Enhancing health with vegetable juices


  • Health
  • Sunday, 02 May 2004

By Rajen M

DO you enjoy the raw power of juices? How about a breakfast juice to sparkle your day? Regular juicing may be a way to good health as it is an important source of chlorophyll and phytonutrients (plant based nutrients) – these help as nutrients, antioxidants and aid internal cleansing.  

Vegetable juices and fruit juices are completely different. Fruit juices should be avoided as they have higher sugar content. Vegetable juice does not raise insulin levels. The only exception would be carrot or beet juice (and most underground vegetables) which function similarly to fruit juice. 

Vegetable juicing is a tool to obtain a higher level of vitality. All of us need raw foods every day, and this is an excellent technique to ensure you receive large quantities of them.  

Take it slow 

If juicing vegetables is new to you, it would be wise to start out slowly, perhaps only doing one or two ounces. Make sure that there is no nausea or belching. You can gradually increase to 12-16 or even up to 32 ounces per session.  

You only start by juicing vegetables that you enjoy eating non-juiced. If you liked cucumber, for example, then merely juice it. The juice should taste pleasant and not make you nauseous. Vegetable juice can also be balanced with some essential oils and a bit of spirulina ( explained in greater detail further in this article). 

It is very important “to listen to your body” when juicing. Your stomach should be very happy all morning long. If it is churning or growling or making you know it is there, you probably juiced something you should not be eating in the first place. 

Chew 

It will also be important to do some chewing when you juice. It takes very little effort to digest vegetable juice, but when you chew you will stimulate your pancreas to start the digestive process which will help you absorb more of the juice.  

You can chew on some of the vegetables that you are juicing. This can be done while you are juicing, which tends to make the entire process more efficient. Ideally it would be best to mix the vegetables in with the juice and consume it.  

One of the main values of juicing is that it “pre-digests” the food so you can absorb all the nutrients. There is some benefit to the fibre though, as it serves as food and fertiliser for the “good” bacteria in the colon. This does increase the time it takes to consume the juice, but it is probably healthier. One can gradually add the pulp back in over time to get used to it. If you add the entire pulp back in, the mixture becomes almost like a green vegetable porridge that needs to be eaten with a spoon. 

Storage 

Vegetables once juiced spoil easily. Ideally it would be best to drink all of your juice immediately. However, if you are careful you can store it for up to 24 hours in a refrigerator with only moderate nutritional decline.  

You can do this by putting the juice in a glass jar with an airtight lid and filling it to the very top. There should be minimal air in the jar as it is the oxygen in air (remember air has about 20% oxygen) that will “oxidise” and damage the juice.  

Wrap the jar with aluminium foil to block out all light, which will also damage the juice and then store it in the refrigerator until about 30 minutes prior to drinking as ideally the juice should be consumed at room temperature.  

Easy veggies 

I would recommend starting with the three vegetables that are easiest to tolerate: celery, fennel (anise) and cucumbers. Unfortunately these are not that beneficial compared to the more intense dark green vegetables. Once you get used to these though you can start adding the better but less palatable ones in. 

Green leafy vegetables are probably the best to juice. All green leafy vegetables work well. The easiest ones to include are lettuce and spinach. You can then put in some of the other similar green leafy vegetables such as cabbage and Bok Choy. Cabbage juice is one of the most healing juices for ulcer repair as it is a huge source of vitamins.  

Sugar 

Most people who juice usually use carrots because they taste so good. The reason they taste so good is that they are full of sugar. I would definitely advise limiting juicing all underground vegetables to decrease adverse insulin responses. 

If you are healthy it is likely you can add about one pound of carrots or beets per week. I do believe that the deep intense colours of these foods provide additional benefits for many that are just not available in the green vegetables listed above. 

Seeds and nuts 

The basic element that I would encourage everyone to consider would be to alternate between sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds. These are best put into the pulp after they have been freshly ground.  

You can also add nuts like cashews and almonds. They really enhance the taste as well. The seeds are full of protein and essential fatty acids that will wonderfully balance the juice. Vegetable juice does not have much protein or fat, so this is a wonderfully balancing food. 

I sometimes put in one to two cloves of garlic in my juice. It provides the incredible healing potential of fresh garlic. I would strongly advise you to regularly do this to balance out your bowel flora. The ideal dose is just below the social threshold where people start to notice that you have eaten garlic. One large clove, two medium cloves or three small cloves should not cause you to smell of garlic.  

Spirulina 

Spirulina is an incredibly powerful nutrient source from the sea. It is a form of algae. I use it quite a bit for mercury detoxification as it binds very strongly to mercury. However it is also: 

  •        A powerful source of chlorophyll and magnesium. 

  •        Adds protein to the juice.  

  •        Binds to other heavy metals and pesticides in the juice.  

    The normal dose is one teaspoon in the juice. However, about 30% of people cannot tolerate the spirulina, so if it makes you nauseous you should definitely avoid it. 

    I do believe that Dr Barry Sears of the Zone diet fame is on target with his recommendations for the percentage of food groups at one meal. The basic food groups are carbohydrates, fats and protein. Dr Sears recommends about 40% carbohydrates and 30% protein and 30% fat, and I believe that is a healthy goal. Vegetable juice has virtually no fat and does contain some protein, but not much. That is why it would be helpful to add some essential oils when you juice. 

    Essential oils 

    There are three basic food supplements you could use: Fish oil (EPA/DHA), which is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, phosphatidyl choline or lecithin (especially helpful after the age of 50 for brain health).  

    Blood purifying herbs 

    Blood purifying herbs like neem are an excellent addition to any juicing protocol. Neem seems to work by making your liver work better. When your liver works better, it will effectively cleanse the blood flowing through it. That is why it is called a blood purifier.  

  • Rajen M. is a pharmacist with a doctorate in holistic medicine. Write to him at starhealth@thestar.com.my The views expressed are those of the writer and readers are advised to always consult expert advice before undertaking any changes to their lifestyles. The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely that of the author’s. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information. 

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