Healthy Juice Ingredients, From A to Z
Whether you are juicing at home or purchasing from the store, the following breaks down the benefits of different ingredients. Always buy organic when you can. Juice is concentrated so if there are any chemicals present, they will be more concentrated in the juice form.
Spinach and kale (and other dark leafy greens) are the best bang for your buck in terms of nutritional value. They provide a good source of calcium and iron, as well as vitamins A, C and K. These dark greens are loaded with antioxidant properties like flavonoids, which protect cells from damage. They also help diminish inflammation within the body. As an added bonus, kale contains lutein for healthy eyesight.
The most important nutrients in carrots are phytochemical’s, beta carotene and vitamin A. Phytochemical’s aid in all body functions. Beta carotene, which gives carrots their orange color, is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage. Additionally, the liver converts beta carotene to vitamin A, which is good for eyesight and skin, plays an important role in healing and preventing infection and promotes healthy bones, teeth and body tissues. It is also a powerful antioxidant, helping to prevent cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Celery is a great source of magnesium, which can help lower blood pressure. It is also a natural diuretic, helping to prevent kidney stones and gallstones by ridding toxins from the body. Finally, celery can slow tumor growth by hindering the spread of cancer cells.
Cucumber is a great source of Vitamin A and calcium, and is a natural diuretic and a natural source of sodium.
Beets contain B vitamins, vitamin A and C, calcium and magnesium, as well as the amino acid betaine, which fights cancer-causing compounds. They are also a super source of energy-boosting carbohydrates, but are not high in calories, and contain the folic acid necessary for new cells that promote healing.
For a nice flavor burst to any juice combination, throw in a bit of digestion aiding-ginger. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that boost immunity.
Lemon is another natural diuretic and source of vitamin C.
For a low-calorie sweetening agent, toss in a green apple. Apples can help eliminate toxic compounds and contain phytonutrients that help lower cholesterol. Plus, they are a good source of vitamin A, phosphorus, iron and potassium.
Grapefruit is high in vitamin C, which encourages collagen production and helps improve lipid levels by raising HDL cholesterol. A little known but great-tasting flavor combination is beets and grapefruit. Warning: grapefruit can interfere with some medications, so check with your doctor before adding them to your juices.
Many of these fruits and vegetables contain the same nutrients. Confused? Try some of the following combinations for targeted treatments:
Boost immune system/healing: Carrots; dark greens; grapefruit; beets
Anti-inflammation: Dark greens; ginger; celery
Glowing skin: Dark greens; green apples; grapefruit
Beat the bloat: Cucumber; lemon; celery
Energy boost: Beets; green apples, carrots
Make juicing part of your healthy diet, but keep in mind that it will not make up for bad eating habits, and that it’s vital to include protein, heart healthy fats and fiber in your diet.
-Elesha Kelleher, Nutritionist