Monthly Archives: August 2015

Juicing And Weight Loss – An Honest Assessment

Weight LossThere are plenty of people who would like to know how healthy juicing is, and specifically whether it is beneficial to help you lose weight. The fact of the matter is that the only way to lose weight effectively is through proper diet and exercise, but that doesn’t mean that juicing can’t be a part of that.

What I’ve discovered over the years is that juicing can help me lose or maintain my weight, but that doesn’t mean I can pig out on chips every night without ever getting up and moving around. Here is what juicing can do and how it can contribute to a complete weight loss routine.

The Effects of Juicing

It is undeniable that juicing can help you consume a lot of the nutrients that your body needs to function at its peak, especially if you don’t have the time or desire to eat them in whole form. But what do I mean by “function at its peak”?

There are two categories of nutrient: macro and micro. Macro nutrients are things like protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Think of these as concentrated packets of energy that are used to fuel certain parts of the body. Things like vitamins and minerals that the body needs are micro nutrients and are generally what you’ll get from juicing.

Micro nutrients are used for all sorts of things in the body. For example, vitamin C helps make the protein collagen which is used to make and repair cells, especially skin cells. When you get injured, collagen is what starts to build the walls for the skin cells that will knit together cuts and scrapes. B vitamins like pyridoxine, biotin, and niacin break protein down into amino acids which are then stacked on top of one another to form and repair tissue, including the muscles that you tore while weight training.

What juicing does is not melt away fat like magic but rather helps support the systems already in place in your body. If you have enough Vitamin B in your system, your body will be able to repair muscles more easily and you’ll be able to push yourself further.

How Not to Use Juicing to Lose Weight

Juicing can contribute to weight loss, but it is not a substitute for other weight loss strategies. It should be considered an aid to a balanced approach to increased health.

For example, juice cannot substitute for several meals. Perhaps a meal a day can be replaced with juice, but you are missing a lot of the macro nutrients that you need in order for your body to function properly. Most juices do not have protein or carbohydrates in any appreciable amounts, meaning that your body will turn to other nutrients to burn for energy rather than using them to do the jobs they normally would be there for.

Similarly, when you juice something, the fibre part of the fruit or vegetable is left behind with the pulp. Fibre not only helps you break down food in your stomach, it helps you stay fuller for a longer period of time. If you eliminate significant amounts of fibre from your diet, you’ll be more inclined to snack during the day and could end up actually gaining weight.

Another way that the lack of protein in juices — which can’t be completely corrected by protein powder, it should be noted — is a problem is that you may end up losing muscle mass. Proteins are primarily used to build up tissue. When you work out, your muscles are getting torn with the intention that after you provide the raw materials to the body and sleep, you’ll build them back up even stronger. If you’re only drinking juice thinking that you’ll lose weight you may see a numerical drop because you’re actually losing lean muscle mass.

How You Should Juice for Weight Loss

Now that we’ve covered what not to do, here’s what you should be doing.

Start by collecting a bunch of recipes that will help you with energy. You’re going to be doing a lot of working out and having enough energy is a great way to keep yourself moving. Get stuff that is long lasting, not loaded with sugar that will give you a temporary high and a major crash.

Next, prepare a series of drinks to replace one meal, no more, a day and make sure it is absolutely loaded with nutrients. You’ll want something that can keep you full as long as possible and have some healthy snacks to supplement your day in case you get hungry.

Finally, have some drinks that you use to have with your regular meals. They can help fill in the nutritional gaps you might have.

Juicing can help you with your weight loss, but don’t rely on it to magically get you thin. Not only will it not work, it could make you sick.

Can Juicing Lower Your Blood Pressure?

blood pressure

 

 

Juice has a number of amazing benefits that can improve your life and health, and the effects on your blood pressure are just some of them. While many effects of juicing happen slowly over time, blood pressure reactions can be very sudden and you might start getting in better control almost immediately. Here are just a few things to understand about the relationship between juicing and blood pressure.

Beet Juice Is Pretty Impressive

I’m a bit of a skeptic in most cases, so please don’t take this as a full throated support of this idea but rather a cautious optimism about what the science seems to be indicating.

According to a study recently completed in Australia, researcher found that consuming beet juice (sometimes called “beetroot juice”) can lower blood pressure in patients with as little as a single dose.

The suggestion is that this may be the result of a high concentration of nitrates in beets and similar foods like leafy greens. Nitrates, once they enter the body, undergo a chemical process in which they are mixed with oxygen to form nitric oxide. What the nitric oxide does is to relax your blood vessels, causing them to dilate and more readily allow blood to flow through them, lowering your blood pressure.

Leafy greens are also high in nitrates, though the effect is not nearly as dramatic with them.

It’s important to note that this was a small sample size, 15 men and 15 women, but it is not the first of its kind to suggest this sort of reaction. This study combined with similar ones have suggested that there might be a drop of as many as 10 systolic blood pressure points within three hours of drinking 17 and a half ounces of beet juice and even more after six hours.

Other Great Juices for Blood Pressure

Of course, beet juice can get tiring and not everybody like beets for reasons I can’t begin to understand. Fortunately, as I mentioned above, there are other, less effective but still useful juice ingredients that are packed full of the nitrates that help relax your blood vessels.

Leafy greens like kale, collards, and similar vegetables tend to be very high in nitrates and can help not only reduce but maintain a low blood pressure by adding them to your juices. In most cases, you want to make sure that you use them as a base or a significant ratio of the finished product in order to get the nutrients that you need.

Apples and pears are also great at lowering blood pressure when added to juice. Not only do they have high nitrate counts, but they also are good at lowering LDL (bad cholesterol), which reduces the amount of plaque that accumulates on artery walls, decreasing blood pressure. It’s interesting that these actually work better in juice form, reducing LDL by 20%, than in whole form where there is only a 9% reduction.

Finally, ginger can help support other blood pressure lowering approaches such as the above foods. It changes the flavour profile of the juice to make it more interesting, but it also helps with the chemical processes that turn nutrients into substances that can actually help with blood pressure.

Juice is not the only way to keep your blood pressure under control and you should consider working with your doctor in order to use it to supplement other methods, but the evidence seems to suggest that it can be a serious help for people with chronic problems. So talk to your doctor then start experimenting with flavours to find some recipes that will help keep you healthy and taste great.

Juice Cleansing – Hype or Helpful?

detox smoothie

It is uncanny how many different companies are offering juice cleaning products made from a special combination of ingredients that is supposed to clear your body of toxins and help you live a more healthy lifestyle. Scratching the surface of these claims, however, shows that they really aren’t all that they are cracked up to be.

Before going too deep into things, it’s important to note that the body has a number of organs, including the kidneys and liver, that are “detoxing” your body as you are reading this. This is the only way to detox the body. No combination of diuretics, antioxidents, and vitamins will remove vague and undefined “toxins” from the body. Keep that in mind as you read this.

That being said, there are juices that you can use to support the organs that detoxify your body.

How the Body Naturally Detoxifies Itself
The first thing to understand is what a “toxin” actually is. At its root, a toxin is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms. That means that things like pesticides are not actually “toxins,” though something like alcohol, which is sugar that’s been processed through the body of living yeast, is. Your body is designed to be able to take these generally mild poisons and break them down.

This is primarily done in the liver, which uses oxygen and enzymes to burn toxins, making them more water soluble and able to be excreted by the body. Most environmental toxins, such as Benzene, are fat soluble up until this point, which makes them much harder to break down and get rid of. The liver supports this process, sometimes giving them another round of enzymes called conjugation to ensure that the toxins can be turned into bile and removed another way.

Similarly, the kidneys perform a vital detoxifying function. They each possess several things called nephrons that contain filtering units called glomeruli. These will run blood through them at about 200 quarts every 24 hours and remove waste products through a combination of chemicals that are regulated in the body. The resulting mix of chemicals and waste are excreted as urine.

The other side of excretion comes with the intestines that remove solid waste products from the body. In this case, your gut bacteria break down whatever you’ve eaten in your stomach and the resultant slush is slowly filtered as it moves through the intestines so that all that’s left at the end is stuff that can’t be used.

Juicing to Support Detoxification
Now that we’ve covered what organs in the body actually do remove toxins, it’s important to understand that our bodies do not “hold on” to toxins that must be forcibly purged. Rather, the worst that can happen is that your body can’t keep up with the amount of toxins you’ve put into it and will need you to stop for a while so it can catch up. This is what happens when somebody drinks so much it makes them sick: the body is trying to get rid of those extra toxins that it can’t process at the moment.

What a juicer can do is regularly drink items that will support the functioning of the detoxifying organs in the body.

For example, beets and beet greens and excellent for the liver. They can help it repair any damage more quickly as well as increase enzyme production. Similarly, carrots, celery, and ginger root are all great for keeping the liver in excellent shape. Finally, making sure you get enough protein in your drinks will encourage the production of glutathione to help remove specific types of toxin.

Watermelon and other water-heavy ingredients are excellent for keeping the kidneys in good working order by contributing to the cleaning of the blood. Greens, for much the same reason, also contribute to good kidney health. Some more unique but no less effective ways to make sure that your kidneys are scrubbing at full capacity are parsley, radishes, and dandelion leaves.

To keep your gut in check, try adding fennel to your juices. It’s a natural diuretic that will help grease the wheels of your digestion. The roughage in apples can help break down food more in your stomach, meaning that your intestines don’t have to work as hard, and mint leaves can kill microorganisms associated with digestive problems and soothe cramping naturally.

The Bottom Line on Juice Cleansing
There is no silver bullet that can get you healthy. Diet and exercise are the best way to maintain good health. That being said, while juice cleanses are often fairly useless, regularly drinking juices that support the parts of your body that actually remove toxins can improve their functions and give you the long-lasting health you’ve been working toward.

Don’t fall for juice cleanse hoaxes. Make juices that are good for you instead.

5 Benefits of Juicing

benefits of juicingJuicing is a fantastic way to add a new element to your healthy lifestyle. While it is no substitute for good diet and exercise, it can support those activities and help you get more energy and better nutrition. Making juice at home also helps you more effectively control the things that go into your body and ensures that nothing you’re not aware of is consumed.

Here are just a few of the great benefits that come with juicing.

1. Increased Health – Drinking juices that you make at home means that you’re going to be consuming a higher quotient of fresh fruits and vegetables. While you’re missing out on some of the roughage that is lost with the pulp, you’re still getting up to 95% of the daily vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to work at its maximum potential.

On top of the general health benefits, it’s also a great way to start consuming foods that can help with specific issues that you may have. Do you need extra iron? You can have a drink based dark, leafy greens. Finding that you have a little trouble controlling your blood sugar? You might want a daily drink with cinnamon and ginger in it to help you regulate that. Broccoli and citrus can add some vitamin C to your diet to stave off illness and if you need vitamin K to deal with uncontrolled bleeding, kale drinks are a good way to support any medication you’re taking.

2. Increased Energy – Once you get the hang of juicing, you can start to choose combinations of ingredients that produce certain physiological reactions. Perhaps the most common of these is extra energy.

There are a couple of ways that juicing can help you with energy. The most common is by including food that will fuel your body efficiently, giving you what you need to burn for long lasting alertness. While it’s tempting to consider fruit juices because of the quick boost you get from the sugars in there, a better idea is the slow burn of a juice based on greens that will keep you going for a while without a major crash. Parsley is a great addition to almost any drink for an energy boost.

The other side of things is that better sleep will give you more energy for the day. Juicing can also help with that. For example, a juice with Valarian in it will help relax your body and contribute to better, less fitful sleep. Camomile is another great addition to your drinks that can help your body let go and repair itself after a day of work.

3. Adopting Healthier Eating Patterns – Most Americans don’t eat nearly as many fresh fruits and vegetables as they should. They tend toward fast food or they will incorporate one into one meal during the day and think that’s enough. What we should be eating is at least two fresh fruits and at least two and a half to three cups of fresh vegetables for most adults. Preferably, they should be different colors to get a range of nutrients.

Juicing can make this a lot easier, not only by combining many of the ingredients into a single serving, but also by altering the taste so that what might normally not be appetizing to a person will still be added to the body hiding behind another flavor.

This encourages healthier eating habits an easy to integrate way. It stresses the importance of healthy eating while making it simpler to do. This is especially good for children who will learn early to love fresh, healthy food options.

4. Controlling What Goes Into Your Body – When you buy processed juices from the store, there are a lot of extra sugars and preservatives in there that you may not want inside your body. Even the “natural” options usually have components that you may not want to consume and can use the resources of your body breaking down and expelling.

When you make your own juice, you control everything that goes into the mix. You know what fruits and vegetables you’ve added, as well as herbs and spices. You can avoid things you’re allergic to or have bad reactions and you can be sure that everything is at its peak freshness when you consume it.

5. It’s Fun – When you really get into juicing, it can be a whole lot of fun. There’s a great community out there that you can share tips and recipes with as well as discuss ingredients and find new juicers. It can be exciting to experiment with new creations as well and find what works for you.

These are only some of the great benefits of juicing. Try it yourself and see how fantastic it can be.