By Dr. Mercola
If you feel challenged in consuming enough vegetables, then making a small investment in a high-quality juicer is one of the best steps you can take for your health.
Raw juice is equivalent to a “living broth” teeming with micronutrients that many people are lacking, and this deficiency is a major factor in disease.
More people die from chronic disease today than all other causes combined. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 36 million people die every year from degenerative conditions, and 100 million are driven into poverty by healthcare costs alone.
When you drink fresh, live juice, it’s almost like receiving an intravenous infusion of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes because they go straight into your body without needing to be broken down. Since juicing is essentially “mainlining” live nutrients, it’s no surprise it can produce rapid and profound health benefits.
What if the answer to preventing and reversing disease is as simple as juicing? Jason Vale designed an experiment to help answer that question.
‘Super-Juicing’ for 28 Days Cured Diabetes and Chronic Pain
Juicing expert Jason Vale recruited eight people who collectively suffered from 22 different chronic diseases and put them on a juice-only diet for 28 days (plus exercise) in order to explore juicing’s potential benefits for reversing chronic disease. And then he filmed their experience.
The documentary “Super Juice Me” chronicles Vale’s 28-day “super-juicing” experiment. The health improvements seen by those eight are nothing short of astounding.
Every participant felt energized and lost weight, and most reported a drastic reduction in their symptoms—as well as in the number of medications they used. One man went from 52 prescription pills per day to two pills per day.Another had his diabetes completely resolve.
One woman went from years of chronic pain to being completely pain free, and others suffering from asthma, colitis, and sleep apnea enjoyed a profound reduction in symptoms.
It was not an easy journey as several experienced detoxification reactions, food cravings, and for some, a temporary increase in symptoms as their bodies began to purge toxins they’d been accumulating for years. But those reactions were relatively short-lived, and they felt immensely better on the other side—better than they’d felt in years.
The Many Health Benefits of Juicing
The movie shows an extreme example of juicing, but it can be incorporated into your life to any degree you choose—as an occasional cleanse or as the start of every morning. There are several reasons to consider incorporating vegetable juicing into your health plan:
Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from your vegetables. This is important because most people have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years, which limits your body’s ability to absorb all of the nutrients in whole, raw vegetables. Juicing helps “pre-digest” them, so that you won’t lose any of this valuable nutrition. Juicing makes it easier to consume a large quantity of vegetables.Virtually every health authority recommends that you get six to eight servings of vegetables and fruits per day, but very few actually get that. Juicing virtually guarantees you’ll reach your daily target. You can add a wider variety of vegetables to your diet. Many people eat the same vegetables every day, which violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to certain foods. Juicing expands the number of different phytochemicals you receive, as each vegetable offers unique benefits. Juicing also allows you to consume vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole. Boosts your immune system. Raw juice supercharges your immune system with concentrated phytochemicals and biophotonic light energy, which can revitalize your body. The nutrients in fresh juice also feed your body’s good bacteria and help suppress potentially pathogenic ones. Increases your energy. When your blood is flooded with nutrients and your body’s pH is optimized, you’ll feel energized. Since juice is absorbed and utilized by your body very rapidly, juicers report feeling an almost instantaneous “kick” of energy. Supports your brain. In the Kame Project, people who consumed juice more than three times per week were 76 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who consumed juice less than once a week. Provides structured water. Vegetable juice is one of the purest sources of water and actually qualifies as water. Vegetable water is structured water (living water), which is different from regular water—H3O2 rather than H2O. Water from vegetables is the best quality water you can drink!
What About Protein and Fat?
When you think of protein, the image that might come to your mind may be a big juicy steak—but many vegetables actually contain substantial amounts of protein. For example, broccoli contains roughly 4 to 5 grams of protein per cup. Spinach contains 5 to 6 grams, and kale, watercress, collard, and turnip greens have respectable amounts of protein as well.
So during a juice fast when you are drinking juices all day long, you could easily be consuming 20 to 30 grams of protein or more from your juices alone. If you’re doing a short fast—a few days, for example—chances are you’re going to get plenty of protein from the juices.
If you were to try an extended juice fast (as in the film), you might want to consider adding a source of high-quality protein, such as whey, especially if you’re exercising heavily. You could augment your fats by blending healthy fats into your juice, such as avocado, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil, as well as raw seeds (flax, chia, hemp, etc.).
It’s important to remember that juice is not a beverage—it’s a liquid food. The way to get substantial protein from veggies is to consume them in high volume, and the way to consume a high volume of veggies is by juicing! I recommend getting into the habit of juicing daily. But even if you don’t, a three- to seven-day monthly juice fast is a great detox that can give your health a considerable boost.
My Thoughts on Why this 28 Day Juice Fast Worked
If you haven’t watched the video yet, I would certainly encourage you to do so as there were some very dramatic improvements noted in the individuals who took part in the experiment. There is simply no question in my mind that high quality vegetable juices can lead to dramatic improvements in one’s health as the video clearly demonstrates. However, what the program did not elaborate on is that there was another factor involved. It was clear that most of the people on the program ate a typical Western diet.
Not only did they juice, but they eliminated many of the toxic processed foods that they were eating. I suspect that in many cases it was the elimination of the processed foods was the more important factor. So unless you commit to eliminating all the processed foods in your diet, there is a strong likelihood that you will not observe the same improvements that the people in the video did.
Juicers 101: Three Basic Types of Juicers
Please understand that blenders, like Blendtec and Vitamix are NOT juicers but blenders. They are great blenders but will damage the juice because they process it at much higher temperatures, and the added fiber makes it less palatable and more difficult to consume larger amounts. When it comes to juice extractors, you have three options:
- Centrifugal Juicers: Centrifugal juicers separate the juice from the fiber through a spinning process. These are the most common and least expensive machines, but they are noisy, generate higher heat, are harder to clean and typically less efficient at separating the juice from the pulp.
- Masticating Juicers: Auger or masticating types of juicers (single and double gear) chew up the vegetables and push them through a strainer. They work very well and tend to give you more juice than a centrifugal juicer (possibly 20 to 25 percent more), with less heat. They’re also quieter than other models and tend to be easier to clean and assemble. They cost a bit more than centrifugal juicers, but over time you’ll break even as they give you more juice per veggie.
- Grind-and-press: Presses work like an apple cider mill. These are quite expensive and therefore not as popular for everyday juicing.
Study Shows Blenders Significantly Damage Vegetable Nutrients
In addition to juicers, there are also high-power blenders that some people use to make “whole juice,” which is essentially whole vegetables and/or fruits blended with water or another liquid. This is not the same as juice. You lose at least one of the major advantages of juicing—which is being able to consume a very large quantity of vegetables, because the fiber limits the amount you can drink and it’s not as tasty. While fiber certainly has its own benefits, the abundant live nutrients in real juice are more important. The following comparison between blended juice and extracted juice by Juicing Science is instructive in understanding why the fiber issue may be insignificant:
“One hundred grams of kale contains more than 100 percent of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, and more than 10 percent of your RDI of vitamins B1, B2, B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Yet, despite its dense, dry appearance, it is made up of only 1.7 percent fiber, which means it provides less than six percent of your RDI for fiber.”
So if you’re pursuing a high-fiber diet, blended green smoothies may help, but you’re still going to have to get the majority of your fiber from other sources. Another downside to blended juices is that the heat generated by blending significantly damages many of the micronutrients, due to oxidation. One laboratory analysis found that 60 seconds in a high-powered blender destroys between 23 and 63 percent of the vitamin C, calcium, and potassium in green vegetables. There is simply no replacement for the flood of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients your body gets from fresh, cold-extracted juice.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Green!
Your juices should consist mostly of green vegetables, with minimal fruits so its sugar (fructose) content will be low. You can add in an apple, kiwi, or a handful of berries to give your juice flavor, but the bulk of it should come from organic green veggies—spinach, celery, kale, Swiss chard, etc. Unfortunately, green juice has a stigma for tasting bad, and many people avoid it simply because of its color. But green juice actually has a very pleasant flavor, and it’s easy to “tweak” it to taste even better.
If you’re new to juicing, you can start with more mild-tasting veggies, like celery and cucumbers. From there you can work your way up to red leaf lettuce, romaine, spinach, and escarole, along with parsley and cilantro. Kale, collard, dandelion, mustard, and other greens can be bitter, so you’ll want to start slowly and add just a few leaves at a time.
Some of the most nutrient-dense veggies are the strongest tasting, but don’t avoid them—just use a lesser quantity in your juice until your taste buds acclimate. Selecting organic, non-GMO produce is very important when juicing, but the price can be a challenge for some. One alternative is to grow your own veggies, making sure to avoid toxic garden chemicals (synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers). A great trick to make your juice more palatable, especially in the beginning, is to add one or more of these elements:
- Limes and lemons: You can add one half to a whole lime or lemon for every quart of juice. Provided you’re using organic lemons or limes, you can even juice the skin if you want to avoid the hassle of peeling them. Limes are my favorite for cutting bitter flavors.
- Cranberries: You can also add some cranberries if you enjoy them. Limit the cranberries to about four ounces per pint of juice.
- Fresh ginger: This is an excellent addition if you enjoy the taste—it gives your juice a little “kick”!
- Limited amounts of apple and carrot (just be mindful of your overall sugar content)
Juice Preparation and Storage Tips
One nice thing about juicing is that you don’t have to peel the majority of your veggies, provided they’re organic—simply brush them thoroughly. One exception is beets, which have a rather foul tasting skin. If you’re using non-organic vegetables, your best bet is to peel them, to avoid juicing pesticide residues. This is particularly important for fruits and vegetables that have been waxed, as this seals in the chemicals. It can be difficult to discern if a vegetable has been waxed or not, because the wax can be applied in a very thin, transparent layer. According to Dr. Saul:
- Eggplant, turnips, cucumbers, and tomatoes are almost always waxed
- Zucchini and other squash are usually waxed, but not always
- Carrots are never waxed
Ideally, you’ll want to drink the juice right away. The longer it sits, the more nutrients are lost through contact with the air (oxidation). You also lose taste. This brings me to another reason I prefer masticating juicers: they introduce less air into your juice, so the juice may actually stay fresher longer. When storing juice in a container, such as a Mason jar, make sure you fill it all the way up to the top to minimize air space.
You might want to enlist the help of a FoodSaver vacuum sealer, which comes with an attachment designed to suck out the air from the top of a Mason jar. You still need to keep the juice refrigerated, and you’ll want to drink it all that day to avoid the risk of botulism, which can happen over time in an oxygen-free environment.
Juices stored more than 24 hours can also build up methanol. Your body is not adapted to detoxify methanol, which can cause a number of problems—for example, it can convert into formaldehyde that can then make its way into your brain. Methanol toxicity, which is primarily associated with the artificial sweetener aspartame, has been linked to Alzheimer’s and other health problems. Methanol is not a problem in fresh produce because the methanol is bound to pectin, which allows it to safely pass through your system, but juice is a different story. So, if you haven’t consumed your juice within 24 hours, toss it into the compost bin.
Managing Cravings and Detox Symptoms
Changing your diet or any other aspect of your lifestyle is sometimes stressful, and stress can sabotage your success. As some of the people in Vale’s super-juicing experiment discovered, you might feel a little worse before you feel better, as detox symptoms and food cravings can arise. You simply can’t address your physical health without also addressing your mental health. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) makes it possible to tap away your anxiety about dietary changes—it’s one of the most powerful tools for reducing stress and anxiety that I know of. In 2012, a triple blind study found that EFT reduced cortisol levels and symptoms of psychological distress by 24 percent—more than any other intervention tested.
If you worry that you won’t be able to get the juice down or you won’t take the time to do it, or your food cravings will be unbearable, EFT may be able to help. The first couple weeks of a new eating routine are typically the most challenging, while your body is making the necessary biochemical adjustments. Tapping can be extraordinarily beneficial for reducing anxiety, cravings, and detox symptoms during this time.
EFT is easy to learn and once you do, it’s always at your fingertips—whenever and wherever you need it. You can even adapt this intermittent fasting EFT video by Julie Schiffman, for juice fasting. Just as juicing helps reduce your body’s toxic burden, you can think of EFT as detoxification for your mind. By combining the two, your healing will be unstoppable!
*Article originally appeared at Mercola.