Juicing for good health and to combat disease - what to juice, how and why.
Juicing is the latest diet and health craze at the moment with juice bars springing up all over the place. But is this just one of a number of new fads expounding a novel way to lose weight and become healthy, or is there any substance or more importantly, juice to the matter?
Actually, juicing has been around for about 50 years and is not, in fact, a novel idea.
Natural health advocates have been consuming raw fruit and vegetable juices in particular, every day in order to maintain good health, boost energy, cleanse the body, boost hair, skin and nails and protect against certain illnesses ranging from the common cold to the more devastating cancer.
Juice specialists were actually able to treat specific ailments with a concoction of selected juices for a period of several weeks. For example, to treat arthritis a combination of the following juices were to be taken, along with a raw fruit and vegetable diet for several weeks: celery, cucumber, carrot, apple, lemon, grapefruit, watercress, tomato, spinach and orange.
Fifty years on, in today's society, when many people are more concerned about their weight and appearance than their health, juicing is the latest way to achieve a flat stomach in three days or lose 5 lb as quickly as possible. Many are not aware of the amazing benefits on the body, inside and out, that juicing actually has.
It must be noted, however, that juices should not replace the whole fruit or vegetable in the diet. It is crucial that you still consume plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, including the pulp and skin, as this is where most of the fibre is contained. Fibre is essential for good health, many people do not consume enough of it and whole fruit and vegetables are a major source.
Reasons to juice
- Consuming a juice concoction of several fruits, vegetables or a mixture of both is an easy way of achieving the recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, as detailed by governments and health departments.
- Raw fruit and vegetables contain massive amounts of essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes required daily by our body that are often lost in cooking and are not found is such quantities in bottled juice.
- Raw juice is an excellent detoxifier and cleanser of the body. All fruits contain certain acids that cleanse the body and break down harmful substances.
- Larger quantities of the essential minerals and vitamins are assimilated or absorbed by the body when found in the juice form, as they are more easily digestible and are not excreted out of the body with the fibre from the skin and pulp of the fruit that the body is unable to break down and digest. For example, a 200 ml glass of freshly squeezed orange juice contains as much as 3 times the amount of vitamin C as a medium-sized orange fruit.
- Fruit and vegetables, believe it or not, are an important source of water. Many of us do not consume enough water throughout the day and fruit and vegetables are able to contribute, being a clean and pure source of water. Cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes contain up to 95% water!
- You can experiment with delicious variations on your favourite juices and will probably end up consuming a wider variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Chemical plant substances found in all fruit and vegetables are known to prevent and protect against many illnesses and allergies including cancer, high blood pressure, cystitis, constipation, asthma, rheumatism and many more.
How to juice
First of all you must invest in a juicer for your home. This machine is essential in today's kitchen and is not necessarily expensive. Prices may range from as little as $50 (£30) to as much as $650 (£400).
Secondly, try to use produce that is as fresh as possible, as more minerals and vitamins are retained. Fruit should be ripe yet not overripe and vegetables should be young and fresh.
Wash your ingredients thoroughly to remove dirt and pesticides but you do not necessarily have to peel each fruit or vegetable before passing it through the juicer. Obviously, remove the hard skin of pineapples or melons but the skin of peaches, apples, lemons, pears and cucumbers for example may be kept intact.
Chop the ingredients into small pieces, place into the juicer, switch the machine on and wait for your fresh juice to appear.
Fresh juice is best served slightly chilled, therefore store it in the refrigerator for just the right amount of time to cool it or add a few ice cubes instead. Remember that as soon as the juice is squeezed from the fruit and comes into contact with air, it will start to deteriorate and lose vitamin and mineral content.
Ensure that you clean your juicer as quickly and as thoroughly as possible and store in a dry place.
What to juice
Basically, you can just about juice any fruit or vegetables available.
If you are just starting out, it is probably a good idea to look up some recipes from books, magazines or the Internet, to give you a few starting points and inspiration for your own recipes once you get the hang of it.
Be careful with fruit juices, as they do contain a lot of natural sugar and may raise insulin levels in the blood. The same goes for beetroot and carrot and these juices should be avoided by diabetics.
Begin by using your favourite fruits and vegetables first and then try to become a bit more adventurous by using more exotic combinations.
Carrots, apples, oranges, tomatoes and cabbage are all good bases to which other fruits and vegetables may be added.
Additionally, for a bit more substance and kick, try adding herbs, spices and seeds to your fresh juices. Herbs are another source of minerals and vitamins, some spices such as ginger will definitely add some spice to the juice and seeds in the form of pumpkin or flax seeds provide protein, which are lacking from fruit and vegetable juices.
See below for which fruits and vegetables help various ailments and illnesses and our juice recipe page for delicious and healthy fruit
and vegetable juice
Recipes to combat specific illnesses and disease
The following fruit and vegetable recipes have been put together in order to combat specific illnesses and disease, ranging from the common cold to a cure for indigestion or cystitis.
Where a number of ingredients are given, it is recommended that you choose two or three ingredients and consume that juice for several weeks, after which you can chop and change the ingredients and follow the treatment for a further couple of weeks.
Try to consume a minimum of 1 pint a day and no more than 4 pints a day. For maximum benefits, try to combine this with a pure diet of raw fruit and vegetables, if possible.
Always wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly, remove any stones or seeds and chop into small pieces or slices to make it easier for your juicer to extract the juice.
Not all fruits or vegetables need to be peeled or skinned, as don't forget, much of the goodness and essential vitamins and minerals are found there.
Beetroot, carrot, celery, grape, lettuce, orange, peach, pear, spinach or tomato.
Apricot, broccoli, carrot, celery, grapefruit, mango, melon, onion, orange, pumpkin, spinach, strawberry or watercress.
Age (anti-ageing foods)
Apple, apricot, avocado, blackberry, blueberry, broccoli, cabbage, cranberry, garlic, gooseberry, grape, kale, lettuce, radish, spinach or tomato.
Alfalfa, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, kelp, lettuce, onion, pumpkin, spinach or watercress.
Apricot, beetroot, carrot, cherry, dandelion leaves, figs, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, fruit, lemon, lettuce, lime, oranges, parsley, prune, raisin, spinach, strawberry, turnip leaves or watercress.
Broccoli, celery, lemon, lettuce, lime, orange, peach, spinach, tomato or watercress.
Apple, broccoli, carrot, celery, cucumber, grape, lemon, pear, pineapple, red pepper or tomato.
Apricot, carrot, orange, pear, pepper (red).
Apple, broccoli, carrot, fennel, parsley, pear, spinach or citrus fruits.
High blood pressure
Cabbage, celery, cucumber, dandelion, garlic, grapefruit, lemon, orange, parsley or pear.
Beetroot, dandelion, grapefruit, parsley or pineapple.
Carrot, grape, leek, lemon, onion, orange or spinach.
Avocado, blackberry, blueberry, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, chilli pepper, fig, garlic, grape (red), grapefruit, kale, leek, lemon, onion, orange, papaya, pumpkin, raspberry, spinach, strawberry, tomato or watercress.
Cabbage, carrot, chilli pepper, garlic, lemon, onion, orange, pineapple, strawberry or watercress.
Apple, avocado, beans, blueberry, carrot, cranberry, garlic, kale, kiwi, onion, orange, Swiss chard or sweetcorn.
Apple, beetroot, blackberry, Brussels sprouts, carrot, cabbage, fennel, fig, grape, lettuce, orange, papaya, parsnip, peach, prune, pumpkin or sweetcorn.
Apple, beetroot, carrot, fennel, grape, kiwi, lemon, lettuce, orange, papaya, peach, pineapple or spinach.
Apple, blackberry, broccoli, carrot, dandelion, garlic, grape, grapefruit, lettuce, melon, onion, orange, parsley, pumpkin, spinach, tomato or watercress.
Lack of energy
Apple, apricot, blueberry, cantaloupe melon, carrot, fennel, grape, lemon, mango, parsley, parsnip, peach, pear, peppers, orange, spinach, strawberry or spinach.
Apple, cherry, lemon, pear, pineapple or tomato.
Carrot, celery and parsley.
Cucumber, tomato and watercress.
To aid indigestion
4 slices of pineapple
Remove the skin from the pineapples. Wash, core the apples and cut into slices. Halve the papaya and discard the seeds. Scoop out the flesh. Juice all of the ingredients together, mix well and serve with crushed ice.
To boost energy
Leave the skin on both vegetables but wash thoroughly. Core the apples and cut into slices. Cut the parsnips into small pieces and juice with the apples. Serve with ice.
To freshen breath
3½ oz (100 g) of parsley
Wash the carrots and remove the ends. Cut into small chunks. Juice with the parsley, stir and serve.
To cure a hangover
Peel the mangos and discard the stone. Remove the rind of the pineapple and cut into small pieces. Juice both fruits.
To settle the stomach
1 fennel bulb
8 fl oz (240 ml) of water
sprinkle of ginger
Cut the fennel into slices and pass through the juicer. Add the water and a sprinkling of ginger.
To combat cystitis
1 lb (450 g) of cranberries
Wash all of the ingredients, core and slice the apples and pears and then juice all of the ingredients. Serve with crushed ice.
To cleanse the body
1 stick of celery
1 slice of lemon with rind
1-inch piece of cucumber
Wash the apples, celery and cucumber. Core and slice the apples. Remove the ends from the celery. Pass all of the ingredients through the juicer, mix together and serve with crushed ice.