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JUICING FOR HEALTH



 

November 15, 2010 on 12:06 am
Lemon Berry Smoothie Remix
Image by terriseesthings via Flickr

Children seem remarkably resilient and can survive on an amazingly junk food diet, but processed food contains less vitamins and minerals and these are necessary not just for health and growth, but as a foundation for health in later life.

The easiest way to access vitamins and minerals directly is through fruit and vegetables, but children often reject these, finding green vegetables unpalatable, and preferring sweetened desserts to raw fruit. It’s amazing how kids can be convinced that foods will only taste good if covered in breadcrumbs, wrapped in a bun, smothered with sugar or at the very least sealed in a packet.

Children need to consume the right foods and perhaps more importantly, get into the right habits, so as parents how can we persuade them?

Good nutrition is a complex issue, not least because there is so much variation between one person and another. Tests have shown that two apparently identical individuals living similar lifestyles can have very different amounts of vitamins and minerals in their blood.

We all know that vitamins are essential, but did you know that minerals, in tiny quantities are also vital to the operation of our bodies, and that no matter how many drugs we consume, without minerals we cannot function properly?

The minerals we need in large quantities are:

calcium
chlorine
magnesium
phosphorous
potassium
sodium and
sulfur

But there are even more which are vital to the body in extremely tiny amounts. They act as catalysts in many of the chemical reactions in our bodies, and without them we would die very quickly.

Zinc is an example. Nutritionists believe we need around 8-11 mg per day to stay healthy, a tiny amount by any standards, but vital as zinc is essential in the operation of over 100 enzymes. Zinc is used by the metabolism, and the immune system. It is also important for proper growth, and a serious deficiency can result in growth problems.

Most fruits and vegetables contain some zinc, but some, avocado, blackberries, dates,raspberries and pomegranates contain more, so if your children refuse to eat zinc rich green vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, french beans or corn, you can always give them their minerals in fruit form, and if that is still not acceptable, create a fruit smoothie using a Vita Mix blender. A cup of Brussels sprouts has roughly the same amount of zinc in it as a cup of raspberries, but for kids, the raspberry smoothie is likely to be a lot more palatable.

Here’s a recipe.

Take one cup of Greek yogurt
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of raspberries

Blend them all together with your Vita Mix Blender and taste. If it’s too tart, add just enough honey. If you’re just starting with smoothies make them with ice cream in place of the yogurt and milk and present it to your children as a treat. If you have to over sweeten to begin with, don’t worry. You can reduce the sweetening slowly over time.

Who should have healthy smoothies? The simple answer is everyone. Using zinc again as an example, recent surveys have shown that 35-45% of adults over 60 have diets which are deficient in zinc, resulting in loss of taste and smell as well as lethargy and loss of appetite.

Whatever your age, vitamins and minerals are essential to your health, so get out your blender or juicer and start experimenting. It may be healthy, but it’s also fun.

October 5, 2010 on 6:53 pm
Identity Crisis Carrot Cake 1of6
Image by Food Thinkers via Flickr

The production of stomach acid and enzymes declines with age. A very important result of this is that the body is less able to absorb vitamins and minerals from food. It becomes more and important to take in adequate quantities of essential nutrients and to do so in a form which is easy to digest.

The essential ant-oxidant vitamins, A, C and E are all found in quantity in raw fruits and (in the case of vitamin E) seeds, but they are, typically, rapidly destroyed by heat, making fresh juice an ideal way to add these vital substances to your diet.

Carrot juice, for example, is an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C, citrus juices and tomato juice are an excellent source of  bioflavonoids and the humble watermelon makes an ideal all round health filled cocktail. The flesh is full of beta carotene (precursor to Vitamin A) and Vitamin C while the seeds contain vitamin E as well as the essential minerals zinc and selenium.

Watermelon also contains the amino acid lycopene which has been extensively studied in humans and found to protect against a large and growing list of cancers.   Watermelon also has a high water content and is low in calories (compared to other fruits) making it an excellent candidate for regular consumption, both whole and in juice form.

Watermelon makes a wonderful salad mixed with red onion and a little salt and if you’ve opted for a vita mix blender, rather than a l equip juicer, watermelon pureed with some cantaloupe, kiwi fruit and a tiny dash of lime makes a wonderful fresh summer soup.  Watermelon also contains several of the B vitamins plus both magnesium and potassium.

March 20, 2010 on 9:14 pm

vita mix blenderDo you have an old vita mix blender collecting dust in your kitchen?

Or do you have one that you use sometimes, but not nearly enough? If so, it’s time to blow off the dust and fire that baby up.

There are a lot of ways to use that vita mix blender to support your healthy lifestyle, but smoothies are something everyone can whip up.

The great thing about a healthy smoothie is you can use a wide variety of fruits so everyone gets the flavor they enjoy most. You can also add in protein powder, Greek yogurt, flax seed or coconut oil, or any number of other health-boosting additives. These things will give more nutritional value to your smoothies.

The simplest way to create a healthy smoothie in your Vita Mix Blender is to combine frozen fruit (no syrup or sugars added) with fresh juice and blend it up. Add a protein source to turn it into a meal that keeps you full longer or flax seed oil for a healthy boost of omega 3 fatty acids.

If you want the healthiest smoothies possible, use fresh homemade juice created with your own juicer. This ensures the juice is fresh without any preservatives or added sugars. I have tons of information on choosing the best juicer for you right here.

Here’s a great recipe I like:

Bananas and Cream

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup berries (strawberries, blueberries, etc)
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds, ground
  • 1 cup almond or soymilk

Blend all ingredients in your Vita Mix Blender until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!

 

 

 

March 1, 2010 on 8:17 pm
Orange juice is usually served cold.
Image via Wikipedia

One very common question asked by people who are just starting to juice or thinking about juicing is this: why can’t I just buy a blender? There is actually a big difference between blending and juicing, so let’s tackle this right up front.

Juicing fruits and vegetables requires the juice be separated from the solids (pulp, peels and seeds) by shredding, squeezing, and spinning in a juicer machine. The liquid is then consumed in a cup. The juice is easier for the body to digest than fruits and vegetables eaten whole. The body simply has less work to do when you consume juice, so the nutrients are assimilated into your system quite rapidly.

A fresh glass of juice is like a wholesome, natural concentrated liquid vitamin overflowing with enzymes, phyto-nutrients and minerals.

Blending on the other hand, combines whole ingredients into the blender which then chops, mixes or purees the items into a liquid mixture. While a juicing machine will spit out leftover pulp that can be used for other things or simply discarded, a blender puts everything you put into the machine into the final product.

For example, to make orange juice with a citrus juicer you would just chop an orange in half, set it in the machine, and squeeze out the juice. The peel would then be discarded. You can’t do this with a blender unless you remove all skin from the orange and then you still would not get smooth, silky orange juice in the end.

Some people argue that making juice in a vita mix blender is better because it keeps all of the fiber in the juice. It’s true that you need fiber in your diet to be healthy, but you still get adequate amounts when you combine juicing with a well balanced diet rich in whole grains, nuts, legumes, and tons of fresh produce. Plus, you can still make use of every bit of fiber in your fruits and vegetables while juicing by using the pulp in a recipe.

Blending to create juice is time consuming and it doesn’t work with many fruits and vegetables. Make sure you get plenty of fiber in other areas of your diet and you will do much better with a juicer.



Fruit & Vegetable Juicers