Are you tired of being exhausted? Are you sick of feeling ill? Are you fed up with skin problems and health issues? Do you struggle to lose weight, or keep it off?
These problems, faced by a growing number of people, are caused by a build-up of toxins in your body from your environment and your diet. Read on to discover one of the best natural ways to cleanse your body of toxins, reclaim your health, and lose weight.
The Importance Of Detoxing
In today’s modern world, your body comes into contact with free radicals that damage and age your cells. Chemicals from car exhaust fumes, cosmetics, shower gels and medications are absorbed by the body and build up over time.
What you put in your body also plays a very important role in your health. The sugar, fat and unpronounceable ingredients contained in processed food put your body under a lot of stress. These foods are low in nutrients whilst being high in calories, resulting in a growing number of people who are overfed but undernourished, and suffering from a host of health problems like Type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer[i].
What Is A Juice Cleanse?
Juice cleanses have become increasingly popular due to the claims they rid the body of toxins and restore the body to better health. The practice involves drinking only fruit or vegetable juices and water for between one and five days. If you’re new to juice cleansing, or plan to cleanse for longer than 3 days, it is recommended that you seek a doctor’s advice prior to starting your detoxing programme.
Your liver plays an important role in detoxing, because it is responsible for filtering and eliminating toxins from the body. For your liver to be able to fulfil this role effectively, it needs easily digestible nutrients and plenty of fluid – what better way to achieve this than to include fresh juices in your diet?
Vegetables vs Fruits
Although fruits are packed with healthy nutrients, and should be part of your diet, fruit juices will not deliver the same weight loss benefits as vegetable juices. Fruits contain a lot of fructose, too much of which can have the same effect as sugar on your body – weight gain and lethargy. Vegetable juices, lower in fructose, will deliver more sustainable levels of energy and weight loss. If you’re worried about the taste, add half an apple or pear to your juice for a little sweetness. As your palate gets reacquainted with natural foods, you’ll find your craving for sweetness reduce dramatically.
Juicing for Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, adding vegetable juices to your diet can certainly help you achieve your goals.
· Fiber – Juicing vegetables will remove most of the insoluble fiber, in the form of left over pulp in your juicer. The good news is that soluble fiber will still make it into the juice. Soluble fiber helps to balance your blood sugar levels, helping in turn to regulate your appetite[ii]. If you plan to juice cleanse for several days, mix a little of the left over pulp back into your juices, or add some psylium husks, as the insoluble fiber it contains will keep you regular and help with the detoxing process.
· The body stores toxins in your fatty tissue. As your liver begins to flush out these toxins, the fatty tissue is no longer necessary and begins to reduce, resulting in weight loss[iii].
Sustainable Weight Loss
Some popular diets advocate extreme calorie control, or severe restriction of certain food groups. Although these may deliver quick results, these are not sustainable long term. Dieting in this way can cause depression, skin problems, and ironically enough weight gain[iv]. A healthy diet should be one that can be life-long, and not feel like a restriction. After you’ve juice cleansed for your preferred number of days, continue to drink vegetable juices as part of a healthy diet, focusing on wholesome natural foods. When you start including vegetable juices into your diet, your body will start craving the real nourishment it’s receiving, and you’ll find yourself naturally drawn to the most nutritious foods. Juicing vegetables will become part of your healthy lifestyle.
We need stores of energy to manage all of our activities, and frequently turn to caffeine or sugar for a boost. The unfortunate truth is that both these foods deliver a short burst of energy followed by tiredness and often hunger. Long term, caffeine stops being effective, and an increasingly stronger dose is needed to create the same awakening effect. Energy drinks contain caffeine, sugar or sweeteners, and other additives. Their consumption is linked to hypertension, heart problems, digestive problems and depression[v], prompting some countries, such as Lithuania, France, Denmark and Norway, to ban their sale[vi].
On the other hand, the easily digestible nutrients in vegetable juices give your body a large dose of energy without any unhealthy additives. Wake up with a carrot juice instead of a coffee, or make juices in advance to enjoy mid-morning (you should try to drink your juices as soon as possible after preparing, but storing them in a tightly shut bottle in the fridge will preserve most the nutrients for a few hours).
Your immune system needs enough vitamins and minerals to help it fight infections and protect the body from diseases. Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B6, B12 and folic acid are essential for a strong immune system. Also important are iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium[vii]. Anti-oxidants, found in fruits and vegetables, strengthen the immune system and are essential for protecting the cells against free radicals.
Nature has given us a huge palette of wonderful health giving plants. From kale’s lush green to carrots’ fiery orange, it is truly possible to eat a rainbow every day. The array of colours reflects a wide spectrum of nutrients, and for optimum nutrition you should aim to include as many different vegetables in your diet as possible. Below are just some of the best vegetables for juicing:
Spinach is a good source of iron, which is necessary for red blood cell production. High levels of vitamins A and C make spinach a great immune boosting vegetable.
Kale contains high amounts of vitamin K, essential for blood clotting and maintaining strong bones. It also contains potassium, which helps your cells to absorb nutrients from food, and helps with brain and nerve function.
Courgette is a good source of vitamin B6, a natural anti-depressant[viii] that can help reduce withdrawal symptoms from stimulants. If you’re trying to give up coffee or energy drinks, vitamin B6 can make it easier.
Cucumber is high in B vitamins, which are important for energy and help ease symptoms of anxiety[ix].
Celery is fantastic for juicing because it contains a lot of water. It has a high content of vitamin A, an antioxidant that plays a key role in maintaining healthy skin.
Beetroot will give your juices a vibrant red colour that is guaranteed to uplift your mood. The root contains betaine, a nutrient that reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke[x]. The top leaves can also be juiced, and provide a high dose of vitamin C.
Radishes contain a particular type of antioxidant called sulphoraphane, which has been found to protect against breast cancer[xi].
Red Peppers And Chilli Peppers
Red peppers and chilli peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which is thought to protect against cancer[xii] and have anti-bacterial properties. It also suppresses hunger and can have a positive effect on weight loss[xiii]. Peppers are also an excellent source of vitamin C.
Carrots contain a high dose of the powerful anti-oxidant beta-carotene, essential for maintaining eye health, and protecting the body against infections.
Sweet potatoes, yes, you can juice them raw, and you really should too – their high content of beta-carotene and vitamin A make them a powerful immune booster[xiv].
Adding herbs, spices and superfoods to your juices will maximize their benefits and give your health an extra boost:
Turmeric is an excellent addition to vegetable juicing. Its high content of manganese helps stabilize blood sugar levels[xv].
Ginger contains zinc, which is important for healing and maintaining a healthy nervous system. Ginger also has antiseptic properties, great when you’re fighting a cough or cold.
Garlic Juice, though not for the faint hearted, delivers a powerful health kick! When juiced or crushed, garlic releases allicin, which has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, and been shown to reduce levels of bad cholesterol. Garlic also contains minerals such as selenium, essential for both heart and brain health[xvi].
Parsley contains a high amount of potassium, which stimulates bowel movements and keeps your body’s fluid levels balanced.
Spirulina is a freshwater algae that has excellent source of vegetarian protein, and contains good amounts of the energy promoting B vitamins. Add this superfood to your morning juice for a burst of energy that’ll keep you going beyond lunchtime.
Juice your Way to Better Health
All you need is a juicer and the desire to live a healthier life, and you can easily make vegetable juicing a part of your daily routine.
Feeding your body high quality, nutrient dense, natural foods will help your body to eliminate toxins. You will experience improved energy levels, better overall health, and weight loss.
Are you ready to take the first steps on your vegetable juicing journey to increase your health and help you lose those extra pounds?
[vii] Holford, Patrick; The Optimum Nutrition Bible; GB, Piatkus Books (2009); page 211-212
[viii] Holford, Patrick; The Optimum Nutrition Bible; GB, Piatkus Books (2009); page 478
[ix] Holford, Patrick; The Optimum Nutrition Bible; GB, Piatkus Books (2009); page 333
[xv] Holford, Patrick; The Optimum Nutrition Bible; GB, Piatkus Books (2009); page 486