Juice cleansing is becoming more popular. I often receive emails from people wondering what a juice cleanse is. Others have received misinformation about the process of juicing. Our culture focuses on sickly sweet processed “juices.” Next time you are in the grocery store, look at the ingredient labels of processed juice. You will be surprised to see how little fruit or vegetables are actually in processed juice — with the exception of high fructose corn syrup! These juices are mostly water, artificial flavorings, colorings and sugars. Yuck!
Juice cleansing involves consuming only fresh, raw, leafy greens, vegetables, herbs and some fruits in the form of a freshly prepared juice for a predetermined amount of time, generally for three to 10 days. Participants ingest all of their calories each day by drinking at least 4 quarts, or 128 ounces, of fresh juice each day. By drinking such a high volume of juice, participants ensure that they are consuming a nutrient-dense liquid that provides the body with all of things that it will need for the day and even nutrients required to heal itself. By consuming only the juice of the produce, the fiber is eliminated, allowing the intestines to have a break from digestion, and this allows the intestines to focus on absorption of nutrients. Juicing helps the body to balance the pH of its fluids.
Many Americans have eaten a diet high in processed foods, animal products and sugars. These are all acid-forming foods. Green juices tend to be more alkaline in nature, balancing our body’s acids and bases. Juicing also helps the body to prevent acidosis, which is the cause to many disease processes, such as heart disease and cancer. Juices consumed should be at least 80-percent green to ensure an alkaline balance.
Juice cleansing allows toxins to be purged from the body in a more gentle method than fasting. The body is not being deprived of nutrients, rather it is being supplied by nutrients that are better able to be absorbed and utilized by the intestines. By allowing for a slow detoxification process, many participants note an emotional detoxification as well. Below is a brief description of fruits and vegetables that can be combined for juicing.
Vegetables: Green-yellow-orange vegetables are sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, vitamin B-complex, vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin K.
Dark, leafy greens: Greens such as kale and spinach contain calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K.
Cruciferous vegetables: These vegetables are members of the cabbage family and include broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage. An October 1996 article published by the ADA stated that 70 percent of studies reviewed showed a correlation between increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables and protection against cancer.
Root vegetables: Some examples of root vegetables are carrots, beets, sweet potatoes or yams, radish, parsnips, ginger and onions. These vegetables add a nice sweetness to juices, in addition to adding a variety of flavors. Be mindful of adding onion; it is best paired with tomato.
Fruit: Fruits provide vitamins and antioxidants, in addition to sweetness, to juices.
Blue fruits: Fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, black grapes, mulberries, acai berries and choke-cherries contain a polyphenolic compound called anthocyanins. This flavonoid offers potent antioxidant properties..