Simply put, green juice is the liquid extracted from uncooked leafy greens and green vegetables, with or without the addition of other types of fruits and vegetables. A raw green juice diet is a short-term program lasting anywhere fromdays toeven a week or more of drinking just green juice and water and foregoing any solid food, mainly with the goal of fasting and cleansing (detoxifying).
We all know that fruits and vegetables are great for us and our overall health. The problem for many is getting enough of them into our daily diet in ways that don’t involve the time-consuming preparation of a huge salad or the dilemma of trying to fit in lots of fruits and vegetables into our meals. Plus, some people simply don’t like the taste of vegetables. This is where green juice comes in!
You can extract the natural goodness and nutrients from a large quantity of greens by turning them into a palatable juice that can be taken as a snack or meal replacement, ensuring you get your daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables in one easy go.
The beauty of fresh green juice is that the recipes are as limitless as the variety of fruits and vegetables available to you. Eating with the seasons means you’ll inevitably change up the produce you juice on a regular basis. Your taste buds won’t get bored and you’ll likely even find yourself looking forward to your daily green juice fix! Savory recipes might include produce such as beets, carrots, spinach, and kale while sweeter juice incorporating fruits like apples, watermelon, and oranges means your juice will be as delicious as it is good for you. If you do juice fruit, just be aware, however, of the added fructose or fruit sugar, and even more so if using store-bought juice instead of fresh fruit to top off your green juice.
There’s no definitive answer for what goes into the healthiest green juice because each ingredient has its own unique set of properties. Want to oxygenate the blood to boost your workouts? Go for beets. Looking to strengthen bones and joints while losing weight? Add low-calorie celery into the mix. Experiencing joint inflammation? Try juicing black cherries with their amazing antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. The range of ingredients and their associated health benefits is truly mind-blowing.
Some of the more popular fruits and vegetables to juice include carrots (a great source of beta-carotene), cucumber (95% water), and lemon (which significantly improves the flavor of juiced leafy greens which can taste bitter to some). Kale green juice is also popular because this leafy green is incredibly dense in nutrients, from vitamins C and A to iron, potassium and calcium. It’s also the vegetable offering the highest amount of vitamin K. One study found that after 3 months of drinking 150ml of kale juice per day, participants saw a 10% reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol and a significant increase in HDL-cholesterol (associated with reduced risks of coronary artery disease). Kale’s relatively mild flavor also means that it pairs well with stronger tasting fruits and vegetables.
Another popular recipe is the “Five Green” juice out of Hong Kong, known for its many neighborhood juice bars offering quick and relatively inexpensive made-to-order juices. If you get a chance to visit this bustling city-state known for its incredible street food scene, you’ll likely find hand-written signs in front of these mom-and-pop juice bars listing various combinations of ingredients aimed at addressing specific issues such as stress reduction, difficulty sleeping, or even a sore throat.
Consisting of green pepper, cucumber, green apple, bitter melon and celery, the Five Green juice blend is said to be good for a myriad of conditions, including reducing blood sugar (making it diabetic-friendly) and skin blemishes. The one ingredient many Australian's might not be all that familiar with is the bitter melon (also known as bitter gourd) with its rather unappealing appearance (long, green and typically covered with wart-like bumps) and distinctively sharp, bitter flavor. However, looks and acquired taste aside, this relative of the squash and zucchini is especially rich in folate and vitamins C and A, and has properties which may help in fighting cancer, decreasing cholesterol levels, and burning fat. The addition of cucumber and tart green apple also does a good job in mellowing out its bitterness.
When it comes to fresh green juice, there are initially two choices: store-bought or DIY. Store-bought juices are often pasteurized, meaning they’re heated at a very high temperature to protect against bacteria and to extend shelf life. Unfortunately, this process also kills off many of the best things about drinking fresh green juice: live enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
If you’re making juice at home, your juicer is likely either a centrifugal juicer (the most common type because of its lower price point) or a cold-press juicer (also known as a slow or masticating juicer). While there are other types of juicers like twin gear and juice presses, their prohibitively high costs (usually starting at AUD 500 or more) put them above the average budget for home juicing.
Centrifugal juicers use a spinning blade to separate juice from flesh. Because the blades spin at high speed, they generate heat which destroys natural enzymes while also exposing the juice to oxidation (adding air) which breaks down the nutrients.
Cold-press juicers grind, crush, and then press fruits and vegetables, similar to how you chew (hence the other name for them – “masticating” which literally means “chew”). Despite their name, cold-press juicers don’t have actually have a press but use a rotating auger (think of a screw-like propeller) to crush the produce and then squeeze the juice out through a strainer. The process is gentler and produces less heat (the “cold” part of “cold-press”), thereby retaining more of the nutrients.
In most cases, fresh green juice is going to be better than the vast majority of green juice drink powders on the market. There are more nutrients in fresh produce than their dried counterparts. However, a glass of a high-quality green juice powder make up of a well-balanced mix of potent superfoods will be better than the average home-made fresh green juice. Superfoods, such as moringa, spirulina, chlorella, matcha green tea, wheatgrass are mainly found in powdered form and are packed with more nutrients than kale, spinach, celery and other go-to juicing ingredients. An example of a high-quality green juice superfood powder is Moringafi Green Juice - made right here in sunny Queensland.
Whether you want to go on a full-blown green juice diet or simply add green juice to your daily routine, juicing is an investment in your health. Try establishing a routine of just drinking green juice once per day and see if you can add a second glass for an afternoon snack or instead of dinner. You’ll likely be amazed at the results – less fatigue, improved skin, combating disease – and well on your way to healthier eating and living!