SPARTANBURG — The juicing trend is on the rise (again), but is it worth all the hype?
There are multiple stories on the health-related benefits of juicing and it’s true that high concentrations of vitamins and minerals can be found in freshly made juice.
Since many of us have a hard time fitting the recommended amounts of fruits and veggies in our meals, juicing seems like an easy answer. Juicing can really make someone feel better if they are lacking vitamins, minerals, and other great nutrients.
However, there are two main downfalls to juicing: the removal of fiber and the increased sugar content.
1. Fiber does a lot more than affect our digestive regularity. It feeds the good bacteria living in the colon, leading to a number of benefits:
• Increased mineral absorption. Why would a country full of people that consumes so much milk and cheese have such a problem with osteoporosis? Perhaps because we’re not eating enough fiber! Calcium absorption is remarkably increased when adequate fiber is consumed, and it’s important to note that dairy foods do not contain any fiber. Instead try almonds, kale, broccoli, collard or mustard greens, navy beans, soybeans, chickpeas or dried figs – all great sources of both calcium and fiber.
• Decreasing the pH of the colon. A lower pH prevents harmful bacteria from sticking around.
• Increased blood flow. Nutrient-rich blood to the colon helps reduce inflammation. Prolonged inflammation can lead to or exacerbate everything from cancer to diverticulitis to inflammatory bowel disease.
Why not fiber-added juice then?
Many nutrients are actually bound to fiber. Removing the fiber means removing many of the nutrients we intended to consume in the first place. In juices with added fiber, most of the fiber doesn’t come from the original fruit or vegetables to begin with, so it won’t have the bound nutrients.
Polyphenols are an example of fiber-bound nutrients. They are involved in many bodily functions and help prevent cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders – true anti-inflammatory nutrients.
2. Increased sugar content. It takes an enormous amount of fruits and vegetables to create a glass of juice. For example, it takes between six to 10 whole oranges to make 1 cup of orange juice. You would never eat that many oranges at one time, so why should we drink that many? Now not only is the sugar content high, but juicing removes fiber, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes.
But is it all bad?
The increased sugar and elimination of fiber present a strong case against juicing, but it can serve a purpose during times of severe illness.
The high nutrient content from fresh juice is nothing that can’t be obtained by eating a healthy well-balanced diet. Our bodies were designed to break down our food by chewing, and we are equipped with all sorts of enzymes and functions that help release and absorb the nutrients from our food.
But if you prefer to drink your produce, stick with smoothies that include whole fruits and vegetables.