Juicing and Smoothies For Dummies
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The trend we know as "juicing" didn't really become popular until around 2010. Today, you can find all types of juicers on the market to help you get more fruits and vegetables into your diet.

While juicing daily can bring a lot of health benefits, there are also some risks with juicing, especially for people with certain health conditions or who take prescription medication. Understand the risks involved with juicing so you can make the best decisions for you and your family.

Health Benefits of Juicing

In general, anything that gets you to include more fruits and vegetables into your diet is good for you. Proponents of juicing say that it’s a relatively easy and delicious way for people who wouldn’t otherwise eat the recommended amount of fresh fruits and vegetables to get them into their diet. Make sure you know which fruits and vegetables to avoid juicing before you get started.

In addition to getting these added nutrients, there are several other benefits of juicing as part of your daily routine. There’s some controversy in the medical world over whether the risks of juice cleanses outweigh the benefits, with some experts expressing concern that extreme juice cleanses can cause more harm than good. However, adding a glass of freshly squeezed juice to your diet every day, generally, can positively impact your health.

Juicing can add good bacteria to your gut

A lot of research suggests the connection between gut health and overall health. Specifically, having the right kind of bacteria in your gut can help you feel better physically and mentally.

The best way to improve your gut health through juicing is by using cruciferous vegetables, which are rich in prebiotics. Prebiotics are fermentable carbohydrates that nourish your intestines. They can help you feel fuller for longer, plus they aid in digestion, boost immunity, and reduce inflammation. You can take prebiotic supplements, or you can get the benefits by eating foods that are rich in prebiotics. Examples of vegetables that contain beneficial prebiotics include cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, radish, kale, rutabaga, and brussel sprouts.

Studies that look specifically at the connection between juicing and gut health are limited. One small research study found that participants who did a three-day juice cleanse had a heightened sense of wellbeing 14 days after the cleanse was over. Researchers contributed this to the altered intestinal bacteria that resulted from the juice cleanse

Juicing can help cancer patients

Juicing can’t cure cancer, but it can make it easier for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments to get essential vitamins and nutrients into their diets. Your doctor can advise you on what type of diet you should follow and will likely tell you not to follow a strictly liquid diet.

For patients undergoing chemotherapy and other cancer-fighting treatments, juicing can be an easy way to get essential nutrients when eating whole fruits and vegetables is too much. Add protein-filled flaxseed, yogurt, milk, or peanut butter to your juice to add calories and help you retain muscle mass.

Juicing aids fast and easy digestion

Because juicing removes the fibrous pulp, the juice that gets left is really easy for your body to digest, and digestion happens quickly. Just keep in mind that because you aren’t getting the benefits of the fiber from the fruits and vegetables you juice, you do still need to incorporate whole fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. Juicing shouldn’t replace whole fruits and vegetables; it should supplement them.

If you want to get the added benefits of fibrous pulp, you can add extracted pulp to other dishes, like muffins or soups. You can also rotate between blending and juicing, since.

Juicing can combat adrenal fatigue

It’s common to get rundown from time to time. After all, stress is part of our busy lives. But when your body gets overstressed and rundown, it can lead to something referred to as adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a term used to describe a condition in which your adrenal glands are overworked, usually from stress and burnout.

While many experts in the medical field don’t consider adrenal fatigue to be a diagnosable condition, many people still experience symptoms of it and find relief by changing their diet. to nourish your adrenal glands and recover from burnout and chronic stress.

Juicing can help you lose weight—if you do it right

It’s true that juicing can help you lose weight, but only if you take a thoughtful approach to it. Juice fasts are trendy, but they can actually lead to weight gain if you drink juices that are made from mostly fruits and are therefore loaded with sugar. Plus, because you aren’t getting the filling fiber from the fruits and vegetables you juice, you might end up feeling hungry and bailing on your cleanse altogether.

In general, adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet by starting your day off with juice from your juicing machine can contribute to a healthier lifestyle and lead to gradual weight loss. Juice cleanses can temporarily help you lose weight since they’re extremely calorie restrictive, but they don’t provide a permanent weight loss solution. You’re best off using a juicer to improve your diet, not to replace whole foods.

Risks of Juicing

While juicing has plenty of health benefits, there are also some risks you should be aware of before you dive in. In general, it’s best to add juicing to your diet in addition to eating whole foods instead of going on a juice cleanse to replace whole foods. Going on a juice fast or juice cleanse can be detrimental to your health by depleting your body of vital nutrients.

Talk to your doctor if you have any specific concerns before you start juicing, especially if you’re taking any type of prescription medication or have a chronic condition.

Juice goes bad fast

Fresh juice is great, but only for a limited time. Only make enough juice for one serving and drink it immediately. It’s easy for bacteria to can get into unpasteurized juice, which can lead to food poisoning. People who are especially at risk are children, the elderly, and anyone who has an immune disorder.

Juicing can negatively interact with medication

Talk to your doctor if you’re taking prescription drugs before you start juicing, as some drugs can negatively interact with key ingredients in fresh juice. For example, the blood thinner Warfarin can work improperly in patients who get a huge dose of vitamin K in their diet from foods like kale and spinach.

Grapefruit juice can be harmful for people taking certain statins to manage their cholesterol by blocking an important enzyme that controls how your body absorbs drugs. In addition, drinking grapefruit juice while you’re taking statins can cause pain in your joints and muscles, muscle breakdown, liver damage, and even kidney failure.

The FDA also warns that grapefruit can interact with certain medications that treat everything from allergies to high blood pressure. Your doctor can help you determine which fruits and vegetables are safe to juice with and which ones you should avoid based on your medical history and your current list of prescribed medications.

Juicing can hurt your kidneys

Some research suggests that juice cleanses can hurt your kidneys and lead to kidney stones or other kidney problems. This tends to be a concern for people who have an existing kidney condition or for people who do extended juice cleanses. Juices are high in oxalate, which can contribute to kidney malfunction. Talk to your doctor before you start juicing if you have, or have ever had, kidney problems.

Juicing can lead to dehydration

It sounds counter intuitive but drinking too much juice can actually dehydrate you. That’s because some juices have a diuretic effect, which can lead to diarrhea and dehydration. Having a daily glass of juice shouldn’t cause you to become dehydrated but going on a juice fast or juice cleanse can have this effect. Stop juicing if you start getting headaches, feeling lightheaded, or experience diarrhea as these are all signs that you’re dehydrated.

Juicing can be harmful for people with diabetes

Because juicing takes out all the fibrous pulp, it essentially all goes straight into your bloodstream. If you’re drinking juice that’s full of fruits and loaded with sugar, that can make your blood sugar spike, causing problems for anyone, especially people who have diabetes. In fact, a Harvard study determined that people who were considered pre-diabetic were 21 percent more likely to get diabetes when they drank juice instead of whole fruits.

If you’re pre-diabetic or diabetic, talk to your doctor before you start juicing. Juicing can be beneficial as long as you’re juicing the right combination of fruits and vegetables.

Bottom line

Juicing in moderation as part of a healthy lifestyle can give your body valuable nutrients and encourage you to eat more fruits and vegetables. If you have specific health concerns, consult with your doctor before you start juicing to make sure you’re using the right combination of ingredients.

Juicing at home is easier and less expensive than buying juice from the store or from a juice bar. Plus, you get to choose exactly what ingredients you add to your juice to make your own delicious concoctions anytime you want.

Are you ready to try juicing? Check out our top picks for juicers and see what different types of juicers are on the market so you can get the best one for your lifestyle.

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