There are various factors to take into account when considering a juice cleanse.
The beneficial effects of consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables are plenty.
Fruits and vegetables are filled with various vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
Therefore, they can help to boost your immune system, manage your weight, improve your skin health, cleanse your digestive system and reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
A juice cleanse is going on a diet that substitutes solid food with fruit and vegetable juices for a couple of days.
Many of the touted benefits of such a programme stem from flooding your body with healthy nutrients and live enzymes from fresh fruits and vegetables, while allowing your system to take a break from the consistent bombardment of toxins that comes from an unhealthy diet filled with junk, processed and canned foods.
Nutritionists, while encouraging the consumption of fresh juices, warn against taking such practices to the extreme, and there are good reasons for it.
A typical diet should consist of all the essential nutrients. Every day, our body requires carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins and minerals to survive.
While there is nothing wrong with going on a juice cleanse/detox diet, one must take the daily nutrient requirements into consideration and seek to include a variety of ingredients that will help cover the need for all these nutrients.
Granted, some deficiencies, such as vitamin B12, are common to any vegetarian diet, and cannot be avoided during such programmes, but with careful planning and a knowledge of food nutrition, other nutrient deficiencies can be minimised while one enjoys the benefits of a detox juice diet.
Mixing and matching the right variety of raw ingredients plays a pivotal role in helping you make the most out of a juice cleanse, while preventing nutrient deficiencies.
Carbohydrates are our main source of energy. Most of the energy content of fruits and vegetables comes in the form of carbohydrates, hence you certainly won’t lack carbohydrates while on a juice diet.
Proteins are a nutrient required by the body for growth and maintenance. Including nuts will help boost the intake of protein.
Although commonly viewed as the culprit in weight gain, fats are still a daily dietary requirement as they play a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and hair, insulating the body organs against shock, maintaining body temperature and promoting healthy cell function.
A good juice diet should consist of nuts such as almond, cashew or pecan nuts, which are packed with healthy monounsaturated fat. These are the same fats found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease.
Vitamins and minerals
We know that fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals.
However, a juice cleanse that sticks to only one or two types of fruits or vegetables can barely meet your nutrient requirements and is a big no-no.
Variety is the key to minimising nutrient deficiencies as different fruits and vegetables have varying amounts of vitamins and minerals.
For example, citrus fruits such as oranges and pineapples are high in vitamin C. Cruciferous vegetables such as kale and broccoli have a high content of vitamins A, C and K.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach are a source of vitamins A, C and K, riboflavin, folate, magnesium and manganese.
Sodium and potassium, which are needed to maintain good electrolyte balance in the body, can be found in coconut water.
After all is said and done, another area to look into is the method of juice extraction, which will have an impact on nutrient retention.
There are cold-pressed juices using specially-designed hydraulic press machines (not those sold for household use), which exert up to 50 tonnes of pressure to allow natural sugars, vitamins, trace minerals, enzymes and other nutrients to be gently and completely extracted.
The result is a juice that has higher nutrients and better flavour.
Because the press does not force air or heat into the juice during pressing, the juice does not oxidise and decay as fast as with other methods of juice extraction.
As such, as long as it remains unopened, these juices can be kept inside the fridge for several days without any apparent loss of flavour, colour or vital nutrients, even though they do not contain any additives and preservatives.
> For more information on cold-pressed juices, visit www.lifestylejuicery.com.my.