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Looks at the health benefits of juicing as well as the various juicers on the market. Also looks at popular fruits and vegetables and other ingredients used in juices as well as some recipes.

Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a balanced nutritional day. They provide us with fresh water, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrient antioxidants in a low calorie package. Getting in a good amount of fresh fruits and vegetables each day is not always easy though. Juicing provides a convenient and effective way to bump up our plant food intake in a concentrated form.

Juicing separates the fiber component from all the other components in the juice. Since fiber takes up the most space, what you have left is a nutrient rich liquid. For optimum health. We should be consuming 50-11 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (a serving is 1 medium fruit, 1 cup vegetables or ½ cup fruit or vegetable juice. 

It is not recommended that we get all our daily intake from juices, but combining fresh whole fruits and vegetables with some juice can help us meet our daily requirements more effectively.

The Benefits Of Juicing

Greater nutrient delivery. Since the bulk is separated from the juice, we are able to consume phytonutrients in a more concentrated form when we juice. It also means we can take in more nutrition without feeling full.

Juicing involves very little digestion. The nutrients in juice are in some way pre-digested because they have been broken down through the juicing process. Juiced fruits and vegetables also contain more enzymes, which help digest the nutrients quickly and efficiently.

Increased dietary variety. By combining different combinations of fruits and vegetables, we are able to get a greater variety of foods in each day.

Hydration. The high amounts of fluid in juices help to hydrate the body to a greater extent than just whole fruits and vegetables.

Freshly Juiced versus Bottles and Cartons

The fresher and more recently squeezed the juice is, the better the nutrient content will be. Nutrient quality declines quickly as soon as the juice is exposed to oxygen so the longer it is left standing, the less nutrition it will have left. Also, the preservatives and additives found in most can cause allergic reactions. There are many preservative and additive free juices on the market but they can never compare to the goodness of juiced at home juices. It is also rare to find fresh vegetable juices and most store bought juices are fruit juices and therefore high in fructose sugar.

What Do I Need?

All you will need is a decent juice extractor and a good supply of fruits and vegetables. This is not the same as a blender, which pulverizes the contents. An extractor will separate all the juice from the pulp, which gets left behind.

Choosing a juicer depends on your needs and budget. Centrifugal juicers are the most popular and the most affordable juicers.

They do get the job done quickly and effectively for most fruits and vegetables but they are not very efficient at juicing greens, like wheatgrass and other greens. Centrifugal juicers do not have a very good shelf life and generally come with only a 1-year warranty. Masticating juicers use a single gear that chews the plant fibers and breaks them up. They are very efficient in producing a good amount of juice and can juice almost any fruit or vegetable including wheatgrass and other greens. Twin gear juicers are the most expensive type, and they operate at very low speeds to extract the maximum amount of juice and leave the minimal amount of pulp behind. Twin gear juicers can also be used to make baby foods, nut butters and sorbets.

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