Move over Wheaties, there’s a new champ in town. Green Juice is the new breakfast of champions. It took me awhile but I finally drank the Kool-Aid, er, green juice. Not much of a fad food connoisseur, I was skeptical of the claims made by juicing aficionados. Claims of a boosted immune system, enhanced detoxification efforts, improved gut health, and anti-aging benefits. Not to mention the promise of all-day, off-the-charts energy. Kind of like Mother Nature’s version of a Red Bull.
So is green juice too good to be true? Exhaustive research supports the health claims. Leafy greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Naturally nutrient-rich, green juice gives the body what it craves at a cellular level. The body absorbs the juice immediately thereby giving every cell what it needs right away without waiting for the stomach to begin the digestion process. When you drink green juice you are flooding your body with chlorophyll and alkaline rich foods. Chlorophyll, the stuff that makes green plants green, has been shown to improve circulation, reduce inflammation and oxygenate the body.
Green juice is not a smoothie. A smoothie is a thick drink of blended fruit and dairy. Green juice is when you run green vegetables and a small amount of fruit through a juice extractor separating the juice from its fiber. Juicing removes only the liquid part of the plant and leaves (no pun intended) behind the fiber and pulp resulting in a very thin but highly concentrated liquid. Juicing leaves behind the fiber but gives you all of the nutritional benefits. You cannot do this with an ordinary blender. No matter how good your blender is, it cannot do the job of a juicer.
There are two types of juicers: centrifugal and masticating. Centrifugal juicers utilize rapidly spinning blades at high speed shredding the fruits and vegetables while separating the juice from the fiber. However, the centrifugal juicer can generate heat and excess oxygen destroying some of the enzymes in the ingredients you’re juicing. A masticating juicer, also known as cold press or low-speed, does what the name implies; it chews up the vegetable and spits out the juice. It crushes then presses the ingredients for the highest juice yield. Unlike the centrifugal juicer, a masticating juicer does not generate heat so the juice doesn’t oxidize as much, allowing a longer shelf life.
A few tips: drink the juice right away and on an empty stomach. This allows the body to absorb the nutrients immediately and prohibits light and air from destroying many of the nutrients you are imbibing for. I make a double batch, pour a serving into an airtight container and refrigerate. I find it’s just as delicious 24 hours later. Finally, “chew” your juice and savor it in your mouth. This releases enzymes in your saliva that will deliver those potent nutrients to your cells.
So glad I drank the Kool-Aid. I am now convinced that imbibing in a green juice on the daily helps maintain optimum health. Drinking green juice is one of the best ways you can protect your health and maintain a healthy body.
Mother Nature’s version of a Red Bull? Yes, it’s that invigorating. Heck, intoxicating. And I’ll be damned if it’s not the most delicious drink I’ve ever had. Here’s to that!
The best green juice contains something earthy tasting (the greens), something slightly sweet and slightly tart. And a few water-worthy vegetables for balance. There’s no need to peel, but be sure to thoroughly wash the ingredients.
The Best Green Juice
Makes 2 servings
1 apple, cut into chunks
6 celery stalks
1 cucumber, cut into chunks
3 handfuls kale leaves
3 handfuls spinach leaves
4 ounces pineapple juice
Process the apple, celery, cucumber, kale and spinach through a juicer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stir in the pineapple juice. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 24 hours.