How To

Juicing Your Way to Good Health

Note: This article is provided for information only and should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Please consult a health care professional for matters related to your health and well being.

Raw vegetables are an optimal source of vitamins since many vitamins are heat sensitive and are greatly diminished by cooking. In contrast, cooked vegetables are a good source of minerals, as the cooking process breaks down the cell walls of the vegetables, making them more bioavailable. Juicing is really the best of both worlds, since fresh vegetable juices retain all their vitamins and the juicing process releases minerals from the cell walls of the vegetables.

Besides the vitamins and minerals, fresh vegetable juices are also a great source of enzymes.  Enzymes are very important for the proper digestion of foods.  In order to get the maximum amount of enzymes and benefit from your juice, it is important to drink it quickly.  Enzymes break down once exposed to air, many of which are completely destroyed within 20 minutes of making the juice.  As such it is best to make your juice fresh each time you want a glass.  Stomach acid will also break down much of the enzymes.  One way to get more enzymes is to swish around each mouthful of juice for a period of time, say a minute, before swallowing.  This simulates what would occur if you were to chew the raw vegetable, and allows nutrients and enzymes to be absorbed thorough the soft tissues and mucus membranes of your mouth.  This idea is similar to the process of absorbing vitamins sublingually. 

Since all of the fiber is removed, fresh juices require very little digestion effort and are readily utilized by the body.  Consuming fresh vegetable juices has been compared by doctors to getting an IV, as the nutrients are absorbed almost immediately. The high vitamin and mineral content and the ease of absorption makes raw vegetable juices an ideal natural nutritional program for various conditions. In the holistic and naturopathic arena, it has been used to help conditions ranging from chronic fatigue, digestive problems, and arthritis, to heart disease. Juicing is part of various alternative health protocols such as the Gerson Therapy for cancer, and the GAPS diet, which is aimed at rebalancing the gut flora to help neurological illnesses, digestive issues, and a myriad of other illnesses.

I feel it is critically important to only juice organic fruits and vegetables.  I would never juice conventional produce.  Juice will give you a good concentrated dose of whatever's in the produce, whether it be good vitamins and nutrients or bad pesticides, insecticides and herbicides, and the last thing you want to put in your body is a concentrated dose of pesticides.

 

Choosing a Juicer

There are numerous types and brands of juicers on the market today.  Choosing one can be very confusing. It is a personal choice where you must balance the initial price of the machine, speed, efficiency, and quality of juice extracted.  Many juicers that cost more initially will pay for themselves many times over in the organic vegetables they save over the lifetime of the machine.  A juicer with higher RPMs will be faster but these high RPMs juicers often heat up the juice, which will affect the quality.  But more importantly, the super-high RPM juicers tend to aerate the juice causing immediate oxidation and a significant reduction of the nutrients and enzymes in the juice. Depending on the mechanics of how the juice is extracted, the juice is exposed to a varying degree of oxidation, affecting the nutrient content and quality of the juice.

Below is a summary of various types of juicers available and some of the pros and cons (in my opinion):
 

Type

Approximate Speed

Examples

Price Range

Pros

Cons

Centrifugal Juicer

3600 RPM

Omega

~$200

Moderately affordable. Fast.

Can become unbalanced. Difficult to clean. High RPM heats up juice and method of extraction oxidizes juice. Does not extract maximum amount of juice.

Centrifugal Juicer with Pulp Ejection

3600 RPM

Jack Lalanne

$100-$150

Affordable. Fast.

Can become unbalanced. Difficult to clean. High RPM heats up juice and method of extraction oxidizes juice. Does not do a great job extracting juice so pulp is still fairly wet.

Masticating Juicer

80 to 1725 RPM

Omega, Champion

$200-$300

Moderately affordable. Fairly quick. Very easy to clean. Lower RPM and method of extraction preserves more vitamins and enzymes. Extracts most of the juice out of the pulp.

Pricier than centrifugal juicers. Some brands are heavy. Can be noisy.

Triturating Juicer

110 RPM

Green Star

$450-$500

Fairly easy to clean. Lower RPM and method of extraction preserves more vitamins and enzymes. Juice is oxidized even less than with a masticating juicer. Extracts most of the juice out of the pulp.

Expensive. Method of juicing involves two metal parts that may grind together if juicer becomes misaligned with age.

Triturating with Hydraulic Press

100 RPM

Norwalk

~$2500

Lower RPM and method of extraction preserves more vitamins and enzymes. Most efficient at extracting the juice out of the pulp.

Very very expensive. Have to make a LOT of juice to justify the cost. A bit more difficult to clean than the masticating and triturating juicers.

 

Properties of Popular Fruits and Vegetables for Juicing

  • Apples - Reduces bad bacteria, parasites, and other microbes and helps improve flora. Improves digestion and elimination of toxins and reduces gallstones and arthritis caused by gout. Remove seeds before juicing as seeds contain small amounts of cyanide.

  • String Beans - Good source of protein and help keep blood sugar levels stable; great for diabetics.

  • Beets - Cleans liver, biliary system, and gall bladder. Reduces hardening and blockages of arteries. Helps with iron deficiency anemia. Both the root and greens may be used. Roll up beet greens before feeding into juicer. Beetroot is very potent and may cause gas in the beginning. Ease into it, and use it in small amounts with other vegetables or fruits. Beet juice should never be consumed alone since it is so potent.

  • Cabbage - Good for digestive and intestinal problems including parasites, bowel ulcers and infections, and colitis. Great liver tonic and reduces gallstones and help bile duct function. Helpful in acne and skin infections.

  • Carrots - Promotes healthy eyes and vision. Cleans the liver and helps inflammation of intestines, stomach, and respiratory tract. Contains an insulin-like compound and may be used in small amounts for diabetics. 

  • Celery - Very alkalizing and helps balance the blood’s PH levels, which is helpful for arthritis, gout, and toxicity.  Great diuretic to reduce fluid retention. Helpful for kidney or bladder problems and constipation. Helps to naturally lower blood pressure. Cut into small < 1 inch pieces to prevent fibers from entangling the blades.

  • Cucumbers - Has anti-inflammatory effects on the gums, skin, and urinary tract. Good diuretic to reduce fluid retention. Helpful for high blood pressure. Alkalizing effect for arthritis and rheumatic conditions. Silica content great for hair, nails and skin and can reduce hair loss.

  • Garlic Cloves - Allicin content helps fight infection and reduces bad LDL cholesterol and promotes healthy cardiovascular system. Cleanses the liver and bile. Has natural antibiotic properties to reduce bad bacteria and dispel parasites. Considered a prebiotic in that it contains components that feed good bacteria and help promote good gut flora. Very potent – 1 clove goes a long way.  Takes some getting used to in juice.

  • Ginger Root - Reduces congestion and mucus and good for common cold and flu. Inhibits formation of blood clots and helps lower bad LDL cholesterol. Is a natural antibiotic against bad microbes. Good for digestion and natural remedy against nausea and motion sickness.

  • Lemons - Reduces acid deposits in joints, and great for arthritis and gout. Cleanses liver, bowels, and blood stream. Reduces nasal mucus. Good blood alkalizer.

  • Lettuce - Good diuretic, has cooling effects, and reduces acidity. Helpful for arthritic and calms the nervous system.

  • Parsley - Cleanses liver, kidneys, and blood. Reduces gallstones and kidney stones. Good diuretic and helpful for arthritis and beneficial to urinary tract health.

  • Spinach - Heals the lining of the digestive tract. Improves vision, helps maintain healthy blood vessels, and supports kidneys and liver. Helps in diarrhea, heavy menstrual bleeding, and fatigue and constipation.

  • Watermelon - Supports kidney and bladder function. Very cooling food. Helpful in depression. Buy organic watermelon and use both the flesh and the rind, as most of the nutrients are in the rind. High in vitamin C, B6, and also the cancer preventing component, lycopene.

  • Wheat Grass - Very powerful in cleansing and detoxifying the blood and liver. Reduces blood pressure.

 

Juice Recipes


Carrot/Apple Juice

One of two core juices used on the Gerson Therapy, usually consumed several times a day. It is pleasant and is usually readily accepted by children. There is a synergistic relationship between the carrots and apples so that the combination provides greater nutrient absorption than when they are juiced alone. The malic acid in the apples helps in absorption of beta carotene. This juice is high in calcium and a myriad of minerals and vitamins. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrots (about 6 oz)
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple (about 6 oz)

Instructions: Cut carrots and apple into pieces that will fit into the chute of your juicer and alternate feeding the carrots and apple into the juicer. Makes 1 serving.

 

Sara's Good Morning Juice

Chlorophyll is wonderful for cleansing your blood and has a gentle chelation effect. We strive to include a good amount of greens in our morning juice for this purpose while utilizing a large variety of vegetables to obtain a spectrum of nutrients. The taste takes some getting used to, so we recommend starting with more carrots, a couple stalks celery, and neutral tasting vegetables such as cucumber. Slowly reduce the amount of carrots and increase the amount of greens and celery.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 small nub ginger, about 2/3 inch
  • 5 large lettuce leaves or other greens
  • 1/2 cucumber 
  • 1/4 summer squash
  • Sliver of beetroot
  • 3 to 4 large stalks celery

Suggestions for greens: parsley, romaine lettuce, red or green leaf lettuce, butterhead lettuce, swiss chard, escarole

Instructions: Wash all vegetables before juicing. Roll up greens and cut celery up into small pieces before feeding them to the juicer. Dilute with equal parts water. Serves 2 to 3.

 

Watermelon Juice

Watermelon is high in Vitamin C and beta carotene, as well as lycopene, making it a potent food against the effect of free radicals. Its vitamin B6 content balances the brain and helps with anxiety and depression and also with regulating hormones. It has a cooling effect on the body and the nutrients and high water content makes it wonderfully hydrating, which makes watermelon juice a great exercise and sports drink and wonderful for the summer season.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large wedge watermelon, cut into pieces (separate flesh and rind)

Instructions: Alternate feeding watermelon flesh and rind into the juicer. This juice need not be diluted since watermelon is about 92% water. 

 

Books & Resources

Raw Juices Can Save Your Life, by Sandra Cabot MD (2001)
The Gerson Miracle (DVD), by Steve Kroschel (2004)