Ready, Set…Juice!

Let’s set the scene: It’s 3 p.m. and your eyelids begin to feel heavier than they did this morning before your cup of coffee.  You have plans to meet friends for dinner tonight, but you can’t imagine mustering the energy after a long day’s work. You reach for a can of soda, but feel completely drained once you arrive home.  Sound familiar? The truth is, soda and caffeine have the ability to energize for a few hours, but what to do when the inevitable crash comes? Juicing has become the latest trend in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and has been studied to sustain long-term energy better than caffeine. In fact, juicing has also been attributed to weight loss, fighting the effects of aging and healing various ailments from insomnia to IBS.  Intrigued?

The latest nutritional guidelines advocate that we consume at least 9-13 fruits and vegetables each day, while focusing on dark leafy greens and red/yellow vegetables and fruit.  But with work, home and social life obligations, who has the time? Juicing your fruits and vegetables is an effective way to fill in the gaps.  It provides the nutritional content in plants (like vitamins A, C D E, K and B complex, and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium) that’s concentrated and easy to digest.  With the right recipes, juicing can be a satiating and delicious addition to the day.

Juice is not only tasty and energizing, but it is also linked to preventing and healing a host of illnesses and ailments.  Cherie Calbom, M.S. provides a great list of insightful natural remedies to common ailments in her book, The Juice Lady’s Guide to Juicing for Health. Below are just a few natural remedies to consider:

Allergies: Alfalfa sprouts and parsley can reduce symptoms.

Asthma: Onion, parsley, ginger and radish have been studied to reduce mucus and asthma symptoms.

Canker Sores: Cabbage is linked to reducing mouth and stomach ulcers.

Colds/Flu: Apples, beetroot, garlic, gingerroot, grapefruit, lemon, parsley, wheatgrass, garlic, ginger and green tea have antiviral and symptom relieving properties.

Headaches: Cantaloupe, gingerroot, garlic, celery, parsley have been shown to reduce headaches.

High Blood Pressure: St. Bartholomew Hospital in London found that beetroot juice can lower blood pressure in just one hour.

Indigestion: Ginger, cabbage, fennel, lemon and papaya can relieve gas, improve digestion and heal heartburn.

Kidney Stones/High Sodium: Consuming citrus juice regularly can help prevent kidney stones and lower sodium.

Stress/Anxiety: Carrots, onions, beetroot, spinach, celery, avocados, celery, fennel, and parsley all have calming effects.

Weight Loss: Alfalfa, asparagus, dandelion, lemon and parsley can help detox the body and promote a healthy thyroid – both essential for weight loss.

Not sure where to begin? Blenders and simple juicers work fine, but to gain the greatest benefits from your produce, choose a juicer with high horsepower (.5 hp).  You’ll notice the investment pays off as you squeeze out more juice from your produce, and there are fewer parts to clean.  A few guidelines to remember while juicing are: wash all produce before juicing, remove the peels, pits, stones and hard seeds before running them through, juice the stems and leaves for added nutrients, and cut everything into chunks for easier processing.

Ready to get started? New York Times best-selling author and wellness warrior, Kris Carr recommends this green juice for a daily dose of health benefits:

Make Juice Not War Green Drink:

Makes 32 ounces

2 large cucumbers (peeled if not organic)

1 big fistful of kale

1 big fistful of sweet pea sprouts

4-5 stalks celery

1-2 broccoli stems

1 pear or green apple (optional)

1 inch ginger (or less)

*Other optional ingredients: romaine, parsley, spinach and dandelion.

Method: Blend or juice and drink immediately.  Reserve the additional juice in an airtight container.

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