Monday, August 5, 2013

Juicing the Right Way

As part of a balanced diet, juicing can pose incredible health benefits. For starters, 95% of vitamins and enzymes our bodies need are found in the juice of raw fruits and vegetables. Juicing not only strengthens the immune system, but facilitates weight loss, increases energy levels, and reduces the risk of heart disease. Many people who incorporate juicing into their diet also report healthier, more radiant skin! But is there a right or a wrong way to juice? How do you ensure you achieve optimal results from juicing?

According to Becky Hand, a licensed and registered Dietitian from Spark People, if you want to have success with juicing, practice the following tips:

1. Turn Yucky into Yummy. 
Are you someone who prefers not to eat certain fruits or vegetables due to texture and taste? Juicing, according to Becky, can be a way to incorporate produce that you might not normally eat. "Beets, kale and spinach tend to be less noticeable when combined with the flavors of fruits and berries." She suggests experimenting with different flavors and produce to achieve a recipe that you will enjoy! 

2. Don't Pitch the Pulp
Don't let the nutrients found in pulp go to waste! Do you know you can add it to soups, stews, grain and rice dishes, pasta sauces and muffins? Don't be afraid to get a little creative in the kitchen! 

3. Try a Juicy Smoothie
This is a wonderful idea for those who are trying to achieve a well balanced meal. Try incorporating your juice with yogurt (as a source of protein) or nut butter or avocado (as a source of healthy fats).

4. The Five-a-Day Challenge: 
If you are struggling to get at least 5-servings-a-day of fruits and veggies, juicing can certainly help you get there! Becky advises that you make sure you are incorporating enough whole fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes and lentils to meet your 25 grams of fiber as well!

5. Rotate and Renew: 
No need to stick to the same recipe. Switch it up time to time and explore the many options available at your local farmers market. Some fruits and veggies are at their peak during a particular season! 

6. Boost Flavor: 
Becky suggests using herbs, such as basil, and spices such as ginger or cayenne, to add flavor to your juice blends and smoothies. 

7. Remember Food Safety:
Before you even get out the juicer, make sure you thoroughly wash your hands and produce. To ensure that your juicer is clean, make sure you follow the manufacturers directions.  Typically, you want to wash your juicer with hot, soapy water. 

8. Drink Now, Not Later! 
According to Becky, "Freshly made juices and smoothies are highly perishable since no preservatives or pasteurization is used." She advises to drink or freeze your mixture shortly after juicing or blending. 

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