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Juicing for health

If youre not such a fruiteater and still want to have the nutrition, the best way to start eating fruit is to squeeze fruit juices. Juices have been used as a way not just to absorb maximum nutrition but also to heal the ill and detoxify the body

Well, 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, enliven 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 todays 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 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.

Grape Juice

Vitamins: A, B and C

Minerals: Calcium, copper, iodine, iron, phosphorous and potassium

Therapeutic benefits: The benefits of grape juice are many; nevertheless, it is best well known for its ability and effectiveness in treating tiredness, lack of energy and fatigue. It is an excellent pickme-up and energy booster.

Grape juice is also a rich source of antioxidants and is said to delay the effects of ageing. It has also been said to help other ailments such as constipation, heart disease, fluid retention, gout, arthritis, tuberculosis, liver problems, haemorrhoids and various allergies.

Preparation for juicing: The skin and seeds of grapes may be added to the juicer, as they contain powerful antioxidants and anti-ageing properties. However, the grapes must be washed really well, as grapes always contain a lot of pesticides and herbicides on their skin. The alternative is to buy organic grapes.

It is also important to note that grape juice contains a lot of natural sugars and therefore diabetics and people suffering from candida, should limit the amount of grape juice that they consume.

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!

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.

Apple Juice

Vitamins: A, B and C

Minerals: Calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium

Therapeutic benefits: Historically, apples were prescribed to remedy virtually every illness going and today we still have the popular saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away".

Juicing apples may help with arthritic and rheumatic conditions, as well as calming, soothing and cleansing the digestive system.

It is particularly effective at treating constipation and diarrhoea and is known to tone up the liver.

Apples contain pectin, a substance that is said to soak up bad cholesterol, thus reducing levels in the blood.

Preparation for juicing: Wash apples thoroughly. If they are covered in a wax-like substance, make sure that this is removed by washing in warm water. It is best to juice the apple with the peel intact, as much of the vitamin C is contained in the skin. Do not, on the other hand, juice the pips, as they are said to contain cyanide. Cut into small pieces and place into the juicer.

How to juice

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.
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.

Orange Juice

Vitamins: B, C and P

Minerals: Calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium

Therapeutic benefits: Orange juice is a great immune system booster and is therefore effective in preventing colds

and other infections. It is also a good cleanser of the internal system and calms the nervous system, making it effective in treating nervousness, anxiety and insomnia.

Orange juice benefits the stomach in many ways and helps with indigestion, constipation and all digestive problems.

It is also said to help with lung and skin disorders.

Preparation for juicing: Choose oranges that are ripe and heavy for their size.Remove the rind but keep the pith intact.

What to juice

Basically, you can just about juice any fruit or vegetables available. 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.

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