Our bodies may depend on water for health and life, but if you are looking for a drink that can inject your body with concentrated nutrients, a cup of freshly juiced vegetables is the best around. If, like many people, you think that a savoury drink would be about as tasty as a sweet bag of potato crisps, you are wrong. Once you get over the initial strangeness, a savoury vegetable drink is delicious. What’s more, it is deliciously good for you.
Freshly squeezed juices, whether at home or in a juice bar, also ensure that you receive the full nutrients packed within fresh, wholesome vegetables. Nutritionists advise that you should aim to consume a variety of raw foods in your daily diet. If you cook all of the vegetables you consume, you are probably destroying all the best nutrients.
Juiced raw vegetables are high in assimilable vitamins, minerals and plant enzymes. Because juicing removes the fibre, the nutrients appear in a concentrated form, which is partly why they are so good for you.
If you drank a juice containing the same quantity of vegetables that someone else eats, your body will receive an almost immediate boost from the juice compared to several hours for the person eating the vegetables. This is because juicing allows the nutrients to be easily absorbed in your blood stream instead of being broken down and absorbed slowly through your digestive tract. For those with digestive problems, juicing takes the strain out of the digestive system.
Experts have proved that your health can benefit immensely from the concentrated sources of the antioxidant vitamins contained in fresh vegetable or fruit juice. These include vitamin A, which is converted by the body from beta carotene contained in red, yellow and orange vegetables, and vitamin C and E, which mop up free radicals, destructive molecules linked to heart disease and cancer.
To obtain maximum benefits from vegetable nutrients, it is best to avoid shop-purchased juices, whether fresh or long-life. Unless they say otherwise, the processing involved in commercially prepared juices destroys much of the nutritional content as well as destroying the enzymes, which help your body break down the nutrients. If you see the words ‘added vitamins’ it usually means that the natural, and vastly superior, vitamins have been destroyed. Added vitamins and minerals will be of use to your body but they will not compare to the natural source.
Some of the healthiest vegetables to juice, like green vegetables, can be an acquired taste. However, start off your introduction with the more easily tolerated varieties, including carrot, beetroot, parsnip, and red pepper, all of which have natural sugars to sweeten the drink.
Because the fibre is removed through the process of juicing, you must ensure that your diet still contains large portions of whole fruits and vegetables. Jane Edmonds, registered dietician at BUPA South Bank Hospital, advises that you should aim to drink no more than two portions of your recommended daily five.
Invest in a good quality juicer. As with any other food in your diet, opting for organic will ensure that you are not adding pesticides or other harmful ingredients to your super-healthy juice. If you cannot afford organic vegetables, make sure that you thoroughly wash the raw vegetables under cold running water. Any root vegetables should be scrubbed, but always leave the skin on as it contains many of the best nutrients.
Tip: Use vegetable juice as you would fruit juice in a variety of cocktails and long drinks.