Green Juice: Is it worth the excitement?

Jamaica Observer:  

Green juices have been a huge trend for the past few years. There are many juice shops and stalls selling pricey green healing elixirs, promising unbelievable results.

But are green juices really healthy? Is it worth the price? And how does one make their own, without it tasting like grass?

No worries.

This month’s nutritional dare for 12 Months 24 Dares is to drink a green juice or a green smoothie daily. As important as green smoothies are, we are going to focus on the awesome benefits of green juice and provide a simple, fresh, green juice recipe for beginner juicers.

What is green juice?

Green juices are made by extracting the fibre (or pulp) from fruits, vegetables and leafy greens in a juicer/blender so that you’re only left with a completely concentrated liquid drink. This drink is packed with enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

In one study done at Yonsei University, South Korea, 32 men were given less than a cup of green juice a day for three months to see whether or not green juice might improve cholesterol. The study found that the cholesterol was improved by 52 per cent.

Other studies show that greens are naturally alkalizing. This helps to regulate the pH balance in your body and supports cellular regeneration, improves mental sharpness and helps reduce disease — making you feel healthier than ever before.

So, are green juices healthy? Absolutely!

It is jam-packed with benefits and it is a great way to get in your recommended servings of fresh produce, especially if you have a hard time fitting in a lot of greens in your everyday diet.

Some benefits include:

Improved immune function: The vitamins and antioxidants found in green juices work together to improve your overall health. Not only do the antioxidants and vitamins detox your skin, they aid in removing toxins from your entire body.

Nutrients absorb quickly: Juicing fruits and vegetables strips the fibre and allows concentrated vitamins, minerals and enzymes to rapidly enter your bloodstream, which are quickly absorbed and give the digestive system a much-needed rest, and provide a well-needed energy boost.

Helps with weight loss: You can strategically include juicing in a weight-loss plan. Replacing just one meal per day with fresh juice is a good idea as green juice makes a high-nutrient, low-calorie snack. Be careful with the calorie intake — stick to low-calorie ingredients such as leafy greens, cucumbers, parsley, and celery.

The taste can be a bit terrifying at first but your taste buds eventually adjust, especially after experiencing the numerous benefits green juices offer!

As a beginner juicer, there are just two things to remember:

1. Initially, add fruits to your green juice recipes and eventually lower the amount, removing fruits over time.

2. 1-2-3: 1-type of fruit; (at least) 2 types of greens; 3-types of base.

1 – Type of fruit

The less fruit the better. The fruit helps to balance the flavour and adds some additional essential nutrients.

Small amounts of liquid-based fruits are always a go-to (pineapple, grapes, apple, melon etc).

2: Types of greens

Mix at least two different types of leafy greens. Get creative and mix and match your greens to figure out what you prefer.

3: Types of base

Add water, lime with your water-rich greens (celery, cucumber), as this cuts down the ‘bush taste’.

While your body may appreciate all the antioxidants and vitamins, it’s important to keep in mind that using a high-calorie base (like a sugary, pasteurised fruit juice from the supermarket), is a surplus of carbs and can throw a wrench in weight-loss plans.

I also usually add ginger and/or turmeric because I love layers of flavour!

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