Juicing is a fantastic way to increase our intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, and the more natural plant food we eat, the more vitamins and minerals we bring into our bodies. But the thing that has really given juicing its momentum is that many of us are waking up to the benefits of helping our bodies maintain a slightly alkaline diet.
Eating an alkaline diet is important because our blood pH level needs to stay between 7.35 and 7.45, which is slightly alkaline. It takes work for our bodies to stay balanced within this small window, and the more acidic our diet, the more we work against our body’s efforts. While the stomach should contain plenty of acid in order to do its job effectively, a slightly alkaline environment allows the body’s metabolic, enzymatic, immunologic and repair mechanisms to function at their best. When the pH of our bodily fluids, digestive system and tissues is pushed out its neutral zone, health problems and a general sluggishness results.
Excess body acidity is prevalent today because poor diet, insufficient exercise, over-exercising and chronic stress can lead to excess acid in our internal environment. When our body becomes acidic, minerals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium may be stolen from our vital organs and bones to combat or buffer the acid. Excess acid can also interfere with our hormones. For example, in an acidic environment, as much as twice the amount of estrogen may be needed to exert its effects in the body. Unfortunately tumours thrive on estrogen.
Another reason that juicing is a great way to increase vitality and health and decrease disease is that it is a great way to get in more greens. Now you will know that we need oxygen to survive. I also trust that you know oxygen is not found in animal or processed foods, but it is found abundantly by way of chlorophyll in green plant foods. In fact, it is chemically related to blood – the only difference being that the main atom is hemoglobin (blood’s oxygen transporter) is iron, while in chlorophyll it’s magnesium. Chlorophyll contains a powerful blood builder that is said to increase red blood cells, improve circulation, ease inflammation (which we know promotes angiogenesis or cancer cell growth), oxygenates the body and counteracts free radicals. So by feasting on raw fruits, veggies and dark green leafy foods we fill our bodies with liquid oxygen, the single most important element keeping us alive.
By choosing to be conscious of increasing your intake of alkaline foods and decreasing your intake of acidic foods you can say good-bye to low energy, poor digestion, extra weight, aches and pains, and disease. Instead juicing can help you start every day with foods that explode your energy levels and make you feel vital with renewed vigor and mental clarity.
Here are some great guidelines to consider following with your juicing – (all taken from http://www.oncologynutrition.org)
- Focus on vegetables. For the healthiest oxygen-rich juices, include more green vegetables than fruits. Include one fruit to sweeten up your mixture, but make the other ingredients vegetables—they have fewer calories, so make for a healthier drink over all. For example, juice one carrot, a chunk of cucumber, a small beet, a piece of ginger, and a small apple.
- Drink what you’d eat. Juice packs a lot of nutrition—and calories—in a smaller volume than whole food. For example, you need four to six large carrots to yield eight ounces of carrot juice. Most people wouldn’t eat this many carrots in a sitting. Stick to juicing small quantities to avoid excess calories, which can contribute to weight gain
- Go Pro(tein). Have your juice with a serving of protein, and a little bit of fat. Protein balances out the carbohydrates in the juice, and fat helps your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients from the juice. For example, if you juice thing in the morning, enjoy it with some hemp protein mixed in and a handful of nuts. Our omega oil or coconut oil can also be added direct to your juice. Or have your juice with a poached egg.
- Embrace variety. Get creative with your juicing to avoid overdoing it on just a few specific nutrients. By mixing it up, you get the greatest variety of nutrients possible. You can even juice items you might throw away, such as broccoli stems.
- Count crucifers. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, kale, chard, bok choy, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, watercress, collard and mustard greens, turnips, radish, daikon root, and arugula. These foods help support our body’s ability to detoxify, but even healthful foods can be bad for health if eaten in excess. Having one to two serving of cruciferous vegetables per day is associated with decreased risk of several types of cancer and no adverse effects.
- Embrace variety, again! In the same way that you get different nutrients from different foods, you absorb different nutrients from the same food, when it is prepared differently. What you absorb from a cooked carrot is different from what you absorb from a raw carrot, which is different from the nutrients you absorb from carrot juice. Don’t rely on juicing for all of your servings of any one particular food, or you miss out on vital nutrition.
Finally, we recommend that you read our article on how to chose a juicer if you are new to juicing. Here is a sneak peak: