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What is the best type of juice to drink?

Many of us have heard that juicing is good for our health. While that is true, some juices are better than others, and there are those that perhaps we should avoid altogether.


In my book Eat Your Way to Wellness I have a chapter on beverages where I discuss juice in detail but also water, coffee, alcohol, and energy drinks. Get a copy of my book or review that chapter if you already have it.

Juice is a common drink produced by extracting the liquid from fruits and vegetables. While juice can be a healthy drink, it can have varied impacts on your health based on factors such as what the juice is made from, how it’s extracted, and how it’s prepared. Here are a few essential things about juice that I have extracted from my book:


1.     Be cautious with fruit juice.


When fruit is made into juice, the pulp and fibre are often removed. The fibre and pulp naturally regulate how the sugar in the fruit enters the blood. When these are removed in the process of making juice, the sugar in the fruit will enter the blood more rapidly than when you eat the whole fruit.

This can lead to changes in your body, including increased storage of fat on the body, in your belly, as well as lead to other problems like diabetes as detailed in Chapter 9 of my book.


Although most healthy people can tolerate fresh fruit juice relatively well, people with diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, or problems with weight are better off eating fruit whole. Eat whole fruit rather than making fruit juice whenever possible, and drink plain filtered water separately instead.


2.     Vegetable juices are best.


Because non-starchy vegetables - what most people call vegetables - are much lower in sugar or calories, vegetable juices are better than fruit juices as they don’t affect blood sugar negatively. They also contain many beneficial antioxidants and micronutrients that detoxify the body, reduce inflammation, and lower cancer risk. This makes vegetables a much better juice than fruit juices.


Making juice primarily from vegetables is also a great way to consume uncooked vegetables you ordinarily wouldn’t likely eat raw.


However, be cautious with vegetables containing more starch, such as beetroot, especially if you have any condition that requires good blood sugar control.


Adding small amounts of fruit to vegetable juices is acceptable to enhance the flavour—a good ratio of vegetables to fruit is 3:1 or 4:1. Adding herbs, spices, and seeds can make juices even more beneficial. These are nutrition powerhouses.


3.     Don’t go overboard with juice-only diets.


Some people tend to go for extensive periods on juice-only diets. Although these are great for promoting health, enhancing detoxification, and losing weight, it is essential not to overdo it, and use them only for short periods.


Over long periods, if you fail to get a good balance of other food types, they could have undesirable effects, especially in regard to the lack of other nutrients. Always ensure your body is healthy enough if you’re considering an extended juice diet. Consult a doctor who’s well-informed about nutrition before trying one.


4.     The appliance you use to make juice matters.


When making juice, the device you use can affect the impact of the juice on your body. If you use a juicer that separates the juice from the rest of the plant, although the juice is often nutritious due to its very high nutrient content, you’re likely to lose beneficial fibre. This could lead to blood sugar spikes, especially if you use a high-calorie food (like fruit) to make the juice.


A blender or high-powered nutrient extractor on the other hand produces a drink that retains all the fibre, pulp, and most of the original ingredients. Such devices also use the stem and the skin, which often have the highest levels of beneficial nutrients that would otherwise be thrown away and go to waste. They offer an additional blast of nutrition that we cannot obtain when using juicers or may leave out during cooking.


Using a good blender can help to break down most foods into their most digestible form before we consume them. In my opinion, devices that use the whole food make better juices because the entire food is in the juice you drink. They are also so much more filling and are great for weight loss or juice fasts. The choice of the appliance is up to you, but keep in mind the difference and the likely impact on your body.


When you do use a blender, avoid sieving as you make juice, as this removes lots of useful pulp and fibre. And for whatever type of juice you make, avoid adding extra sugar. Sieving and adding sugar are two common practices that make the juice more likely to affect your blood sugar negatively.


So, in summary, juice can be a healthy drink, but we need to keep in mind what we are making the juice from and how we are making it.


As mentioned above, I think fruits are best eaten whole, and when they are used to make juice, every edible part of the whole fruit should be used in the juice preparation. Vegetable juices on the other hand are really good and we should all try to consume them daily. Drinking vegetable juices will really improve your health.


Here are some suggestions to help you get more vegetable juices in your diet;


1.     Get a good high-power blender like a Nutribullet or a good juicer if you do not want the pulp from the juice. If you need one, contact our office at +256 701 450450 or +256 761 000450.

2.     Keep the recipes simple so you don’t feel overwhelmed thinking about making a vegetable juice/smoothie.

3.     Use ingredients you like (or that you do not dislike). Drinking juices you detest can make you dislike drinking these juices.

4.     If you have help at home, get them to prepare the ingredients and store them so that all you have to do is throw them in the blender and make the juice. You can also do this yourself when you have some time. Prepping makes it easier to drink more juices. You can also carry these pre-prepared ingredients to the office and make your own juice at break time.


As I conclude this, make a goal to try and drink one vegetable juice/smoothie a day. 500mls or two glasses is a good target.


Regular consumption of vegetable smoothies will help you get healthier as we prepare for the festive season, where many of us tend to relax and indulge in less healthy foods.

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