Juices: the health benefits of making your own

Juices are a great way to add fruits and vegetables to your and your family’s diet to provide healthy nutrients that can help fight disease. Since fresh juices are made from raw fruits and vegetables, all components remain intact, so they contain more nutrients than when cooked. Recent research has shown that a diet that includes regular citrus juice can help prevent strokes, while the abundant phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables help prevent cancer.

Fresh fruit and vegetable juices can be enjoyed by young and old and are ideal for people with little appetites and there are always plenty of recipes to please the whole family.

It is believed that there is a good variety of different fruit and vegetable juices: at least 2 glasses a day are recommended to maintain health and more to speed recovery after illness. With calorie controlled or diabetic diets, vegetable juices are preferred as they are lower in sugar. The juice contains all the fruits and vegetables, except for the fiber, which retains all its goodness. Vitamin C and other water-soluble vitamins are easily damaged by cooking, so the juice allows them to be easily digested and absorbed.

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid cannot be manufactured by the body, so it must be acquired through the diet. It is essential for collagen formation, body growth, tissue repair, and wound healing. Protects against infections and helps the body absorb iron. Smokers and people who drink a lot of alcohol have trouble absorbing vitamin C. Antioxidants are abundant in fruits and vegetables and destroy harmful substances called free radicals that build up in the body.

Good sources of vitamin C are strawberries, oranges, melons, mango, kiwi, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, sprouts, bananas, blackberries, and grapefruits.

Ideally, all juices should be homemade, as store-bought products may contain additives, sugar, and preservatives. They are usually heat treated to extend the useful life, so avoid those that are not kept in the cold closet. This heat treatment can destroy the nutrients reducing their health benefits.

Even when making them fresh with your own juice machine, it is recommended that you drink them right away, as the nutrients are also lost when the juice is allowed to sit for a long time.

There are some guidelines to follow to increase the benefits of juicing:

  • buy organic produce whenever possible
  • Wash the products well
  • The rind can be left aside from the bitter or inedible rind, such as pineapple.
  • Take out the seeds, especially the apple seeds, as they contain small toxic traces
  • Eliminate carrot and rhubarb leaves, as they are toxic
  • Eliminate potato eyes and green dyes as toxic
  • Puree soft fruits like papayas, bananas, and raspberries in a blender and then add them to the juices.
  • Use a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Vegetable juices can include beets, carrots, kale, turnips, spinach, and watercress and can be absolutely delicious. Garlic can be added to improve the taste. A great cleansing juice is watermelon with the skin intact. Otherwise, the ideal is to use local fruit in season to give variety. In summer they can be mixed with ice to make frozen fruit drinks and yogurt and milk can be added to make smoothies and increase calcium intake in children.

There are many juice recipes available today and it is a great way to improve your health and provide your family with all the nutrients they need. If your child doesn’t like one type of juice, there are always many more. It’s a great way to eat leftover fruits and vegetables and to use seasonal produce.

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