By now you've probably heard of all manner of strange juicing diets and cleanses, but if you're just looking for ways to get those servings of daily fruits and vegetables, start by sipping on homemade juice.
"One of the most common questions people have about juicing is, 'Why juice?' After all, the fruit juice we can buy in bottles, cartons, and cans has impressive vitamin and mineral content," says Michael T. Murray, author of The Complete Book of Juicing, Revised and Updated.
Murray says even with fancy nutrition labels, fresh homemade juice is better than the store-bought stuff, and arguably, tastier too.
When you juice fruits and vegetables at home, not only can you mix and match almost any kind of produce (like the stuff you're trying to get rid of), but keeping the skin on (when it makes sense) also ups the nutritional factor — score one for laziness!
And while a lot of people, including celebrities, rely on juicing for weight loss or better health, the truth is it doesn't work. Short-term diets, like juice cleanses, often don't address long-term weight loss issues and according to a study by Harvard University, eating whole fruits like apples and blueberries are better for you than only drinking fruit juices.
But balanced with a healthy diet and plenty of whole fruits and vegetables, sticking to homemade juice can be beneficial — especially for those who are just trying to eat healthier.
Here are 7 reasons why homemade juice is better than that store-bought stuff:
Whole fruits are great to eat because they have insoluble fibre that helps with digestion. Author and natural medicine expert Dr. Michael T. Murray says as a complement to eating fresh fruits and vegetables, we should also consider drinking fresh juices to get our recommended seven to 10 fruits and veggies a day. Fresh juices are also packed with soluble fibre -- a type of fibre that's been shown to lower cholesterol.
Juice Helps With Digestion
If you're having digestion problems, drinking fresh juice may help. Murray says since juice is easier for our bodies to digest than whole fruits, we're more likely to get the nutrients we need to help us poop.
Your Body Saves Energy
There's a reason why your body feels good when you eat healthy foods — and why you feel so tired after eating junk. According to Murray, our bodies use energy to convert the foods we eat into liquids to be absorbed. When you drink juice, your body is essentially skipping this step and saving energy.
More Nutritious Than That Store-Bought Stuff
Fresh juice contains more vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional compounds like enzymes and flavonoids than the canned or bottled options you find in grocery stores. Store-bought juices also often have added sugar -- an ingredient the World Health Organizations says we should be reducing.
More Antioxidants For Your Body
Homemade juices contain increased antioxidant, antiviral, and anticancer properties, Murray says. One study comparing commercial apple juice with freshly squeezed apple juice found fresh, raw juice had more antiviral compounds than the store-bought versions. Another study found that fresh, raw apple juice and berry juice (especially those made with raspberries and blackberries) had more ellagic acid — an anticancer and antioxidant compound that's stripped from juice when it's processed.
Can It Help You Detox?
Murray says fresh fruits contain glutathione, a small protein composed of three amino acids which aid our bodies in the detoxification of things like lead and pesticides. Most processed fruit juices, however, do not contain this protein.
It Can Help With Weight Loss
Studies have found diets containing a high percentage (up to 60 per cent of calories) of uncooked foods are associated with weight loss and lowered blood pressure in overweight individuals. Murray suggests making a juice with two whole apples and 1/2 cup each of raspberries and blackberries to help with weight.
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