Many of you may have got a juicer or blender or nutri-bullet from Santa last Christmas or picked one up in a clearance sale. How many times have you used it? Be honest! I actually bought a juicer a couple of years ago after I had promised myself it would not be left to accumulate dust and that it would herald the start of new health dawn for me and my family.
I was asked to write a piece on the benefits of juicing by Ian Williamson from the Peak fitness app as he was looking to see to if juicing would confer any benefits to athletic performance. I must confess I had always taken for granted the advertised benefits of “juicing” – that is to drink the juice from fruit and/or vegetables that have just been pressed or blended. I had always assumed that as so many items had to be squeezed or blended, it had to be better as you would not normally be able to eat that much fruit in one setting? So I looked more carefully at the pros and cons:
- The 5 a day advice for fruit and veg has been around for a while and most of us actually do not get our five a day regularly. Juicing allows your 5 a day and more to be crammed into a glass.
- Phytonutients are plant-based chemicals that include anti-oxidants and plant sterols and their claimed benefits range from immune system boosting to cancer defeating.
- If the fibre is included in the juice either in the form of the fruit pulp or blended with the juice – it can slow down sugar release.
- The fibre can also add some body to juice and therefore fill you up for longer and so can help reduce snacking.
- Unfortunately, there is no sound scientific evidence that extracted juice confers greater health benefits than eating the fruit and vegetables whole.
- The sugar content of juiced fruits is comparable to that found in fizzy drinks and if the fibre or pulp is not included, the sugar “hit” can be too high.
- Just because the glass of juice may be packed full of all those nutrients, it does not mean that they would be absorbed by our digestive system. The nutrients are required in small or even micro-quantities.
So I don’t think that freshly squeezed juice is a method of augmenting or concentrating the nutrients contained within fruit and vegetables that you would not get by eating those foods separately. Moreover, there can be downsides if you have too much juice. But juicing is a great way to get more fruit and vegetables if you feel the balance in your diet is lacking. And has my juicer been used or has it accumulated dust? I used it before writing this article but I’m afraid yes – it has become a kitchen gadget that has been neglected! Sometimes it’s just easier to eat an apple!