15 Health Benefits of Juicing, According to Science (+8 Delicious Recipes)

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15 Health Benefits of Juicing, According to Science (+8 Delicious Recipes)

Anyone interested in achieving and maintaining optimal health and wellness has no doubt heard some of the benefits that you can gain from incorporating fresh juice into your diet. Juicing is the process of extracting the liquid from fresh vegetables and fruit – leaving behind most of the fiber so you can consume the majority of the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients found in these foods.

When done properly, juicing can be a fantastic way to supplement your diet and ensure you’re giving your body everything it needs to work efficiently and stay healthy. Remember, drinking fruit and vegetable juice isn’t a replacement for these foods – you should still try to eat at least two fruits and four servings of vegetables each day.

A brief history of juicing

While the modern philosophy of juicing wasn’t introduced until the 1930s, people have been taking advantage of the health benefits of juicing for thousands of years. Early juicers used grinders and linens to crush and strain produce or herbs for ceremonial practices or medical applications. With the invention of the first hydraulic press-style juicer, Dr. Norman Walker developed the technology to bring this traditional health supplement to the contemporary masses.

When the first masticating juicer was invented in the 1950s, it introduced the possibility of juicing nearly all kinds of vegetables – including leafy greens, which had been virtually impossible to juice with the hydraulic press. However, due to the friction caused by the high speed at which this juicer functioned, the heat generated can compromise the quality of the resulting liquid. As live enzymes are destroyed by heat, many of the nutrients contained within the produce were destroyed during this juicing process.

However, by the 1990s, technology had evolved to allow juicers to operate efficiently and effectively – extracting a maximum of juices from fruits and vegetables without the loss of nutrients caused by these previous juicing methods. Thanks to this important evolution, people around the world can enjoy the benefits of juicing in their own homes.

What do I need?

If you don’t have a juicer, you can use your blender to achieve a similar result – just be sure to add a little water to keep your juice from getting too thick. However, to fully enjoy the many benefits of juicing, you might want to invest in a new appliance for your kitchen.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a good juicer, but the more expensive ones do come with some added conveniences. Since they can often process the entire fruit – including the rind, core, and even seeds – they can spare you having to chop up your produce before running it through the juicer. Check out the width of the juicer’s chute to get an idea of how what size of produce the machine will be capable of processing.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that your juicer should be easy to clean. A good juicer should have removable parts that are simple to assemble, so you can quickly take it apart and clean it out after use – and put it back together easily before you use it again. Although some models claim to be dishwasher safe, the heat from the dishwasher can cause the plastic pieces of the juicer to become distorted and impossible to fit back together.

Speed is only a concern for people who want to store juice. A faster machine is perfect if you plan to consume your juice immediately after making it, but if you want to keep juice in the fridge for several hours, you may want to invest in a slow juicer. This will mean your final product will obviously take longer to make, but because the slower process lets in less air, your juice won’t be as oxidized – meaning you can store it a little longer and it will likely taste a bit more fresh.

The three most common types of juicers are masticating, centrifugal, and triurating. Each of these comes with their own pros and cons, so it really comes down to finding a juicer that fits your lifestyle. There really is no one best juicer to suit everyone.

Masticating juicers work slowly, with a rotating auger that crushes produce into a mesh screen. Juice is released through this screen, and pulp is collected in a separate container. This process results in less oxidation, meaning that juice created through this machine doesn’t need to be consumed immediately.

These can be found in two styles – with a horizontal auger or a vertical auger. This type of juicer will require some pre-cutting, especially for more fibrous greens or dense vegetables like carrots or beets. They do have a bit more of a learning curve, but will yield a lot of juice.

Centrifugal juicers work similarly to the spin cycle on your washing machine – produce is shredded and spun to separate the juice from the pulp. While some machines do come with a container to catch the extracted pulp, if you plan to make a large batch of juice you will likely have to take it apart to remove the pulp at least once during the process. The juice produced from this machine will also be quite oxidized, meaning you will need to drink it within fifteen minutes of making it.

While this process doesn’t extract much juice from leafy greens, it is a great option for people who don’t have a lot of prep time to chop veggies and fruits before running them through the juicer. There are also fewer pieces that need to be cleaned after use.

Triurating juicers, or twin gear juicers, function more like a car’s transmission – two gears interlock and work together to shred and squeeze the juice from your produce. These machines struggle with softer fruits and vegetables, and require a bit of force to push produce through the two gears, but provide a maximum yield – allowing you to make the most out of each vegetable or piece of fruit.

However, these juicers are capable of making more than just juice. Thanks to this unique process, they can make sorbets, nut butters, and even baby food – making this a great option for someone who doesn’t want to purchase a specific appliance just for juicing. Juices made with a triurating juicer can also be stored in the fridge for up to three days.

No matter what kind of juicer you decide to buy, if you plan to make juicing an important part of your healthy lifestyle, a good juice extractor is worth the investment. The best juicer you can buy is the one that best suits your specific needs and will be easy and fun for you to use on a daily basis.

Benefits of juicing

One: Juicing gives you more energy.

When your body isn’t forced to spend so much time and energy processing the fibers contained in fruits and vegetables, it is better able to absorb these key nutrients – which can help lower your risk of cancer, detoxify your body, promote healthy digestion, stimulate your immune system, and aid with weight loss.

Juicing can help boost your metabolism, encouraging your body to work effectively and efficiently. It also increases your fluid intake, and staying hydrated is a great way to get your energy up. However, be sure you are also drinking enough water – no matter how nutrient-rich it is, juice is not a replacement for water, which is responsible for the delivery of all these nutrients to the other parts of your body.

Two: Juicing aids digestion.

The amount of fiber in fruits and vegetables can make it difficult to eat large quantities of these foods, and juicing them can make it much easier to incorporate them into your regular diet. Two cups of fresh pressed juice contains the same number of vitamins and enzymes as eating two pounds of carrots, eight pounds of spinach, or almost twelve apples – it just isn’t possible!

Juicing is also a great option for people who don’t normally eat fruits and vegetables, because they don’t enjoy the taste of the texture. With tons of different juice recipes available, it’s easy for anyone to find a healthy and delicious way of ensuring your diet contains all of the nutrients you might miss out on if you don’t eat enough produce. It can also help you incorporate some new types of produce into your diet, which is helpful since often, we end up eating the same familiar foods every day.

Three: Juicing gives you tons of antioxidants.

Studies have shown that when people eat more fruits and vegetables, they end up feeling happier, calmer, and more energetic than when their diets contain more starches, breads, and processed foods. Many researchers attribute this boost in mental well-being to the amount of antioxidants contained in produce – and it’s easy to add more antioxidants to your diet by juicing. High amounts of antioxidants are found in kale, spinach, pomegranates, concord grapes and blueberries.

Antioxidants can limit or prevent the oxidation of molecules, and counteract some of the damaging effects of free radicals in the body – which can contribute to a range of illnesses and diseases.

There are tons of antioxidants in food sources, and each antioxidant provides different benefits to impact various parts of the body. It’s important to get a wide variety of these antioxidants in your diet to protect against eye problems, memory issues, compromised immune system, heart concerns, and even mood disorders.

Four: Juicing detoxifies your body.

Toxins in your body can impact your ability to burn fat, fight infection, and think clearly – and drinking fresh juice is a great way to help your body in the natural detoxifying process. As an additional perk, clearing these toxins will improve your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, which will ensure that you are making the most out of every glass of juice.

However, it is important to note that there is no scientific evidence to support going on a juice cleanse as a way to boost your health. Juice is not a substitute for food or water – it’s a supplement, to help you get the minerals and vitamins you need to keep your body functioning efficiently.

The weight you may lose as the result of a juice cleanse will likely come back as soon as you resume your regular diet – but supplementing your diet with fresh juice can help support healthy weight loss, if done correctly.

Five: Juicing can help you lose weight.

Since juicing helps stimulate your metabolism and remove toxins from your fat cells, it’s no secret that drinking juice can help you lose weight, too. Having a glass of fresh juice instead of snacking on empty calories is a great way to stay on track and ensure that you’re fueling your body in an effective way.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are still calories in juice – and many fruit juices not only contain lots of calories, but also a lot of sugar. These can raise your blood sugar levels and contribute to weight gain if you aren’t careful. The more fruit juices you use, the higher the calorie count of your juice.

If cutting calories is a priority for you, focus on juicing vegetables and use just one or two pieces of flavourful fruit to add a sweeter taste. Beets, carrots, and red cabbage also have some great natural sweetness that you can take advantage of when you’re juicing.

Six: Juicing saves you time.

Depending on the type of juicer you use, it can take just minutes to extract the juice from your produce and enjoy a glass of fresh, nutrient-rich liquid. Even if you need to do a little prep by chopping vegetables and removing cores and pits from your fruits, it’s nothing compared to the amount of time you would spend cooking and eating the same amount of produce – and juicing them means you can preserve some of the nutrients that are lost when these foods are processed.

You can save even more time by doing some advance prep on the weekend. Figure out which juices you want to make, and after you’ve purchased the ingredients, wash and prep them for juicing. Store them in containers or bags to make them super easy to toss into the juicer whenever you’re ready.

Seven: Juicing can lower your bad cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol is an important part of keeping your body functioning well, but too much cholesterol can lead to cardiac health concerns. Juicing with vegetables that have plenty of beta carotene, like carrots, peaches, spinach, broccoli, and cantaloupes, and that are rich in sterols can help maintain a healthy blood cholesterol level. You can avoid taking medication to treat your high cholesterol by managing this condition with diet and exercise – and juicing is a great way to get started.

Eight: Juicing helps regulate blood sugar levels.

While drinking more fresh fruit and vegetable juice helps provide your body with the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients it needs to help keep your blood sugar levels under control, mixing in a bit of the extracted pulp can give you the fiber you need to make sure these levels remain steady and balanced. Naturally stabilize your blood sugar levels by juicing with pomegranates, apples, spinach, kale, nuts, and legumes.

Nine: Juicing gives you clearer skin.

Many of the vitamins you can easily absorb through fresh juice can help keep your skin looking great. Depending on the ingredients you use, your juice can help balance hormones, repair and strengthen collagen, reduce the appearance of acne scars, ease stress, and stimulate circulation. Look for fruits and vegetables that produce red, blue, purple, orange, and green juice to maximize these benefits.

Ten: Juicing can boost your athletic performance.

The potassium and nitrates found in some fruit and vegetable juices can aid your body in recovering after a workout – helping you build stronger muscles and repair damaged tissues. Bananas, tart cherries, and beets are some of the produce you can juice to help prevent prolonged inflammation following a workout and ensure you can return to your activity sooner.

You can also add extra protein to your fresh juice to make sure your post-workout drink has an appropriate balance of calories by throwing in ingredients like nuts, almond milk, peanut butter, seeds (like hemp or chia), or Greek yogurt.

Eleven: Juicing can help you achieve a healthy pH balance.

The ideal pH level for a healthy body is between 7.0 and 8.0 – slightly alkaline. An unbalanced pH can lead to health issues like kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, fatigue, osteoporosis, and even mental health concerns. Fortunately, this is easy to prevent by supplementing your diet with alkaline-forming foods like fruits and vegetables. To balance your system, fortify your juice with citrus fruits and berries.

Twelve: Juicing will improve the quality of your sleep.

A healthy diet can be a valuable tool when it comes to battling insomnia, and the nutrients found in fruit and vegetable juices are key in achieving a solid dietary balance. Sleeping less than the recommended amount can contribute to a wide variety of health concerns, as sleep is necessary to help maintain important systems within your body – your immune system, nervous system, muscular system, and skeletal system. Supplementing your diet with juice and incorporating some other tips like avoiding screens before bed, eating a smaller evening meal, and keeping to a regular schedule will help you ensure you’re getting the sleep you need to stay healthy.

Thirteen: Juicing puts you in a better mood.

Antioxidants aren’t just important for your physical health – they’re great for your mental health, too. The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables can boost dopamine, serotonin, and endorphin levels, which all work together to give you a natural way to improve your mood. Usually, we will indulge in sweet carbohydrates to raise these levels, but by balancing your hormonal system with fresh, healthy juice, you can avoid these harmful cravings and keep to a nutritious diet.

Fourteen: Juicing supports your brain health.

There are several nutrients found in vegetable juices that have been proven to promote healthy brain function – so take advantage of it and include these in your regular diet. Potassium, lycopene, vitamin K, and vitamin C can help prevent damage to your DNA, brain cells, lipids, and proteins. High levels of these nutrients have proven to reduce the risk of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and even seizures.

Fifteen: Juicing can help you live longer.

All of these health benefits contribute to one ultimate goal – longevity. Drinking fresh juice, and getting all the important nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, can keep your body functioning effectively and efficiently for years into the future. Some of the earliest proponents of juicing as a healthy dietary supplement lived exceptionally long lives – in fact, the inventor of the first hydraulic press-style juicer, Dr. Norman Walker, died in 1985 at the age of 99.

What do I do with the pulp?

If you don’t want to miss out on the benefits of the fiber that gets left behind, you could consider mixing some back into your juice before drinking it. Another suggestion is to use a blender to process certain ingredients and toss them in with the juiced ones. These options will leave you feeling much more satisfied than simply drinking juice – although you won’t be giving your digestive system as much time to rest.

Another way you can use up some of the pulp that remains after the juice has been extracted from your fruits and vegetables is in your cooking. Add it to muffin or cookie batter, or as a broth to cook soups or grains. That way, not only are you creating less waste, you’re also adding some extra fortification to your other meals.

What should I buy?

You can juice anything – but there are some fruits and vegetables that will provide a greater nutritional value than others. You can also try combining some of your favorite fruits and vegetables to create a customized juice to suit your taste, but pay attention to the vitamins and enzymes in each ingredient to make sure you’re getting all of the great benefits of juicing in each recipe.

However, if you are juicing to treat or prevent specific issues, pay attention to the vitamins and minerals contained in the produce you plan to juice. Choose fruits and vegetables that are rich in those nutrients to create a juice that will fit your needs.

– Vitamin A

This can be found in bell peppers, oranges, carrots, and apples, and is a vital part of ensuring the growth of healthy retinal cells in your eyes. Vitamin A is also an antioxidant full of anti-aging properties and stimulates immune system function.

– Vitamin B complex

Thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), nicotinic acid (B3), pyridoxine (B6), and cobalamin (B12) are all important parts of the vitamin B complex, which are primarily important for blood health. Find high levels of vitamin B complex in spinach, broccoli, bananas, plums, and asparagus.

– Vitamin C

Citrus fruits are a wonderful source of vitamin C, which is an important part of maintaining the health of your immune system. You can also find vitamin C in peaches, kiwis, bell peppers, and tomatoes.

– Vitamin D

This vitamin is difficult to get from food sources, but you can find vitamin D in leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and mustard greens. Keep in mind that this vitamin requires sunlight to promote synthesis, but it is vital to maintain the health of your teeth and bones.

– Vitamin E

Another important antioxidant, vitamin E keeps your cells and tissues working properly. This vitamin is a key part of promoting healthy skin, thickens hair, balances hormones, and even improves vision. You can find it in peaches, corn, mangoes, blackberries, avocadoes, and tomatoes.

– Vitamin K

Leafy greens are full of vitamin K, but when these vegetables are exposed to heat via cooking or steaming, this important nutrient is lost. Vitamin K promotes healthy blood clotting and prevents excessive bleeding, as well as helps increase bone strength and density. Juice kale, spinach, mustard or collard greens, and parsley to up your intake of vitamin K.

Juicing can get expensive, since you go through large amounts of produce to fill just one cup of juice. Here’s a sample grocery list for a juicer on a budget, to maximize your yield and get as many nutrients as possible.

– Zucchini

– Parsley

– Sweet potato

– Beets

– Broccoli

– Cucumber

– Swiss chard

– Celery

– Carrots

– Mint

– Romaine lettuce

– Tomatoes

– Apples

– Citrus (lemons, oranges, grapefruits, limes)

– Melon (especially watermelon)

– Pineapple

– Pears

Ingredients with a higher water content, like watermelon, cucumber, celery, and zucchini, are a great, low-cost base for any juice. Start with these and add other ingredients to build up a balanced blend.

Keep in mind that you can buy your produce in bulk – whatever you won’t use right away can be kept in the fridge or in the freezer, so you can use it later on. You can also save the scraps of vegetables and fruits that were used to prepare other meals, making sure you aren’t wasting any leftovers that could still provide some great nutritious benefits.

Tips for beginners

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to taking on a new challenge like juicing – but there are some tips you can keep in mind to make it an easy lifestyle change that you can stick to. Juicing isn’t just a fad, or something you’ll want to do occasionally. This is something you want to make an important part of your daily life, to continually promote your own health and wellness.

– Keep your juicer in a prominent spot.

Don’t let your juicer get lost in a cupboard with other kitchen appliances. If you keep it somewhere you can see it, you’ll be much more likely to use it on a regular basis.

– Read the instructions.

If you’ve never used a juicer before, get familiar with your machine and make sure you know how to take it apart and put it back together before you start running produce through it. You also need to know how big each piece of produce can be so you don’t overwhelm or damage the machine. It may seem daunting to read through the entire manual, but you’ll be much more likely to use your juicer if you’re confident that you know how to do it properly.

– Shop smart.

Purchase fruits and vegetables in bulk whenever you can, and try to choose organic options whenever they are available. Keep in mind that fruit juices will add sugar and calories, so try to stick to the 80/20 rule – 80% vegetables with only 20% fruit. It can be tough to adjust to the more bitter taste of juiced vegetables, but using herbs like mint and less sugary fruits like lemons and limes, you can achieve a nicely balanced juice with a little practice.

– Prep your produce right away.

Instead of just stuffing your fruits and veggies into the fridge after a trip to the store, clean it and chop it and separate it as you put it all away. You’ll be much more inclined to use your fresh produce if it’s ready to go when you are. Washing your produce is important to avoid E. coli, so be sure to remove any dangerous bacteria, pesticides, and dirt from your fruits and vegetables before running them through your juicer.

– Wash your juicer immediately.

Cleaning dried-on pulp and sticky dried juice is a lot of work, but if you take a few minutes to clean each piece of your juicer as soon as you’re done using it, you’ll save yourself the effort. Get into the routine of cleaning your equipment right away so that it becomes a habit, and then you’ll never have to deal with the pain of dealing with a dried-out mess. This juicer is an investment you’ll want to maintain for years, so take care of it!

– Drink your juice right away.

While some types of juicers prevent excessive oxidation, fresh juice can develop dangerous bacteria if it’s not consumed immediately. Without preservatives, juice has a very short shelf life, so unless you have a slow juicer you will need to drink your juice right after making it.

– Make juice you like.

If you don’t like the taste of juiced broccoli, don’t drink it! Find another source of those vitamins and minerals, or mix it in with a bunch of vegetables and fruits you do like. You’re much less likely to continue juicing if you try to force yourself to consume juices you don’t enjoy, so stick to blends that you’ll want to drink again and again.

However, keep in mind that one of the benefits of juicing is that you can supplement your diet with a wider variety of different types of produce. Even if you stick to a particular recipe you like, rotate through some extra ingredients to keep your diet varied and benefit from as many different vitamins and minerals as you can.

Recipes to try

Glorious Green Juice

This juice, inspired by a recipe here, is great for detoxifying. Chock full of the most alkalinizing foods on earth, this juice will fill your body with calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and folic acid – essential for maintaining your health and wellness. And thanks to the delicious combination of citrus and ginger, this juice tastes great, too.

Ingredients:

1 green apple, cored and quartered

½ cucumber

1 lime, peeled

1 lemon, peeled

1 chunk of fresh ginger

1 bunch celery

1 handful of kale leaves

1 handful of parsley leaves

Beautiful Beet Juice

Beets don’t just make this brightly colored juice (inspired by a recipe here) look good – they provide some key nutrients to keep your body strong. In addition to the manganese potassium, iron, vitamin C, and folate contained within this miracle ingredient, beets are a natural detoxifying agent and are especially great at cleansing the blood. Toss in some berries and some fresh ginger, and you’re well on your way to starting your day off right.

Ingredients:

2-3 apples, cored and quartered

1 handful of blackberries

3 stems of Swiss chard

1 chunk of fresh ginger

3 small beets, halved

Vitamin Boost Juice

Give your entire body a blast of energy with this vitamin-rich blend of fruit juices, adapted from this recipe. With a hefty dose of vitamins A, B, C, and E, this juice also packs the antioxidant power of lutein to help fight the signs of aging – increasing your body’s collagen production to build stronger bones and make your skin look radiant. And, with the added mint, it leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Ingredients:

2 apples, cored and quartered

1 pear, cored and halved

1 handful of red cherries, pitted

3 sprigs of fresh mint leaves

Berry Blast Juice

It’s no secret that berries are full of some of the most potent antioxidants on earth – so take advantage of that by mixing up a big glass of this anti-aging concoction, inspired by this recipe. Berries are also a great source of anthocyanins, which can help lower your cholesterol and prevent heart disease, and like mushrooms, berries are proven angiogenesis inhibitors – which prevent the formation of new blood vessels to feed malignant tumors. Best of all, though, berries are delicious!

Ingredients:

1 handful of strawberries, halved

1 handful of blueberries

1 handful of pineapple, chopped

2 handfuls of mango, chopped

1 dash of cinnamon

Germ-fighting Juice

All of the vitamin C in this bright, sunny elixir, modified from this recipe, will give your body just the extra kick it needs to ward off cold and flu infections. Everyone knows citrus fruits are bursting with this immune-boosting vitamin, but kiwis are actually a fantastic, lesser-known way you can add more vitamin C to your diet. Extra perk: these fruits taste great together, making this juice a perfect way to energize your day.

Ingredients:

1 grapefruit, peeled and chopped

1 lemon, peeled

1 apple, cored and quartered

2 oranges, peeled and chopped

3 kiwis, peeled and quartered

Mulled Cider Juice

Who doesn’t love indulging in a warm mug of mulled apple cider? Enjoy the delicious taste of this seasonal drink in your healthy morning juice, thanks to the addition of cinnamon and cloves. Cinnamon is one of the healthiest spices there is – not only does cinnamon help lower your blood sugar and reduce your risk of heart disease, it is full of powerful polyphenol antioxidants. This miracle spice can even aid your body in repairing tissue and fighting infections, courtesy of cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory effects.

Ingredients:

2-3 apples, cored and quartered

1 orange, peeled and chopped

1 lemon, peeled

1 dash of cinnamon

1 pinch of ground cloves

1 chunk of fresh ginger

Fantastic Fuel Juice

With plenty of protein to help repair and strengthen your muscles, and a boost of potassium to replenish fluids and electrolytes, this juice (inspired by this recipe) is a perfect way to cap off a hard workout. You can also top this juice off with a shot or two of coconut water to get a little extra nutty sweetness in your post-workout beverage – as well as the added calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous found in this healthy drink.

Ingredients:

1 small sweet potato, chopped

1 apple, cored and quartered

2 oranges, peeled and chopped

1 handful of raw almonds

1 lemon, peeled

½ cup coconut water (if desired)

Garlicky Goodness Juice

Garlic is a pretty strong ingredient, but it can add some great health benefits and fantastic flavour to your juice. The allicin found in garlic has powerful medicinal properties, and can help prevent and reduce symptoms of flus and colds. Chock full of antioxidants, garlic contains plenty of vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and selenium, and can be just as effective as medication when it comes to treating hypertension. This recipe was inspired by this one, but includes plenty of other healthy produce.

Ingredients:

1 green apple, cored and quartered

1 handful of kale leaves

6 carrots

½ cucumber

3 sprigs of fresh mint leaves

1 chunk of fresh ginger

1-3 cloves of garlic (to your taste)