Boosting your fruit and veggie intake through juicing sounds easy, but how, and what, should you juice? Nutritionist Gabrielle Maston gives us her 10 tips for a great, healthy blend.
There are many health benefits of having a diet high in fruits and veggies. Plant based diets are health protective as they reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and cancer. Juicing is a great way to boost your veggie and fruit intake in a fun and tasty way. Follow my top ten tips for a seriously smooth juicing experience:
- Pick out some juice recipes you’d like to try and prepare a grocery list. This ensures you have the right ingredients when you start juicing and saves time because you avoid doing extra trips to the supermarket. Pre-wash and chop veggies to save time. After all, when it come to the crunch, you want to be able to blend and go really quickly and avoid mucking around.
- Get a powerful blender to make fruit and vegetable smoothies rather than extracting juice and removing the pulp. The pulp from fruits and veggies contains the fibre we need for good bowel health. The fibre in fruit actually helps to slow down the absorption of sugar in the gut, coming from the fruit itself. Fibre also helps you to feel full and keeps your cholesterol in check.
- Be conscious of what you choose to mix with your juice. Store bought fruit juices, flavoured milks, honey and sweetened coconut water can really amp up the calorie and sugar content of your drinks. Choose no-added sugar coconut water, plain water, plain almond milk, stevia or low fat or skim milk to reduce the total sugar and energy content of your drinks.
- Choose fruits low in sugar for your juicing if you are trying to lose weight. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, rockmelon, honeydew melon and passionfruit are all low in sugar. They are also suitable for a weight loss plan and are better for blood glucose management for those with pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. You can use them in shakes more liberally than other fruit types.
- Try using more veggies in your juices rather than adding fruit for flavour. Experiment with veggies like kale, cucumber, ginger, celery and carrot. It will help you to boost fibre intake and reduce the sugar content of your drinks.
- Watch the added fats! Healthy fats are nothing to be scared of; small amounts of avocado, full cream milk and yoghurt, chia seeds and nuts are good for your health. However, if you are trying to manage your weight it’s probably not a good idea to use too much of these ingredients. One teaspoon of seeds or crushed nuts in a fruit-filled juice is probably enough, along with substituting milk with plain water or coconut water.
- Limit your juice drinks to 1 cup of fruit. The reason for this is that although fruit is healthy and contains low GI sugar, it can quickly add up. If you want to reduce your body weight or keep blood sugars under control, be careful not to add more than a cup of fruit per serve.
- Add spices to protect against chronic disease. Take the opportunity to add spices like cinnamon and turmeric for extra health benefits. In small amounts they won’t change the flavour of your drink, but will add an antioxidant punch. Turmeric is a great anti-cancer compound and cinnamon may help to regulate blood sugar levels.
- Increase the variety of your juices. One benefit of juicing is that it allows you to consume a wide variety of fresh fruit and veggies. This provides your body with a range of nutrients you wouldn’t normally eat. Try adding unusual ingredients like raw beetroot, mint, cranberries and ginger.
- Don’t fuss if you can’t get organic fruit and veggies. You don’t have to buy organic to be healthy; non-organic fruits and veggies are still suitable. Just remember, eating more veggies in general is a far better option than not eating veggies at all.