Drinking Your Energy and Health in a Glass

By Pat Crocker

Opting to make your own smoothies and juices means that you’re making a fresh start. Commercial juices and smoothies, whether purchased at your grocery store or at a juice bar, are still better for you than junk food and soft drinks, but making your own allows you to be in total control of what goes into the drink.

You can save money and still buy organic, fresh fruits and vegetables that are at their peak of ripeness and, thus, bursting with optimum nutrients.

Reaching for a glass of homemade juice or a smoothie means that you can stop taking commercial supplements unless a doctor has prescribed these supplements. You’ll save money and get more of your daily nutrient requirements by drinking two or more pure fruit or vegetable drinks every day.

The advantage of consuming whole fruits and vegetables is that they contain so many complementary nutrients and trace elements, not just the major ones such as vitamin C or A. These super phytonutrients help the body metabolize or use the vitamins or minerals that you may not be able to absorb from a particular food or a commercial supplement, and they help to boost their effectiveness.

Commercial supplements that have isolated one or two nutrients lack all the other substances that occur naturally in whole foods and that allow the body to fully use them. For example, if you were taking a multivitamin with 10 mg of iron and it didn’t have enough vitamin C and calcium to assist the body in taking up and using that iron, the iron would pass through your body virtually unused.

The best advice for complete and optimum healthy living in a glass is to drink the rainbow twice a day. Try to include as wide a variety as possible of the vibrant and colorful fruits and vegetables available to you. This approach ensures that you’re getting the best and the most nutrients that nature offers. And if you drink two or more glasses of juice or smoothies every day, you’ll be providing your body with a continuous replenishment of nutrients that are lost in normal daily living.

Think of your body as a bank: If you deposit only lower value coins (or empty calories), you won’t have the cash (or energy) to do the things you want. Worse still, eventually, you won’t have the reserves to defend yourself against a tough economy (bacteria and deadly diseases).

Eating well and adding two or more fresh juices or smoothies to your daily routine will top up your nutrient reserves all day long so that you’ll actually notice a change in your energy and physical well-being. Take a peek at what you can expect from healthy living in a glass:

  • Energy to burn: Your cells are nourished (or not) from the food you consume. By flooding your tissues with the pure nutrients that they need to function and stay healthy, you keep them strong and able to throw off minor colds and flu, which means that after a short period of time, you actually will feel energized.

  • Glowing skin: Collagen is made up of proteins that forms the glue used by the body to connect and support tissues such as skin, bone, tendons, muscles, organs, teeth, gums, and cartilage. Vitamin C is essential in building collagen. Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C — citrus fruit, strawberries, cabbage, and peppers — are essential for healthy skin. Vitamin A, found in apricots, carrots, spinach, and squash, protects the skin from sun damage. Skin cells are protected from aging by Vitamin E, found in dark green leafy vegetables, wheat germ, and nuts and seeds.

  • Bright eyes: Beta-carotene, as found in the carotenoids of fruits and vegetables, is converted to retinol by the body. Retinol protects the surface of the eye, or the cornea, and is essential for good vision. Vitamin A is so important to your eyes that a deficiency (rare in developed countries) results in blindness.

  • Buff bones: In the United States, 40 million or more people have osteoporosis or are at high risk for low bone mass, according to the National Institutes of Health. Among several other things, a diet low in calcium and vitamin D will make you more prone to bone loss. This is something you can totally control by including calcium-rich foods in smoothies and getting lots of fresh air and sunlight for vitamin D. Dark green leafy vegetables, beans, tofu, sesame seeds, and sea vegetables contain lots of usable calcium. Dairy products have calcium with vitamin D added; yogurt, milk, eggs, and cheese are good sources of vitamin D.