Now a billion dollar industry, juicing has become popular with everyone from cleanse enthusiasts through to mums just trying to get a little variety into their children’s diet.
The big coffee houses and supermarkets are even getting into the act – franchises like Starbucks now offering their own ranges of magic green juices.
You can even have a full five day juice cleanse delivered to your door (if you have a few hundred dollars in spare cash floating around.)
Does juicing offer health benefits?
Sydney based nutritionist and dietician Jessica Bailes says a cup of juice a day can be an excellent way of getting a wider variety or volume of nutrients in for fussy eaters – young or old.
There is also research that suggests juice can be good for the immune system. Bailes says one study
found people who don't have many polyphenols in their diet (found in fruit and vegetables) have improved immunity from having a veggie juice a day.
Home-made green juices made from dark leafy greens are a good way to get chlorophyll into your diet, and some commercial brands make the same claim.
Proceed with a little caution
If not done right, juices can pack a calorie and sugar punch - juices high in fruit content can have the same amount of sugar per cup as soft drink
; a problem for your general health and your teeth.
Bailes says the process of juicing removes the fibre, one of the key benefits of consuming fruit. Adequate fibre, from fruit or vegetables, is important for good gut health, aiding in digestion.
How to get juicing right
The trick to getting the most from your juice is to make smart ingredient choices. “Going for vegetables over fruit is the obvious trick, though you may add a serve of fruit to sweeten the taste for fussier palates,” says Bailes.
Variety of colour is also important, and Bailes recommends having a dark green choice such as spinach, kale or kiwifruit; an orange choice like carrot, oranges or apricots; and a red choice, such as watermelon, berries, strawberries or pomegranate.
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“You can also add herbs or spices to add a flavour and antioxidant boost,” says Bailes, who recommends cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric, parsley, mint and ginger
If you don’t have a juicer or are looking to buy a premade juice on the run, the rules are simple.
Charlene Grosse, an Accredited Practising Dietitian, says check the label to ensure your selection. “Make sure it contains 100% juice and is not made from a concentrate or has added sugars. The shorter the list of ingredients, the better – and look out for cheap filler juices that add to the calorie count,” says Grosse.
Always check the serving size, especially when it comes to pre-packaged juices containing fruit – it is hard to eat 10 oranges or a bag of apples in one sitting, but very easy to consume that many in a juice.
Immune boosting juices
Bailes says the nutrients important for immunity include zinc; selenium; iron; copper; vitamins A, C, E, and B-6; and folic acid. Good sources of each?
- Zinc - pomegranates, avocado and berries
- Selenium - spinach, broccoli, bananas and berries
- Iron - kale, spinach, silverbeet, watermelon, grapefruit
- Copper - kale, avocado
- Vitamin A - rockmelon, apricot, persimmons, grapefruit, carrots, kale, spinach
- Vitamin C - orange, kiwi fruit, guava, strawberries, pineapple, kale
- Vitamin E - avocado, spinach, kiwi fruit, berries (capsicum)
- B6 - garlic, chilli
- Folic acid - spinach, parsley, rocket
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To make your own immune booster juice, Bailes recommends these combinations:
What's your must have ingredient in your daily juice? Tell us in the comments section below!
- Strawberry, pomegranate and orange with cardamon and ginger
- Avocado, chilli, rocket, rockmelon and lime (blend the avocado and add to the juiced ingredients.)
- Spinach and kiwifruit with cayenne and mint