Juicing, or making your own fresh juices and smoothies at home, is the latest craze for health-conscious consumers. The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends three to five servings per day of vegetables and two to four servings of fruit. Though this sounds simple enough to incorporate into our lifestyles, the reality is we probably don’t. Juicing was once only considered for fasts, diets and cleanses, but many of the new juicers on the market make it easy to juice fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.
The health benefits of eating less processed and refined foods are well documented, but preparing whole foods isn’t always the easiest or best-tasting choice. Owning a juicer changes that forever. With the flip of a switch, you can create delicious and healthful raw, vegan or vegetarian meals, smoothies and juices easier than you ever imagined.
Basically there are two types of juicers on the market today: centrifugal juicers and slow juicers. Each has benefits and drawbacks, but both make the once tedious juicing process much simpler so you can get your recommended daily dosage of fruits and vegetables.
Centrifugal juicers. These juicers often resemble a blender and feature a powerful high-speed motor with rotating blades that blend the food into a liquid. Smoothies, using a liquid base of milk, juice or yogurt, are easy to make with a centrifugal juicer. Using a liquid base can also give otherwise bland-tasting yet nutritious vegetables a more palatable flavor.
Fiber, which is necessary for a healthy diet, is retained from the fruits and vegetables juiced this way. Smoothies can be more satisfying than pure juice, but if you are using juice or yogurt as a base, this can add a lot of sugar to your drink. Many of the high-powered centrifugal juicers blend foods at a high speed, which produces heat that can potentially damage some of the nutrients and enzymes in the foods. The high speed and power, however, can come in handy for making your own peanut butter, grinding coffee beans, and cooking up hot soups.
Slow juicers. These juicers work like a mortar and pestle, cold pressing and squeezing the fruit and vegetables so they retain vitamins and enzymes, and producing more juice and drier pulp. The term “slow” only refers to the technology; the juice actually comes out quickly. In addition to fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, wheatgrass, nuts, and soy can also be juiced to make everything from juice to soymilks, cocktails, sauces, marinades, baby food, and ice cream.
Juices made with a slow juicer are easier to digest because the pulp and fiber are removed. Vitamins and nutrients are preserved, thereby giving you a concentrated dose of nutrition. These pure juices can also be a great way to cleanse toxins from your body.
Different combinations of fruits and vegetables can be used to make cocktails, too. Try juicing some tomatoes and celery for a healthy Bloody Mary!