You have read all about the benefits of juicing and have perhaps even bought your first juicer. Maybe you are thinking of starting your day with a healthy green smoothie to get a good dose of vitamins and minerals before you head to the office. But what should you actually use? Are there good and bad choices? What health benefits do some fruits or vegetables offer over others?
First things first: there really isn’t a bad choice. Even juicing the same fruit every day , is still healthier than most other things you might try. But there are some things that can legitimately be considered as ‘heavyweight’ juicing ingredients. They taste great but also offer a host of benefits that make them essential ingredients for so many juicing recipes. Here are three juicing superheroes:
Cranberries: A Nutritional Powerhouse
Just one small cupful of these little red berries can contain thousands of different antioxidants. Perhaps only blueberries offer more in this department. As a superfood, it is hard to do better. As well as this, they offer a good dose of vitamins C, B6 and K as well as salicylic acid. You also get a wide spectrum of minerals such as zinc, calcium and potassium-that is a lot of nutritional bang for your buck.
So what are the benefits of all this? Here are a just a couple of examples.
Preventing urinary tract issues: Cranberry juice is often suggested for anyone prone to these issues. The proanthocyanidins fight against bacteria in the kidneys to keep problems at bay.
Fight cancer Growth: whilst cranberries aren’t a cure for cancer, they can definitely be a weapon in slowing its spread because of the polyphenols it contains.
Anti-aging: Getting old means a battle against memory loss, degenerative disease and heart health issues. Cranberries are your ally in all of these situations. Studies have shown them to be effective in preventing cardiovascular disease because of the presence of flavonoids and the antioxidants fight against free radicals and the cellular damage they cause.
The Apple-An Unexpected Nutritional Hero
The common apple doesn’t get a lot of press for its superfood status, but it should. An apple a day really might keep the doctor away and if you juice them, the benefits are even more apparent. Not convinced? Try these for size:
Improved digestion: Our guts are under constant attack from the poor food choices we make. Things that are processed or full of chemicals are terrible for our digestive tract. Apples help the ‘good’ bacteria that work to keep these problems in check.
Fight Alzheimer’s disease: apples have been shown to be a useful weapon against the major degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This is due to the levels of polyphenols and the fact that they can cause an increase in the production of acetylcholine which can improve concentration levels.
Eyesight: apples have long been associated with good vision, almost certainly because of the high levels of flavonoids.
In addition to these benefits, apples are cheap and tasty. Getting a balance between the more expensive fruits that are going to be more difficult to find organically and more common choices like the apple makes sense.
One thing to bear in mind-not all apples are equal for juicing. Choose fresh, firm apples. Nor only will their nutritional profile be better, they will also be far easier to juice and produce far more. Softer apples can even get caught up in the mechanism of some machines.
Carrots: Seeing in The dark?
The third member of our juicing powerhouse trio is the carrot. A bit like our friend the apple, the carrot isn’t the sexiest fruit or vegetable out there but it really does have a lot going for it. It is present in any supermarket, often in its organic variety. It also won’t cost a fortune from a health food shop either. Surprisingly for many, carrots also produce a lot of juice because they have a high percentage of water.
They are packed full of vitamins and minerals, including a good amount of vitamin C. They are also used commonly in diets for all sorts of things from lowering blood pressure to improving your chances in dealing with cancer. The high levels of beta carotene are perfect for healthy skin too. Here are a couple of other advantages.
Improved vision: You might have thought that eating carrots to see better was just an old wive’s tale. Well, it turns out to be based in science. All that beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in the liver and is then further transformed in the retina into a pigment called rhapodsin which helps night vision.
Treating cuts and grazes: This is an interesting one. Carrots are actually great when put on cuts-they promote healing and reduce the chances of infection. If you cut yourself while slicing your fruit for that morning smoothie, remember to save a bit of carrot!
Cleansing the liver. If you are at all interested in doing a juicing cleanse, you better make sure that carrots are playing an important role. All that vitamin A is going to help break down fat in the liver and flush out toxins.
There are probably thousands of different things you could try to juice. It is a great idea to get as much variety as possible, both for health and for taste. However, there are a couple of things that are going to be regulars in your juicing armory and these three should be at the top of that particular list.