Why is it that we get taken in by the next big thing, even if it isn’t that big really? Perhaps it’s because we’re all on the lookout for something that’s going to change our lives for the better. Making our own juice has been huge for a while, but is it good for us and what are the juicing pros and cons?
The rise in home juicing over the past few years has been phenomenal and has more or less created a whole new industry around it. Back in the day a food processor or a blender were good enough. Some people even used a manual press, but now it’s all changed, if you want to extract juice now, you need a juicer!
Yes, you must have a juicer, but not any old juicer, you have to have the right type! And there’s you thinking, isn’t a juicer just a plain ole juicer? Oh no, tut tut, fancy thinking that. You have to decide whether you want a masticating juicer or a centrifugal juicer, there are other types, but these are the most common. For more on this take a look at our article on masticating juicers vs centrifugal juicers.
It’s easy to just buy your juice and a lot of people do. According to statistics.com, the USA juice and smoothie market in 2013 was valued at 23 billion dollars. That’s a lot of people buying juice!
In many ways buying it is safer because it gets treated to make sure it doesn’t make you ill. The most common form of treatment is to pasteurize it, which kills off all harmful bacteria.
If juice isn’t treated, the bacteria might cause outbreaks of “foodborne illness” according to the Food and Drugs Administration document: Talking About Juice Safety: What You Need to Know. Interestingly, juice bought from a store which is packaged on site and isn’t pasteurized, has to be labelled to say so, but if sold by the glass, it doesn’t need labelling.
So yes, it’s probably a little bit safer to buy your juice from a store, but that doesn’t make it completely risk free and it’s not so much fun either! There can be side effects of juicing at home, but if you’re careful (and clean) you should be alright.
Juicing Pros and Cons for Your Health
There are different reasons for people getting into juicing. For some it might be juicing for energy and weight loss, for others a 3 day juice cleanse, or it could be that you just enjoy making your own.
For juicing pros and cons it’s important to realise that drinking juice isn’t better than eating fruits or vegetables. Some people that dislike fruit and veg, may find it better to take them as a drink because it goes down easier.
Fruit and vegetables contain fiber, which is very important to our health. Unfortunately, by making them into juice, most of the fiber is removed. This might make it easier to digest and absorb nutrients, but the fiber is one of the main reasons both fruit and veg are good for us. This fiber helps to clean our digestive tract to get rid of toxins.
The absorption of sugar into the blood is slowed down by fiber which helps to avoid sugar spikes which juice is known for. Getting rid of fiber from your diet will most likely have a negative effect on your diet over time. It’s probably best to balance eating and drinking fruit and veg so one doesn’t replace the other.
Your sugar intake will go up if you juice with fruits. They have quite high sugar content anyway, but whereas you might eat one orange, you’d probably have four or five of them in a drink. This makes it inevitable that you’ll be taking more sugar into your system.
There are plenty of guides on how to start juicing for weight loss and although some of these plans can work, in some cases you might actually gain weight. If you’re increasing calorie intake by drinking juice, you’ll probably need to cut down on them elsewhere in your meals.
Another thing to remember is that sugar can cause tooth decay, but the acid in fruit can also cause this as it attacks the teeth. As the acid slowly dissolves away the enamel from the teeth, they can then become sensitive and decay. The more acidic fruits are worse at causing this problem. Moderation is the answer.
It’s thought there can be some long term benefits from juicing. According to a 2006 study into drinking juice and how it might affect the chances of developing Alzheimer’s, it found a lower risk to those drinking three servings a week compared to those drinking just one serving.
Drinking fresh juice can be very tasty, especially when you mix the right ingredients. You’re in control, rather than having to rely on a manufacturer’s choice. There is also the argument that with juice, the nutrients are concentrated into the drink and the waste is left out (that doesn’t include the fiber of course).
In the UK, doctors have, for a long time, advised that a mix of at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily will go a long way towards keeping you healthy. Some now think that you need 7 or 8 portions a day and while possible, it can be difficult to get them all in! This is where juice can help as it’s a convenient way of increasing the amount of portions without having to eat more.
When you buy fresh fruit and vegetables, more often than not, you find not all of them get used right away and some even get over ripe. When they get to this stage you might not want to eat them, but rather than throw them away, why not use them for juicing? It’s a great way to cut down on waste. As fruit ripens, its flavor gets stronger which is perfect for juice as it makes it tastier.
The most healthy juices are probably those which are made from green vegetables as they’re packed with nutrients. They also produce chlorophyll which will help to oxygenate and cleanse your body. It can give you a boost and is good for blood circulation.
Green vegetables have very little sugar content so are better than sweet veg or fruit. If you mostly juice green veg and use the sweeter ones and fruit less often, perhaps as a treat, it’s a good way to avoid too much sugar intake.
Make it Fun and Experiment
The fun part is coming up with your own concoctions, you never know, you might end up discovering a fantastic combination that gives an incredible taste. There are plenty of recipe books available, but experimenting yourself with a twist of lemon here or a little spice there, is what will make juicing a new adventure for you.
There are juicing pros and cons, but the cons shouldn’t be a problem by being aware of them and keeping a healthy balance. It can be a new journey to juice up your life!