Fresh green juice wins health points over packaged fruit juice and smoothies on several counts. First, most fruit juices sold commercially in the UK are pasteurised. Nutritionist Vicki Edgson says: "They're heat-treated so they have a longer shelf life and no bacteria, but this means unfortunately a lot of the nutritional value is knocked out." Second, green juices contain much less sugar than their fruity counterparts. Third, there is a range of nutrients present in those dark green vegetables, the ones we're always being told to eat more of – kale is packed with beta-carotene, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin K.
green juice seems an easy way to add more leafy veg to our diets. "You can put a lot more in a juice than you could sit and eat," says Edgson. But how palatable is a big glass of cabbage? I spent a week finding out.
Green juice has gained popularity for the list of health benefits associated with drinking it. It's a convenient way to ensure you're getting close to -- if not all of -- the USDA's daily recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. Green juice can be quite tasty, and if you heed a few parameters, you may experience health benefits such as more energy, improved immunity and weight loss. The key is making sure you control the calories -- in addition to consuming your juice at the right time.
The natural sugars in green juices are a source of energy.
Green juices are made with fruits and vegetables filled with antioxidants, phytochemicals, minerals and vitamins -- sometimes as much as a day's worth of vegetables in one serving. When vegetables are juiced, the natural sugars in the vegetable are separated from the pulp, which is where the fiber is located. You may feel a "pump" of energy once those natural sugars get into your bloodstream and your glucose levels are raised.
Adding fruit contributes sugar and more calories in addition to more nutrients.
Adding fruit to juices varies the flavor, but it comes with a price -- extra calories. If you are doing a juice fast and drinking green juices is your only source of nutrition, you can still enjoy weight-loss benefits while getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. The key is evenly spreading out your intake over an entire day since your body uses energy throughout the day, versus one or two servings full of calories. Packing an entire day's worth of calories into a few servings can be a recipe for weight gain and muscle damage if the body needs energy at a time when its glycogen stores are depleted.
Cruciferous vegetables boost immunity as well as provide minerals and nutrients.