional benefits – juicing fruit by color is a great way of making sure you’re getting the whole rainbow of nutritional perks!
Keeping track of which veggies belong to which family can be pretty confusing – here’s a cheat sheet to make rotating your vegetables easy!