Friday, April 22, 2011

The Scoop on Healthy Living: Juicing

Quick take: Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Juicing is one way to accomplish this!

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health completed a study on America's eating habits from 1988 to 2002. They found that less than a third of American adults consume the USDA recommended serving amounts of fruits and vegetables per day.  In fact, a forth of the participants in this study reported they do not eat ANY fruits or vegetables at all. Maybe you are part of that third that does eat their fruits and veggies or maybe you are looking for a way to incorporate more of them into your diet. Either way, I can't stress enough how important this food group is.

First of all, how many servings should you have? The USDA provides a Fruit & Vegetable Calculator to help you determine the minimum amount of servings you should consume a day based on your age and activity level. For a 20 year old female who is active 30 to 60 minutes per day, they recommend 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables. Click here to see what constitutes as a cup. Remember, this is the minimum needed to maintain a healthy diet, which is why you may see other nutritional resources recommending more servings.

Juicing is a fast and easy way to get the much needed nutrients that our bodies crave. Juicing is also a great way to increase the amounts of raw food in your diet. Raw fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, enzymes, minerals, vitamins and other great nutrients.  Do you hate the taste of raw vegetables? Juicing fruits and vegetables together is a great way to enjoy your vegetables because the sweetness of the fruits often cover the bitterness found in your darker greens. One thing to keep in mind is that the process of juicing pretty much removes any fiber content from the fruits and vegetables you juiced, since it remains in the pulp.  The great thing about pulp is that it can be added to a soup or if you're adventurous, it can be used in various recipes. If you'd rather not eat the pulp, you could also use it to make compost or throw it out.  This site  has some fun ideas and resources for juice pulp.

Juicers: how to pick the best one. Personally, I started off with a pretty cheap juicer when I first began juicing. It was a $50 model by Waring Pro that I got off of Amazon.

If I had done research on Juicers before buying this juicer, I would have saved for a nicer one.  This juicer works fine for a beginner, and since I didn't know any better, I used it pretty religiously everyday for about two months.  Unfortunately, this little guy takes a lot of effort to clean.  There is no pulp extractor, which means the entire bucket on the top half of the device is covered in pulp once you go to clean it.  Some of you may not mind this, if you have a good garbage disposal.  If you don't however, it is pretty difficult to clean. When I grew tired of cleaning it, I stopped juicing.

Now I have the Omega Big Mouth Juicer 330, and I will do a review on it once I've had it for a while.  The bottom line is, if you really want to incorporate juicing into your life, you don't want to skimp on the juicer.  This doesn't mean you need to get a $600 Breville or Omega juicer.  It really is up to you.  For me, a quick juicer that  requires little prep and is easy to clean is what I need to consistently juice. If you're looking for recommendations on a great juicer Best Juicer Extractor Reviews is one of many great resources. RawFoods and other Youtube users allow you to see them in action and taken apart as well.

Takeaway: Eat around 5 cups of fruits of vegetables per day! If you're going to invest in a juicer, buy one that you will love to use, or you won't use it.

Eating or drinking more fruits and veggies is the first step towards a healthier you! Thanks for reading, and feel free to ask any questions. Of course, you'll want to consume these as part of a balanced diet. If you're not sure what that means for you, the USDA released new Dietary Guidelines for Americans this past January.

1 comment:

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