Juicing has become one of the hottest health trends in the past few years with juicer sales rocketing. Home juicing is no longer confined to hardcore yoga fans, and numerous juicery businesses have sprouted across Klang Valley, delivering juicing detox plans. So, is juicing healthy, or is it just another diet fad?
Here are two main reasons why you might want to consider incorporating juices into your diet:
1. Juicing helps you reach your daily target of vegetables in an efficient manner
The Malaysian Ministry of Health, along with many health authorities recommends that we consume at least five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. But let’s face it, most of us Malaysians will not be able to consume that much, especially when eating our typical Malaysian fare. A plate of char kway teow is usually cooked with just a handful of tau gene. A plate of nasi lemak is typically served with a few measly token slices of cucumber. Juicing is an easy way to virtually guarantee that you will reach your recommended daily servings of vegetables.
2. Juicing is good for those with impaired digestive systems
Juicing will help you better absorb nutrients from vegetables. Many of us have a leaky gut or a sub-optimal digestive system – a result of chronic stress and constant input of bad food into our bodies. This limits our body’s ability to absorb the nutrients from vegetables. Juicing will make it easier for our bodies to receive the nutrients as our bodies absorb nutrients from liquid foods easier than from solid ones.
But here’s how juicing can go wrong
While juicing can be healthy, if done wrongly, it can instead balloon your waistline and hinder your fitness progress. Here are a few things that you should be weary about:
1. Too much sugar
Be weary of the number of fruits in our green juice. Too much fruit juice may cause type 2 diabetes.
You can add in the odd apple, banana, or a handful of strawberries to flavour your juice but the bulk of it should come from vegetables – spinach, celery, cucumber, kai lan etc. Green juice should generally consist of 80% vegetables and only 20% fruits. However, most people usually add too many fruits to their glass of juice. Even though the sugar from fruits is in it’s natural form, it is still sugar and too much sugar is bad for us. Drinking too much fruit juice can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes because you are getting all the sugar in the fruit without the fiber. The fiber in whole fruits and vegetables slows down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream.
If you are new to green juicing, start with mild-tasting veggies, like cucumbers or start with just a few strands of dark green veggies and slowly increase the amount. If you want to make your juice taste a little more palatable, you can also add lime or lemon to reduce the bitter element of vegetables.
2. Treating it as a meal replacement
Proportionally speaking, most green juices are very low in calories, protein and essential fats. So, while drinking green juice can be an excellent way to increase your daily servings of vegetables, most juices are insufficient to be full-blown meal replacements. Try thinking of green juice as a health supplement – like a multivitamin – not a meal replacement. Protein is necessary to preserve and build lean body mass, which helps keep you healthy and even burns calories. Healthy fats are also essential for sustained energy and to allow your body to transport vitamins A, D, E and K – all key fat-soluble vitamins necessary for cell membrane formation, bone health and nervous system activity.
Juicing can be an extremely healthy pursuit if you do it right. Green juices can help you easily add a lot of high-quality nutrition to your diet but remember that juicing is never an adequate substitute for the whole source. Ideally, you should get at least half your fruits and vegetables in a form that you have to chew.