Health Benefits of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Juices

Juices are the perfect fast food for today’s eat-on-the-run lifestyle. They contain all the goodness of the whole product in a condensed form. For example, a pound of carrots can be a significant source of calcium and protein, but those ten carrots may be more than your willing to eat at a single meal. Juicing concentrates that one pound into a single glass of easy to drink juice. These nutrients are quickly assimilated since the body does not have to separate out of the fiber.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations of juices, just let your taste buds be your guide. Vegetable juices that taste “strong” such as spinach and beet, are high in compounds that should be consumed in small quantities. Dilute these with milder tasting juices such as carrot, celery, or apple juice.

Fiber is extremely important to the human body, and your diet should contain at least 30 grams of dietary fiber a day. This is easily accomplished by substituting whole grains for refined cereals and flour, legumes for red meat, fruits for sweet desserts, and adding salads on a daily basis. Fruit and vegetable juices should not be used as a substitute for whole produce, but as supplements to them.

Not only are fruit and vegetable juices your best convenience foods, they provide thousands of substances, some of which have well-known functions, and some whose roles in the human body are not yet understood or recognized. Current wisdom recognizes three roles that fruit and vegetables play in the human body:

Fruits and vegetables provide nutrients essential for growth and renewal
Fruits and some vegetables contain substantial amounts of carbohydrates which supply most of the energy we use to live and perform work.

Fruits and vegetables contain generous amounts of vitamins. Vitamins regulate metabolism and help in the conversion of the fats and carbohydrates into energy.

Fruits and vegetables contain minerals that are necessary for the nerve and muscle function and are the building material for some body tissue.

Fruits and vegetables have a protective effect
Fruits and vegetables can protect the body from such major diseases as cancer and heart disease. Some are high in substances called anti-oxidants, such as beta carotene, Vitamins C and E and selenium, which are nutrients that protect cell membranes from the damage of free radicals. Some are rich in other anti-cancer compounds, such as indoles. This is especially true of the cruciferous family to which the cabbage belongs.

Fruits and vegetables have  a medicinal effect
Fruits and vegetables can be your best non-prescription drugs. For example, blueberries are an effective anti-diarrheal agent, and ginger is as effective as well-promoted motion-sickness drug, and new studies show that it also relieves nausea and stomach discomfort caused by pregnancy.

Fresh juices are a perfect food supplement. They are far more potent than the isolated nutrients found in vitamin pills. Nutrients influence each other and, therefore, they should not be separated. Part of this influence is a synergistic effect among nutrients, which means that nutrients combined naturally in foods work together more effectively than when they are separated as a single supplement. Remember, juices provide not only the nutrients well-known functions, but also nutrients with roles that are not yet understood or recognized.

For centuries plants have been used for their medicinal effects. In a maxim often quoted, our father of medicine, Hippocrates, said that we should let food be our medicine. However, we do not advocate that juice should be a substitute for medical care, but rather a valuable way to complement it.

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