Juicing: Are You Doing It Right?

As the weather warms up, it’s time to start thinking about healthy ways to stay hydrated. The more health-conscious among us will likely be sipping a cold-pressed juice. But are there pitfalls to these supposed elixirs for good health?  

There are a few things to think about when reaching for a tall glass of fruit juice.

Blood sugar and insulin

A common concern with juicing is the blood sugar and insulin spikes which accompany fruit-heavy juices. In contrast, blood sugar levels do not drastically spike from consumption of whole pieces of fruit, as absorption of sugars is slowed down by the fibre the fruit contains.

Phytonutrient loss

Fruits and vegetables have disease and inflammation fighting substances known as phytonutrients. These play a role in how our body metabolises sugar. For example, berries contain phytonutrients which can help block our intestines from absorbing as much sugar into our bloodstream. When we lose the fibre, we also risk losing these health promoting nutrients.

The science does seem to point to smoothies over juices for greater every day nutritional benefit. But juicing isn’t all bad.

If you use juicing effectively and put the right things into them, you could experience some great benefits—i.e. an effective diet reset, weight loss, and a top up on micronutrients.

So, what and how should we be juicing?

Greens, greens, greens

In a study using kale juice, this super veg was effective in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, while raising good cholesterol and antioxidant levels.

Another study analysing the effects of wheatgrass juice on inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis, showed marked improvement in symptoms. Another tool to put in the gut health toolbox!

Cucumbers, celery, and spinach are other great choices that are low in sugar, hydrating and rich in nutrients.

Choose fresh, not pasteurised.

Many juices in the refrigerated section of the grocery store are pasteurised (heated) to eliminate any bacteria development while on the shelf and to make them clear and uniform. But this process also destroys the remaining nutrients!

Fresh is best. If you aren’t making your own, opt for one made at a juicing stand or cold pressed juices which haven’t been heated.

Tip: If you’re having a juice made for you, ask that they don’t include too many apples and instead up the veggies.

Take it easy on the fruit.

You wouldn’t sit down and eat six apples in one go, would you? So, it’s probably best to avoid consuming all of that sugar in one sitting.

Stick to green apples that are lower in sugar, a bit of watermelon for antioxidants and hydration, not too many oranges, and get the bulk of your juice from veggies and greens.

If you’re tackling juicing at home, here are a few healthy options to get you started:

Morning Green Glory (from Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead)

  • 4-5 large kale leaves

  • 1 large handful of spinach

  • 3 cos lettuce leaves

  • 1 cucumber

  • 3 celery stalks

  • 1 green apple

  • 1 lemon, peeled

Alkalising Juice (from The Alternative Daily)

  • 2 celery stalks

  • 1 cucumber

  • 1 green apple

  • 1 carrot

  • 1 cup baby spinach

Fresh and Gingery

  • 1 orange

  • 2 cucumbers

  • 4 carrots

  • 2 stalks of kale

  • ½ lemon, peeled

  • 3 cm long piece of ginger

Grab a re-usable straw and enjoy!