the benefits of juicing? Depends how you want to look at it.
The epitome of healthy food is a wide variety of whole, raw, ripe,
organic fruits and vegetables. Nothing you can do in terms of
processing or supplementing will improve on these foods in any way.
Juice can can be organic, from ripe food, and raw, but it's certainly
not whole and so falls short of the ideal. While juice may not be
everything whole foods are, it does have some uses and is a pleasure to
consume, and it's possible to integrate it into a healthy diet.
The Benefits of Juicing: Why Are Whole Foods So
When you juice a food, you remove the fiber, which plays a larger role
in how the body digests food than most people realize.
The standard American diet, or standard western diet, is notoriously
low in fiber, which causes all manner of problems. Nutrition experts
and government bodies have been harping for years that people need to
eat more fiber from whole foods in order to prevent a wide variety of
diseases and ensure proper function of the body. Science has found that
lipoprotein action, antioxidant defenses and colon function all work
better when people consume lots of fiber-rich foods (1).
What happens when, in the case of juicing fruits and vegetables, you
remove the fiber, which is present in the form of juice vesicles (pulp)?
One of fiber's main roles is to moderate the uptake of sugar into your
system, and without it you get a surge of rising blood sugar instead of
the steady and long-lasting rise you find from whole fruits and
With about 12 percent of the US population now suffering from diabetes,
and with incidence expected to double in the coming decades, the last
thing people need is spikes in bloog sugar.
A wide variety of gastrointestinal disorders and problems have also
been linked to lack
of fiber, including constipation, inflammatory bowel disease,
ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and
colon cancer (3).
The Benefits of Juicing: But What If I Want More Of A
Certain Vitamin Or Mineral?
First off, we are bad judges of what the body needs. The body knows
what it needs, and when we consume a wide range of whole plant foods
the body will take what it needs from that supply.
Sure, juicing can allow us to consume a greater quantity of nutrient
than we would be able to do if we had to eat the produce, constrained
as we are by the size of our stomach.
Say, for instance, that you thought you were deficient in beta carotene
and that your health would be improved by taking in more of it. You
could decide to eat whole carrots every day, but it's unlikely that
you'd eat an entire pound a day because your stomach only has so much
capacity. But it's quite easy to juice a pound of carrots and drink the
juice, drastically increasing your intake of beta carotene
One of the side effects of this might be that you skin will turn
orange, a condition called Carotenemia brought on by too much beta
carotene in the diet. Alternatively, you can take a supplement pill for
beta carotene in isolation, but science has shown that causes
Science hasn't even identified the majority of nutrients found in food,
yet some insist on thinking they can pick out one or a few to
concentrate on and it will heal them. Nutrients work together in a
complex, interconnected web that defies easy explanation. It's best to
just eat a wide mix of whole foods.
The Benefits of Juicing: But Haven't People Healed
Themselves On Juices?
If I don't write this next section, I know plenty of people will tell
me they know of someone who healed a disease or disorder by drinking
lots of juice or only juice. So doesn't that prove that juices heal?
No. Juices cannot heal the body any more than whole foods
can. Food, or anything else, does not heal. Only the body can heal
itself. Sustenance of any kind is beneficial to healing only in the
sense of its ease of digestion and how many toxins it brings into your
system. Raw fruits and vegetables are best because they are the easiest
to digest and bring in the least toxins, especially compared to cooked
grains, meats, etc.
When people go on a fast they are taking in no sustenance except water,
yet their rate of healing skyrockets. They heal from disorders that
have plagued them for years.
They heal because their body is able to shut down their digestive
system (because it wasn't being used) and use all of that freed-up
energy for healing.
You might argue that juices are a bit easier to digest than whole
fruits and vegetables, but fruit exits the stomach extremely quickly,
and the quick exit of juice is at the cost of spikes in blood sugar.
People have healed of diseases when eating the worst a standard
American diet has to offer. They've healed on vegetarian diets, vegan
diets, and every other kind of diet.
The body will vector toward health when you give it the chance.
Whenever you stop causing what is making you sick, and give yourself
enough rest to allow the healing to take place, you will get well. So
yes, if you were eating McDonalds every day and then switched to only
juices, you're very likely to heal because you've given up what was
harming you. You can't really juice cheese or a pop tart, after all.
People that only drink juices are eating only plant foods, which likely
much better than what they were eating.
But you'd be just as likely to heal on whole foods, and it just doesn't
make sense that refining a food will make it more health-giving.
The Benefits of Juicing: Juice vs Colitis
Prior to going raw I suffered from
a lot of health problems. The most devastating was colitis, a
painful and sometimes embarrassing disorder that left me swinging
between extremes of long-term constipation and the uncontrollable bowel
movements, among other problems.
Luckily, I was able to heal myself by sticking to simple fruits,
specifically easy-to-digest bananas. Some people with the condition are
in worse straights than I was, though, and even bananas are too much
for them. Juices, being entirely liquid, can offer them a lifeline of
healing which will allow their intestines to heal. Although a full
water-only fast is probably more straightforward way toward healing,
juice is one option.
After healing with juices, colitis suffers can switch to whole fruits
and other vegetables. A number of other gastrointestinal
disorders can similarly benefit from juices.
The Benefits of Juicing: Everyday Use
Regardless of whether or not you include the fiber, fruit
and vegetable juice still offers a wide variety of vitamins and
minerals, and other nutrients, not to mention great taste, and there's
no reason why it can't be occasionally included in your diet, so long
as the majority of your calories comes from whole fruits and vegetables.
Don't fool yourself into believing that juice is better than whole
foods, or even just as good. It's an inferior processed food, but still
a reasonably healthy one.
I've recently been introduced to nice thick papaya juice, which I'm a
fan of, and fresh-squeezed orange juice is always great. From time to
time I like a good juice drink.
Want something healthier? Although blended food is
technically processed and has been oxidized, it still retains is fiber
and is arguably almost as good as a unprocessed meal.
Some fruits, such as watermelon, can be blended with their fiber intact
and still have the pulpless consistency of juice. I highly suggest you
give it a shot.
1) Bruce, B; Spiller, GA; Klevay,
LM; Gallagher, SK (2000). "A diet high in whole and unrefined foods
favorably alters lipids, antioxidant defenses, and colon function".
Journal of the American College of Nutrition 19 (1): 61–7. PMID
10682877. 2) Weickert MO,
Pfeiffer AF (2008). "Metabolic effects of dietary fiber consumption and
prevention of diabetes". J Nutr 138 (3): 439–42. PMID 18287346. 3) Tungland BC,
Meyer D, Nondigestible oligo- and polysaccharides (dietary fiber):
their physiology and role in human health and food, Comp Rev Food Sci
Food Safety, 3:73-92, 2002
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