by Cheshire Que, RND, RN, RD
My late grandfather had colon cancer and his passing away was a wake-up call to me and my brother. I eat my fruits and veggies everyday. If these are unavailable, I take my supplements to make sure that I meet my daily vitamins, minerals and fiber requirements. My only brother, on the other hand, prefers to drink his veggies. Years ago, I used to watch him as he drank his canned vegetable juice over dinner. It looked disgusting so I asked him: “How does it taste like?” He replied: “Tastes like spaghetti sauce. It’s good!” I thought, yuck!
Is juicing healthy and beneficial? Yes and No
According to Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D., a Mayo Clinic nutritionist, there’s no sound scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating the fruit or vegetable itself.
Juicing can easily make your body absorb nutrients but it lacks fiber. Some juices contain more calories from added sugar and flavoring which could add to weight gain. Fruit juice has a higher glycemic index compared to a whole fruit. It rapidly increases your blood sugar level which could be a problem for people with Diabetes.
Recently, juice fasting has been gaining much popularity. People try it for many reasons: detox, weight loss, antioxidants and so on. Last week, fitness coach Teem Partosa of SkyFitness Makati asked me: “My client wants to go on a juice fast. Can we still have the same workout program?” A juice fast can take from one to seven days. It is low caloric and does not contain much protein which is also needed to be replenished right after a workout. The amount of energy intake and output as well as medical condition should be carefully considered under the supervision of a health professional before undergoing juice fast and exercising to prevent any health problems. Weight loss after a juice fast will not be sustainable unless succeeded by a lifestyle change which includes proper food intake, increased physical activity and behavior modification. Prolonged juice fasting can also cause nutrient deficiencies.
Juicing can’t be all that bad. There are some practical reasons and health benefits we can get from it. If you don’t like eating fruits and vegetables, juicing can be a part of a healthy diet. Mixing a fresh apple and carrot with a teaspoon of honey over some ice cubes can do the trick and make you appreciate fresh produce more.
Retain the pulp – Use a blender instead of a juicer to get the health benefits of pulp or fiber from your fruits and vegetables.
Choose 100% – If you prefer to buy commercial juice products, choose 100% fruit and vegetable juices. It has no added sugars. Best options would be the ones with pulp and fortified with vitamins and minerals. Remember to read nutrition label, sodium content and practice portion control to avoid excessive intake.
Be Safe – To prevent bacterial growth and food poisoning, properly wash hands and use clean utensils in preparing your juices. Only prepare the amount of serving you can consume at one time to ensure freshness. Store at low temperature and consume right after or within a few hours.
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