Celebrities swear by juice cleanses. You’ve probably read about them at Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop or seen photos of Miranda Kerr, Blake Lively and Kim Kardashian toting bottles of that green stuff. But can juices really help you lose weight, or are they unnecessary expenses? If you do plan to juice, what fruits and vegetables should you use?
Can Juice Really Help You Lose Weight?
Juice is a rather intuitive way to improve your health, since it helps the body remove toxins while getting you your fill of nutrients in one go. However, touting them as the only solution for weight loss is stretching things too far.
Personally, I think juices are great for cleansing and detoxifying, all for the sole purpose of giving your intestines and digestive system a break and a shake down. However, I believe that they are not great or healthy for long term weight loss. Going on a crash diet and subsisting on juice for long periods of time will cause you to miss out on other important nutrients which you would ordinarily get from regular food.
If you want to lose weight, you can try juices but only if you use them for supplementary purposes and make them part of a healthy diet. Use them as replacement for one meal each day, but that’s about as far as you should go when it comes to dieting. Lastly, of course, it is definitely best that you make it at home using a blender or a juice. This way, you will know what goes in your drink, avoid unnecessary sugars and additives and make use of the pulp by adding them to your drink or using them as ingredients for other recipes.
Best Fruits and Vegetables for Juicing
If you plan to juice at home, I suggest that you stock up on these fruits and vegetables and use them as base ingredients for your drinks.
- Apples are easily accessible, sweet and antioxidant-packed. Apples cleanse the digestive system, boost immunity and reduce cholesterol. They are sweet and go well with any vegetable or fruit, which makes them a great base for any juice.
- Beets are a great source of antioxidants – especially zeaxanthin and lutein. Beet leaves contain beta-carotene, calcium and iron.
- Broccoli is part of the cruciferous family, loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, and is best taken raw. It contains chlorophyll which regulates blood sugar and insulin. However, not all of us love to eat raw broccoli, so juice it instead. Try adding it to tomato juice for maximum effect.
- Cabbage: Sounds weird and surprising, but cabbage is actually a great ingredient due to its vitamin C, folate and low sugar content. It’s also very affordable and doesn’t have a strong flavor, so you can add it to other ingredients.
- Carrots: This humble vegetable is used for stews and salads, but is a great choice for juices because of its wonderful and gentle taste. Carrots are full of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin-A. Its mild sweetness also helps mask stronger tasting ingredients like broccoli or kale.
- Celery is a great vegetable that cleanses the digestive system, and is recommended if you have issues like gout and uric acid. It is also high in potassium, which helps lower blood pressure. As a diuretic, celery can reduce bloating and water retention. Use the stalks and the tops to maintain a balance of potassium and sodium in your drink.
- Cucumbers: Rich in water, cucumbers are refreshing and cool tasting, and are great bases of smoothies and juices.
- Kale: This green, leafy vegetable is the best option there is among all greens. It is full of health benefits, including important nutrients like folate and iron. Some people find kale a bit tough and intense to the taste, so you can try spinach as an alternative instead as it is sweeter and easier to blend.
- Lemon: We often see lemons as acidic fruits, which they actually are outside the body. However, they are alkalizing once they are digested, and can help counteract the effects of acid in the body. Vitamin C from lemon juice also helps you absorb iron from other produce even better.
- Pineapples: A tropical fruit, which you can find in fresh, frozen or canned, contains an enzyme called bromelain, which helps with protein digestion. Pineapples also have a sweet-sour taste and can add excellent flavor to vegetable based drinks.
- Tomatoes: Succulent and juicy, tomatoes are fantastic for your health. They contain lycopene which lowers your risk of cancer and heart disease. Tomatoes are pleasant tasting (they are not acidic when raw) and blend very well with different kinds of vegetables.
This list constitutes some of the best fruits and vegetables that you should get in your drink, but that’s not to say that those I haven’t mentioned are not just as great. Berries, peppers, melons, papaya and even sweet potatoes can make excellent ingredients for your juice or smoothie as well.
If you notice, I’ve mostly placed vegetables in the list. As rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you get more vegetables than fruit in your drink, since they have less sugar content and won’t spike up your blood sugar. Try to get around 60 to 70 percent vegetables, and use fruits sparingly as sweeteners.
What are your favorite fruits and vegetables for your drink? Do you have any recipes that you want to share?