Q&A: Is juicing healthy?

Q: “I am an avid juicer but have heard conflicting reports: Is it healthy? If so, does adding the pulp contain more nutrients?”

Marie, Newington

A: Juicing fruits and vegetables at home is a healthier and often more economical option than buying bottled juices. However, most juicing machines remove the fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients in the pulp. So consuming whole fruits and vegetables is the most nutritious choice.

Juices are low in fiber and digested rapidly. This means you would feel hungry much sooner after having a glass of carrot juice than you would after eating a handful of whole carrots.

Chewing signals the production of hormones that will help silence that grumbling tummy — dipped in hummus or peanut butter, carrots are transformed into a powerhouse snack that provides fiber, protein and fat to keep you feeling satisfied. 

The richly-colored skins of fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants — free radical scavenging molecules that decrease inflammation. A diet rich in antioxidants from whole fruits and vegetables is associated with a significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colon and other cancers. The skin of fruits and vegetables is also rich in many micronutrients, including energizing B vitamins, the antioxidant vitamin E and heart-healthy potassium — all things you don’t want to be missing out on.

Advertisements claim that juicing enhances the absorption of antioxidants and nutrients from fruits and vegetables, detoxifies the body, reduces inflammation and supports weight loss. The truth is that eating whole fruits and vegetables provides the same benefits.

So I suppose you could put the pulp back in, or you could make this yummy smoothie from “Naturally Delicious” by Danny Seo:

Berries n’ Greens

Active time: 5 minutes. Total time: 6 minutes;  Serves 4

10 ounces frozen blueberries, or other frozen fruit
1 cup or more baby kale, or spinach
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 ripe banana
1-inch piece of fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chia seeds

Add ingredients to the bowl of a blender or food processor in the order listed and blend until smooth thinning with ice water or almond milk to the desired consistency. Serve immediately or freeze in ice cube trays for later.

Be well.

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