Jeff Flowers on August 29, 2013 3 Comments Juicing fruits and vegetables for health has been going on for centuries, but movies like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead bring the trend into the mainstream. Many people start juicing as part of a weight loss plan, for cleansing the digestive system or to replenish nutrients after an illness. However, the main benefit of juicing is that it’s a simple way for you to start consuming healthier foods you may not have ate otherwise. image credit With so many different juicing products on the market, it’s easier than ever to take advantage of these health benefits. This is especially true now that modern juicers do much of the work for you. Here’s a quick rundown of how juicing works, its pros and cons and how you can get started today. How Juicing Works In simple terms, juicing refers to the process of extracting juice from fruits and vegetables. The modern juicing trend usually refers to centrifugal juicers, which push fruits and vegetables through a feed tube and into a chamber where the juicers grind them. The juice moves through a tube and into a pitcher, while the pulp is left behind. Masticating juicers are also popular. These machines work more slowly and require you to cut up the fruits and vegetables before juicing them due to the smaller feed tube diameter, but they tend to extract more juice from each item. They often produce juice with more pulp than centrifugal juicers. Manual, handheld juicers can also be used to produce juice. The benefit here is more portability and a much lower cost investment, but these juicers require a great deal of effort to use. Manual juicers are best for infrequent juicing. Health Benefits of Juicing In fact, juicing advocates espouse the health benefits of ingesting a high level of nutrients in larger quantities than is possible by eating the same number of whole plants. Juicing delivers vitamins and phytochemicals to the body rapidly and in large quantities. Juice is highly caloric but quickly digested. Juicing for weight loss is the primary goal for most people who are new to this diet trend. Juicers often follow juicing diet plans that last for weeks or even months in an effort to lose weight. This trend is echoed in the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. There are many online communities devoted to juicing for weight loss. On the other hand, some people prefer to incorporate juice into a more typical diet as a way to get more healthy nutrients into their system. For instance, many juicers opt for a juice made from fresh vegetables or fruits for breakfast or drink juice as a snack. It is also common for athletes to drink freshly juiced fruits and vegetables after a workout or athletic event to replenish lost nutrients and hydration. Health Dangers of Juicing While there are definitely many health benefits associated with juicing, we must also point out some of the potential dangers associated with the process. First off, health advocates are quick to point out that juicing should never be used as a substitute for eating fruits and vegetables. Juicing is a great way to deliver many essential vitamins and minerals, but should never be your only source of these important foods. This is due to the amount of fiber that is extracted from your fruits and veggies during the juicing process. Ensuring you consume the recommended dietary fiber no only lowers your risk for developing many dangerous health conditions, it also assists in your weight loss program. Another potential danger of juicing is the consumption of too much sugar. Fruits are full of sugar, in fact one apple has approximately 23 grams of sugar, which is also about the same amount one orange has. In comparison, one 12 oz. can of Coca Cola has 39 grams of sugar. If you were to juice just one apple and one orange, you would be consuming more sugar than a can of Coke. One could argue that it’s a different kind of sugar in the two drinks, which is fair, but there’s no denying the potential dangers of adding an abundance of extra sugar to your diet. image credit However, don’t let these potential dangers stop you from juicing. There’s no denying that juicing has many health benefits and can help assist in a weight loss program or just improving your overall diet. Just remember to watch your sugar intake and find other sources of fiber. As the old saying goes — everything in moderation. Popular Juice Combinations Fortunately, juicing is extremely versatile. Just about any vegetable or fruit works in a juicer, and there are countless combinations that make a tasty juice. Experiment with your favorite produce to come up with unique blends. It is also a good idea to read up on the health benefits for specific fruits and vegetables to target specific health goals. Juice fasts typically include different types of juice throughout the day. A breakfast juice, for example, often includes fruit like apples, oranges, melons or grapes. Suggested dinner juices tend to include heavier produce like zucchini, kale or spinach. Juicers sometimes include spices like ginger, garlic or even hot sauce to add more flavor. One very popular juicing recipe for any time of the day is a green juice. Sometimes referred to as “Green Goddess Juice,” green juices include a base of fresh greens like kale, spinach and other dark, leafy greens. There are many excellent variations beyond the green base, but typical recipes call for ingredients like green apples, cucumber, lemon juice, celery and additional liquid like coconut water or almond milk. Green juice is often part of a juice fast, but it is also typical of the kind of juice in a typical healthy diet. There are hundreds of juicing recipes out there. Try out a few of these recipes, experiment with your own ingredients and you’re guaranteed to find a juice that you’ll want to drink all day long. The Best Juicers It’s easy to add more juice to your diet. First you need to find the right juicer for you. We have a wide selection of juicers available for you. Here’s a list of some of our favorites: The Top 3 Juicers on the Market Kuvings Multi-Purpose Masticating Slow Juicer (Model #NJE-3570U) Metrokane Citrus Power Juicer (Model #1009) Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor (Model #67608) When done with a balanced diet, juicing provides a number of remarkable health benefits. Just be sure to keep an eye on how much sugar you consume, as well as make sure you’re still consuming the recommended amount of dietary fiber. If you have any doubts, it would be wise to consult with a doctor or a nutritionist prior to starting a juice diet.