Monthly Archives: July 2015

Can Juicing Help Diabetes

diabetesAccording to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, the vast majority of those people undiagnosed. Nearly two million new people will be diagnosed annually and it contributes directly to hundreds of thousands of deaths every year as well as even more indirectly.

Those who are diagnosed go to incredible lengths to manage their blood sugar. With that being the case, shouldn’t they have one more tool in their arsenal to help with with their diabetes? How about juicing?

While no substitute for insulin, drinking healthy juices designed to help regulate blood sugar can reduce the need for regular injections, prevent major crashes, and avoid many of the worst symptoms of diabetes.

What Can Juicing Do to Help?
Juicing is a counter-intuitive answer when it comes to diabetes, largely because diabetics are often advised to avoid juices, particularly fruit juices, because of the natural sugars in them. Remember: just because it isn’t processed doesn’t mean that it isn’t harmful.

That being said, there are a number of foods that can help either reduce insulin resistance or support the production of insulin in the body.

First thing is first: you want to start with primarily vegetables. Fruits contain a version of sugar called fructose which increases your blood glucose levels. While you don’t have to avoid them all together, it’s a good idea to limit them as much as possible and choose fruits that aren’t incredibly sweet.

Asparagus is a great start to a juice that can help regulate your blood sugar, and it has the benefit of also containing a number of other nutrients that are great for the body.

If you’re looking for something more fruit-like, consider tomatoes or carrots, both of which are a little sweet and can add a touch of sugar to your juice without it being overpowering or dangerous. Parsley, endive, beet greens, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and collared greens are excellent sources of manganese which studies have shown enhances insulin secretion and decreases blood glucose. This is especially good since they can replace higher sugar foods like pineapple, blueberries, and strawberries that are also rich in manganese. Broccoli has the added benefit of being high in Vitamin C.

Another thing to consider is that herbs and spices can add to your juice both in terms of diabetes management and flavor.

Cinnamon has been used for years to help manage blood sugar by lowing blood glucose and increasing insulin sensitivity. Further, it’s a really unique flavor to add to drinks and can give the impression of sweet desserts without the accompanying sugar.

Herbs like garlic, ginseng, ginkgo, and fenugreek are also thought to have properties that are good for diabetics and can make for an interesting savory drink if combined with vegetables.

Secondary Benefits to Juicing
Other than the direct benefits you may receive from adding ingredients to increase insulin sensitivity or decrease blood glucose, there are secondary benefits that come with adding juicing to your diet.

For example, Type 2 diabetes is often caused by obesity, though it has been shown that it is possible to reverse the process toward that by getting within normal weight levels. Juicing can help as part of a balanced diet, not only providing a healthy option other than fast food but also adding energy to your body that can be used for exercise. Sometimes the best way to combat a disease like diabetes is to try and get the rest of your body working in top shape to avoid the worst effects.

Juicing is not and should not be considered an alternative to actual medicine. What it is, however, is a way to reduce the worst aspects of diabetes by keeping the blood sugar low and promoting a higher sensitivity to insulin produced by the body. It can be a significant part of a healthy lifestyle that improves the way you manage your disease.

5 Odd Ingredients To Include In Your Juices

cinnamonIf you’ve been juicing for a while, there’s a good chance that you’re starting to get bored with all the standard ingredients that you can add to your mixtures. Here are five odd ingredients that will kick up your juice and give you some new flavors to enjoy!

  1. Cinnamon – Most people don’t think of this, but cinnamon tends to go really well with sweet vegetables. You’re probably had carrot cake before, so why not replicate that in a healthy juice drink? A little almond milk will even give you the impression of frosting! The other great advantages of cinnamon is that it has been shown to reduce pain and help regulate blood sugar. You can’t go wrong with grinding a little bit of this into your juices.
  1. Curry Powder – Much like cinnamon, adding this spice can actually give your juices a flavor that you didn’t expect, but one that brings to mind favorite dishes. Classic yellow Madras curry can be found in most stores and can give a hint of spiciness to your juices, helping to bring out a lot of the natural flavors that you already are getting from tomatoes, lemon, cucumber, ginger, or greens like kale or chard. Adding a touch of sea salt will kick up the flavors even more when you’re using curry.
  1. Turmeric Root – Most people are familiar with the yellow-orange powder, though they may rarely use it. However, not everyone has gone over to the root section of their produce department and found the fresh turmeric root over by the ginger. Fresh turmeric is not like the powder at all and can add a deep, rich earthiness to your juices for a much different flavor. On top of that, it has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory that some suggest also may have antidepressant properties. Only use a little to start as too much can upset your stomach, but just a small amount can go a long way.
  1. Star Fruit – Most people overlook this particular fruit because of its strange appearance and waxy exterior, but star fruit — also known as “carambola” — is actually ideally suited for juicing. It has a distinctive light sweetness that doesn’t overpower a drink and a little bit of a citrus flavor that helps it go with most ingredients. Best of all, its flesh is nice and soft as well as very juicy, making it easy to get the most out of when you process it.
  1. Prickly Pear– Cacti, like many other plants, produce fruit. In this case, the fruit of a cactus is the prickly pear. While the outside is hard and inedible, the middle is incredibly sweet and tastes a lot like melon or bubblegum. Juice that comes from it is a unique fuchsia color that can be flavor boosted very easily with the addition of just a touch of lime. You can eat the seeds, though some juicers can’t process them very well, so be sure to keep an eye on that. Beyond that, though, these are a great unique approach to juicing.

There are, of course, tons of ingredients that you haven’t tried yet. Don’t let your juicing fall into a rut. Experiment a little bit, try a new flavor, see if a particular combination works out. Take these ingredients and see if they work with what you’ve been doing already.

You don’t have to follow the same old routine. You can try all sorts of odd ingredients in your juices and you’re sure to find a few that are absolutely delicious.

5 Drawbacks of Juicing

strawberry smoothieWhile there are a lot of excellent advantages to juicing, it isn’t perfect by any means. There are some drawbacks that you should consider before jumping head first into the hobby since they may change your mind. Juicing isn’t for everybody, and there’s no shame in admitting that you’re not willing to make the investments necessary to add this to your lifestyle.

1. It Can Be Expensive – Fresh fruits and vegetables can be very expensive, especially if you’re planning to combine a number of them into juices. This isn’t to say that they are outside of the price range of most people, but they are a significant part of the grocery bill and if you’re looking to budget more tightly, it might not be a good idea to start a juicing regiment.

This is on top of the initial investment in an actual juicer which can run anywhere from $50 to $400 on average and more in some cases if you have specialty needs.

2. Cleaning and Sanitation – Speaking of juicers, it can be difficult or time consuming to actually clean and sanitize your juicer when you’re done using it. They often have a lot of parts that have to be disassembled and washed thoroughly immediately after drinking. The longer you let it stay there, they harder it is to clean.

In some cases, the dirty parts require specialty equipment to clean or are difficult to access. Of course, you want to make sure that you do it anyway because you otherwise run the risk of getting sick from microbes or other problems that occur with the consumption of rotting food particles. Not everybody has the time to do the job that they need in order to be safe.

3. Time – Juicing can save a lot of time when it comes to actual consumption, but it can also take quite a bit of time in preparation. You need to cut all of your fruits and vegetables to appropriate sizes, actually juice them, and then the above-mentioned cleaning process. While this can be a good shift of time investment from one period of the day to another, ultimately you’re not really gaining anything.

4. Storage – Not everybody has the storage necessary for juicing. This starts with the juicer itself which can, in some cases, be particularly bulky and heavy. While you may be able to find a place for it in the back of a cabinet, that makes you far less likely to use it on a regular basis. Keeping it someplace accessible like the kitchen counter means giving up valuable space that could be used for other sorts of cooking or food preparation.

Even if you have a convenient place for the juicer itself, you may find that it’s difficult to keep all of your ingredients in the refrigerator. This is especially true if you have to prep them ahead, which can end up filling your fridge with containers or plastic bags full of what you plan to put into your juices, leaving little room for other foods.

5. Loss of Fiber – While often insoluble, the fiber that you get from fruits and vegetables comes from the pulp. It’s the physical matter that helps break down foot in your stomach and ease digestion. By juicing, you’re taking that part out of the ingredients, meaning that you’ll have to make sure that you get your fiber elsewhere.

Juicing is still an excellent hobby and one with a number of fantastic benefits, but keep in mind that you do need to invest a lot of time and money into it to get the biggest advantages.