March 07, 2019
Every so often I get questions about juicing. What about juice? Is it good? Do you recommend a juice cleanse?
Juicing has become all the rage in some health circles but if you ask many natural health care professionals (Functional Nutritionists, Licensed Acupuncturists, Chiropractors, Naturopathic Doctors), you will discover that they don't recommend juicing. I fall into that category. Why is that?
I will say I have noted there is one interesting exception but before I share about that, let me give you some important things to take note of when it comes to juicing your fruits and veggies...
In general, I prefer and suggest eating the entire vegetable rather than a juice. The entire vegetable contains fiber which provides a few different benefits.
First, It slows the introduction of sugar into your blood. It buffers the sugar in the food. So if you eat the entire vegetable, it won't spike your blood sugar level as much as it would if you only drank the sugar portion and took out the fiber. Secondly, fiber feeds the good bacteria in your digestive tract. Feeding the good bacteria is a way to maintain good digestive health (and we want to maintain this area healthy as it holds 80% of our immune system and is a key source of good energy, mental focus, and long-term health. Lastly, bowel movements are smoother to pass when we eat veggies due to the fiber content. Less inflammation overall in the digestive tract, more stable blood sugar, and proper maintenance of the good bacteria are the main reasons eating whole veggies is preferable to juicing them.
The one vegetable juice that I would say is an exception and has been found to have many positive effects without the blood sugar spikes and crashes is: celery juice. Celery Juice seems to work quite well for a lot of people. Many people drink 16 oz of celery juice first thing in the morning or before their first meal of the day and notice that it has improved many symptoms that they experienced. For more on this particular topic, check out our Celery Juice post because it does merit it's own post.
Back to the regularly scheduled program...when considering other green veggie juices, the main thing is to keep a low carbohydrate count (and make sure to always check the number of servings per container because you have to multiply the total carbs times the number of servings if you are going to drink the entire container) and observe how you feel within the following 1-2 hrs after drinking the juice. You are mainly looking out for the following symptoms:
1. If you have sugar/carbohydrate cravings, you get hangry, hungry, moody, tired, or anxious within 30 minutes to 2 hrs after you have had the juice, that was too much sugar. Avoid drinking that juice. That means that your blood sugar spiked and then crashed and your blood sugar crash is causing those symptoms. If you get sugar/carb cravings, hunger, moodiness, etc., then it is messing with your blood sugar and it's a red flag. Do not pass go. Do not continue drinking.
2. If you feel great, smooth energy, no cravings for sugar or carbs, no mood changes, stable mental focus, no hunger, then that juice is not negatively affecting your blood sugar and generally is okay to continue drinking.
Summary Regarding Juices... a few things to take into account:
1. Check Total Carbs on nutrition facts label
2. Watch out for blood sugar symptoms: Remember to watch out for symptoms I mentioned earlier as indicators of whether or not you should drink or ditch the juice.
3. If you must juice, veggie juices are better than fruit juices. In particular green veggie juices that come from veggies that are not high in sugar such as beets and carrots. It's much better to simply eat the whole fruit.
4. Get fresh pressed juice, rather than juicing.
What to do instead of juicing:
1. It's better to blend rather than juice your veggies. When you use a blender and make a smoothie rather than a juice, you keep the fiber content in your food which will be to your body's benefit.
2. When blending fruits, stick to low sugar fruits such as berries which also have a high antioxidant content and help protect your cells. Avoid blending high sugar fruits such as pineapples, mangos, bananas, etc. Or if you must, only use a small amount so that you don't overdo the sugar which will cause you to have more cravings for sugar.
Mariela Villaverde, L.Ac.,ACN,MAOM
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