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A Guide to Juicing

Why Juice?

If you’ve never juiced regularly before you could find yourself surprised at how quickly it becomes part of your daily routine. Convenient and easy, once you’ve started you won’t want to go a day without your juice!

Juicing has so many health benefits, but unlike many things which are good for you, it’s actually very enjoyable too!

When you buy a shop-bought juice you may not know exactly what’s included, or the processing the juice has undergone. By contrast, when you juice at home, you have the satisfaction of knowing that only the purest ingredients are included, and that the delicious drink has gone directly from the juicing machine to your glass within minutes.

Speed of processing is really important as it ensures that you get the maximum dose of nutrients, without the addition of preservatives and other artificial ingredients. A home juicer allows you to take control of getting the most nutritious juices which are high in vitamin and minerals, and taste absolutely scrumptious as well!

Buying a juicer

When you buy a juicer, it means that you will have the ability to make yourself a glass of juice whenever you want. With easy to use equipment at your fingertips, staying healthy has never been easier or more economical too.

Some juicers are superior to others because the process they use optimises the juice extraction while still being gentle enough to preserve the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients.

Masticating juicers create something which is known as a “living” juice which is probably one of the healthiest things you could consume. The reason why masticating juicers are held in such high esteem is because they use a cold-pressed mechanism.

Heat can start to destroy some of the most valuable nutrients within your juice so any juicer which generates heat as it presses means that you won’t get as much as you could. The cold pressing mechanism within the masticating juicer means that the maximum amount of nutrients will be retained.

As well as vitamins and minerals, using a masticating juicer means you will receive live enzymes, anti-oxidants, chlorophyll and a whole host of other nutrients in a form which is easy to digest.

When you look to purchase a juicer, opting for a masticating model will ensure that you receive the most powerful shot of nutrients that you could possibly get.

The health benefits

The health benefits of juicing are well recognised amongst professionals and nutritionists who all recommend juicing as one of the easiest ways to get the maximum number of nutrients.

Juicing offers a convenient way to fuel yourself with energy which is healthy and beneficial to the body in a variety of ways. 

As well as helping to boost the body’s natural cleansing system, juicing provides protection against daily bugs and viruses such as the common cold, as well as more serious diseases such as cancer. Your heart and cardiovascular system will also benefit from an increased intake of fresh vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.

Benefits of juicing

The health benefits of juicing are now well-recognised and if you want to research the subject you’ll find much has been written on the subject.

However, you don’t need to plough through pages of scientific research to discover the benefits for yourself; once you start juicing you’ll start to see the benefits within a matter of weeks. 

Juicing is so beneficial for the body, as soon as you make the change, you’ll soon be feeling more energised and improving your health in a number of different ways.

Here’s a summary of some of the main benefits you’ll enjoy just from drinking your own home-made fresh juice. 

A living food

Fruit and vegetables which are fresh and unheated, and wherever possible organic too, are some of the most powerful sources of energy for the body.

When you cook or heat fruit and vegetables, many of the most valuable nutrients are destroyed, meaning that you won’t get the same benefits that you can get through juicing. And what’s more, juicing doesn’t just provide a regular shot of vitamins and minerals; it also offers a whole host of “live” nutrients too. 

By simply starting to juice at home, you’ll be introducing enough raw foods into your diet to provide significant health benefits, without having to make any other changes to what you eat. These living juices contain enzymes, anti-oxidants, chlorophyll and other benefits that you can’t obtain in the same quantities from eating processed or heated fruit.

Buying juice from a supermarket will never have the same value as drinking juice that you’ve produced at home. No matter how bright and colourful the packaging, and how healthy it seems, it will have been processed in a way which will have inevitably reduced the nutritional content. Processed juice can never compared to living juice that is easily, and economically, that can be produced at home.

Separating the fibre and juice

Juice which has been freshly pressed gives the body an instant hit of nutrients, delivering a powerful combination which can be absorbed instantly. 

A juicer separates the pulp which contains all the fibrous matter from the nutrient-containing juice. This means that only the juice is pressed. This is important because the fibres are much more difficult to break down, and require energy for the body to process. By extracting juice only the body receives the maximum number of nutrients which can be digested easily. 

Boosting your immune system and eliminating illness

Every glass of fresh juice is bursting full of nutrients including vitamins, chlorophyll, minerals, live enzymes and a whole host of other phytonutrients. This combination is invaluable in helping to boost the immune system and provide excellent protection against disease.

If you’re prone to suffering from colds or becoming run down, including juicing as a regular part of your diet could make a very real difference.

Alongside this potent cocktail, the juice is also full to the brim with anti-oxidants which play a part in helping to prevent heart disease, ageing, and cancer.

Juicing provides a way of strengthening and nourishing the body in an entirely natural and non-invasive way, and is a method used by many people to great effect.

Dieting and detoxing

Being slim, healthy and fit is something that most people aspire to but incorrectly assume that it has to be difficult. By altering your diet to incorporate juicing, it’s possible to detox very easily, contributing to weight loss and leaving individuals feeling renewed, rejuvenated and full of energy too.

Suitable for all

The really great thing about fresh juice is that it’s suitable for the whole family, including children. In fact, juicing can be one of the easiest ways of getting children to eat raw vegetables!

Children often enjoy helping to make the juice, especially those which are brightly coloured, and it can be surprising for them to discover just how sweet vegetable juices can taste.

Choosing between a juicer and a blender

If you’re keen to be fitter and have a healthier body, you’ll need to make sure that you get enough vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients on a regular basis.

Everyone knows that fruit and vegetables are very important but it can be difficult to consume as much as needed in order to get enough nutrients to really make a difference to your health.

And that’s where juicers and blenders can help. By pulping and pressing the fruit they can deliver highly nutritious drinks in a much more accessible form.

But not everyone understands the fundamental differences between blenders and juicers and which one to buy. Both offer an easy and convenient way to consume more fruit and vegetables, but their functions are surprisingly different.

In a nutshell, blenders produce smoothies and juicers produce juice. Here’s a look at how the two compare.

Juicer

Both fruit and vegetables can be processed in a juicer, where they are squeezed and pressed to extract all the liquid while leaving behind the fibre and the pulp. There are different types of juicers such as centrifugal, masticating and twin models.

All the goodness contained in the fruit can be found in the nutritious juice which can be absorbed instantly by the body for a powerful boost. Unlike smoothies, the body does not need to expend a huge amount of energy converting the fibre into a digestible form. This means that juice is one of the most efficient ways to receive an injection of nutrients, fast.

When you drink a juice, the nutrients can be absorbed quickly and easily because of the absence of insoluble fibre. This means that freshly pressed juice is a highly concentrated form of nutrients and because it’s so easy to digest, you will be able to absorb more of them too.

Nutrients from juice can get into the body very quickly which allows them to be released rapidly when you need them. And because it’s just the juice which is extracted, and none of the pulp, it’s possible to consume much larger quantities of fruit and vegetables more easily, without getting bloated or full up. For anyone looking to up their intake, this is a big advantage.

The only exceptions to juicing are avocados and bananas which generally can’t be juiced. 

Blender

A blender is often confused with a juicer but provides a very different end product, although it may be processing the same types of food.

Fruit and vegetables can be blended, but unlike a juice, everything is mashed down together. This means that the end product will contain not just juice but also fibre and pulp too, creating a drink which is much thicker, and is known usually as a smoothie. With a blender, there’s no waste product; whatever you put in is pulverised to create a smoothie drink.

Because a smoothie also contains insoluble fibre, the body takes much longer to break down the components to release the nutrients, meaning that the energy is slow release. It’s also not the most efficient way to receive nutrients because the body has to work much harder to digest what’s needed.

A smoothie is much thicker than a juice, and because it contains the pulp as well as the juice is much bulkier too. This means that you won’t be consuming as much fruit and veg with every glass.

However, there are other benefits to a smoothie other than just the nutrients. Fibre is a very important part of the diet as it helps to keep the digestive system moving. It’s also possible to add seeds, oils or other superfoods to a smoothie to create an even more nutritious drink.

What to pick?

Both juices and smoothies have lots of benefits, and both offer lots of nutrients. What you ultimately choose depends on your personal preferences and whether you want a juice packed full of powerful nutrients or whether a more filling, fibre-rich smoothie is your priority.

Juicing wheatgrass

As well as juicing fruit and vegetables, it’s possible to get some vital nutrients from leafy greens, especially wheatgrass, but they aren’t as easy to process. In order to juice wheatgrass and leafy greens, you’ll need to have a juicer which can extract the juice from the more delicate leaves.

Here’s a closer look at why it’s worth making the extra effort to juice wheatgrass, and what you’ll need to do it.

What is wheatgrass?

It is very difficult to identify wheatgrass from sight alone, as it can look very similar to standard lawn grass. However, it has many different properties which make it extremely valuable for juicing. 

Grown from the whole kernel, it is the wheat seed which produces wheatgrass. It’s extremely easy to grow, even for those who normally struggle with horticulture, and it’s very economical as well.

Wheatgrass is reputed to be the most nutritious of all the grasses, making it perfect for juicing because of the high vitamin and mineral content. Containing powerful purification nutrients, wheatgrass has an exceptional level of chlorophyll compared to other sources.

The nutrition

Leafy greens are universally recognised as providing superior nutrients and are a very important component of juicing. Alongside regular fruit and vegetables, wheatgrass adds an extra dimension because of its extremely rich content.

Wheatgrass is believed to be particularly beneficial for healing containing some of the highest levels of Vitamins A and C that can be found in any food, along with potassium, iron, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, cobalt, zinc and sodium.

The B17 content within wheatgrass helps to protect the body’s cells, destroying cancerous mutations. The level of chlorophyll is also extremely beneficial, helping to neutralise any toxins ingested and eradicating bacterial growth.

Wheatgrass also has been shown to help purify the liver, assist in the regulation of the digestive system and boost the oxygen-carrying capacity within the blood.

How to consume

Wheatgrass is not a substance that can just be picked up and consumed in great quantities, not only because it’s not easy to process but also because of its extreme potency. Wheatgrass is such a powerful substance that it’s a good idea to introduce it slowly to allow your system to adjust. 

Juicing is the easiest way to ingest wheatgrass but it is important not to drink too much at first. Taking too much in when you’re not used to it can result in nausea as well as light headedness and dizziness. These effects are just a testament to the strength of this innocent-looking grass.

When you begin juicing wheatgrass for the first time, it’s a good idea to restrict your intake to no more than an ounce, and gradually increase it as your body becomes accustomed to it. The rate and degree by which you up your intake will depend on how quickly you get used to the wheatgrass, and also whether you are taking it to treat a particular illness.

The Samson 6 in 1 Juicer is one of the best machines for adding wheatgrass to fresh juice. As well as being economical, it’s one of the original wheatgrass juicers and remains of the top performing models on the market. Extracting the maximum amount of juice out of wheatgrass, the Samson makes the process easy because it can also juice your fruit and vegetables, producing a delicious and nutritious juice quickly and easily.

Wheatgrass - the benefits

Although it might take a little more effort to juice than fruit and vegetables, adding wheatgrass to your juice could deliver real health benefits.

You’ll need a juicer that can process leafy greens such as wheatgrass; this makes the process of drinking fresh wheatgrass juice quick and convenient. 

Wheatgrass is such a powerful ingredient that it’s important to introduce it slowly into your diet because drinking too much too quickly can produce side effects. But starting off with small quantities and gradually increasing the amount can produce some truly incredible benefits. 

Here’s a look at just why wheatgrass is one of the most beneficial types of juices for everyone. 

General benefits of wheatgrass

Consuming wheatgrass through fresh juice is undoubtedly the best way to access its rich nutrients.

Wheatgrass is extremely easy and economical to grow, even for those who aren't usually successful in cultivating plants. Placing a tray of wheatgrass close to your head in the bedroom can help to promote good sleep patterns and ease insomnia. This is because the wheatgrass will improve the oxygen quality within the air and also help to promote negative ions, both of which will help you sleep more deeply.

Skin

As well as being extremely good for the body, wheatgrass is also very beneficial for the skin.

Applied topically, wheatgrass can help to expedite healing and can also help to relieve bites, rashes, burns and scrapes.

When taken internally wheatgrass can be a real beauty aid, helping to improve sagging skin and tightening up loose areas. In addition, wheatgrass can hold back the ageing process, helping cells to become rejuvenated by cleansing the blood.

The skin is the largest organ within the body and is one of the first places to show signs of stress or poor nutrition. Simply by consuming wheatgrass you will help your skin to become more radiant because your overall health will be better.

The body

Wheatgrass has a whole host of benefits, but it’s not just a beauty aid or used as a topical application.

When drinking as a juice regularly, wheatgrass can offer a number of widespread benefits which could help you to feel better, and improve your overall health too. 

The blood and the circulatory system are greatly boosted by the ingestion of wheatgrass, which has the effect of cleansing the pathways, as well as dilating them. This not only detoxifies the blood system, it can also lower the blood pressure too and by doing so can offer a degree of protection against cardiovascular disease.

Wheatgrass also has an alkali effect on the blood stream which can correct any over acidity, restoring balance.

Elsewhere in the body, wheatgrass can help to detoxify the liver as well as targeting cancerous cells for removal. Recent research has shown that wheatgrass juice has a unique ability in destroying unwanted cancer cells, helping the body to fight tumours. What’s so special about this is that wheatgrass seems able to selectively eradicate the cancerous cells, leaving healthy cells intact, unlike some of the more traditional drugs, and also doesn’t have any of the toxic side effects either.

Wheatgrass - how to grow your own

Wheatgrass is an extremely potent type of green which can provide vast quantities of valuable nutrients when juiced.

With some of the highest levels of vitamins and minerals found naturally, wheatgrass is a powerful source of nutrition, but it has the added benefit of being very easy to grow at home too. 

This means that juicing wheatgrass can be very economical, delivering health benefits without hurting your bank balance.

Here’s a step by step guide on how to grow your own wheatgrass. 

Easy success in growing wheatgrass

The good news is that you don’t need any special equipment to grow wheatgrass, just a tray that’s deep enough, a jar and a good potting soil mix (which contains peat moss).

Preparation

Begin by soaking your wheat berries (also known as wheat seed) for 8-12 hours, overnight is ideal.

For the following 16-24 hours, place your seed into a jar to sprout it, rinsing it gently at least three times. 

Planting

Once a “tail” becomes visible on the seed, it’s time to remove it from the jar and plant it.

A two inch tray is ideal, and you’ll need either a topsoil or good potting mix which contains peat moss. This is important to make sure the wheatgrass grows well. If your soil doesn’t contain peat moss you can buy it separately and mix it in using a 3:1 ratio, soil to peat moss.

Fill up approximately halfway on the two inch tray with your soil mix and then plant your seed at the top. 

Water your seed well and then keep covered for the first 72 hours to prevent them from becoming dry. During this time, you’ll need to water your seeds thoroughly once a day. This is best done in the morning. Make sure you really saturate the soil with the water; the tray should be slightly dripping.

You should also lightly mist your seeds with a water spray in the evening too, providing a light coverage of water to keep them moist. 

Growing

By the 4th day you should start to see lots of roots in the soil, a good sign that the wheatgrass is growing as it should. At this point you can remove the cover from your seeds and then water the wheatgrass heavily once every day.

The wheatgrass should never be in direct sunlight; always keep your plant in the shade.

The optimum growing conditions are a temperature of between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-26 degrees Celsius) accompanied by air conditioning or a fan for good circulation. The latter is important as it can help to prevent mould from growing.

Harvesting

You’ll know that the wheatgrass is ready for harvesting when the blade starts to split near the bottom, or a second blade starts to develop. 

You can expect the wheatgrass to reach the harvesting stage within 7-12 days, but it can vary very significantly depending on the conditions. It’s therefore essential not to make a decision based on the height of the grass or the length of time the seeds have been growing for, but the appearance of the “second blade”. 

You should only harvest each crop of grass once. It can be stored in your fridge for 7-10 days or if you use green bags, a bit longer. Once harvested, start the process from the beginning for a new crop of wheatgrass.

Juice fast for the weekend 

It’s so easy to take our bodies for granted, but every day they have to endure a lot of stress, working hard to keep us well fueled and feeling fit and well.

Our digestive system in particular can be put under a lot of strain, particularly with the modern diet which can take a lot of processing. Throughout all of this, we continue to place huge demands on our body, expecting it to perform as required, and function properly. 

A juice fast is a great way of allowing your body to take a break, especially the digestive system, giving it a chance to rest, cleanse and renew itself.

Going through a juice fast can help you feel much less sluggish, improving energy levels and helping you to glow from the inside out.

If you’ve never experienced a juice fast before, here’s what you need to know.

Helpful hints and tips

Although a juice fast is a great way to cleanse your body and come out feel renewed and refreshed, it can take a bit of getting used to. The tips below will help to explain what to expect and how to avoid the usual pitfalls.

It won’t always be easy

Once you’ve done a juice fast a few times, you’ll find the process much easier but when it’s your first time, it can take quite a lot of willpower to make it through to the end. 

No matter how much you want to do it, you’ll need some serious self-discipline and commitment in order to resist temptation. However, you can help yourself by choosing the time very carefully. Don’t pick a weekend when you have lots of social engagements as you could end up finding yourself surrounded by food that you’re not supposed to be eating, plus you might feel a bit more tired too. 

Pick a weekend which is likely to be nice and quiet, with no major plans, so you can dedicate the time to relaxing and drinking plenty of delicious juices which you’ll have on hand at home.

Which brings us neatly to the next point…. 

Prepare in advance

There’s nothing worse than expecting to drink some juices to keep hunger pangs at bay, and then realising that you don’t have what you need in the cupboard.

A shopping trip while you’re on a fast is a very bad idea and will seriously test your self-discipline. It’s a far better idea to pop to the supermarket in advance and make sure you’ve got your supplies ready.

How you could feel

There’s so much focus on the great way that you will feel when your juice fast is complete you might not know what to expect while it’s ongoing. As your body cleanses itself, you may experience some symptoms which include bloating, diarrhoea, flatulence, sweating and headaches.

While it’s perfectly normal to experience some of the above, if your symptoms become excessive you should talk to your doctor. If you are pregnant, unwell, or on any kind of treatment or medication you should not start a juice fast without getting approval from your doctor first.

Drink plenty of water throughout the weekend and pamper yourself with relaxing baths, plenty of quiet time and perhaps a short walk. You could even treat yourself to a massage. Don’t be tempted to try and exercise heavily; take it easy during the juice fast. 

Some juices to try

Breakfast juices should be packed full of natural energy and help to cleanse the body. Sample recipes include: 

Carrot and Apple Mix

  • 1 apple
  • 4 carrots

Melon and Apple Medley

  • 3 apples, green (such as Granny Smiths)
  • 2 chunky slices of melon
  • 1 handful of fresh mint leaves

Your mid-morning juice should be another energy boosting mix, along with a cleanser and a detox. Try:

Beetroot Boost

  • 3 carrots
  • 2 beets
  • 1 orange
  • 1 apple
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • Ginger root slice, approx. 1cm thick 

Your lunch juice should be focused on improving your digestion and boosting your skin. Do not include any energy enhancing juices; this will allow your body to rest in the afternoon.

Supergreen

  • Broccoli (8 spears)
  • Parsley (1 bunch)
  • 3 apples, green

The final meal of the day, dinner, should be a good all-round juice which provides more of a texture than the other juices you’ve had, boosts the skin, digestion and the immune system, cleanses and also provides a shot of energy, such as:

Green Waldorf 

  • 5 large leaves of kale
  • 2 apples (Cox or Braeburn)
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 dessert spoon of linseed (flaxseed) oil

Pregnancy - guide to juicing

Pregnancy is incredibly hard work on the body; growing another little life takes up a lot of energy and demands a lot of nutrients.

As the mother, it’s your body that will suffer if your intake isn’t sufficient; the nutrients will be routed to the baby first, leaving you feeling drained and exhausted.

It’s especially important during pregnancy to have a good diet with plenty of nutrients and juicing is the obvious way to achieve this. Those who are suffering from nausea and sickness and are struggling to keep food down might find that juicing is easier to digest.

There are however some do’s and don’ts; here’s a look at how to juice during pregnancy.

Heartburn, nausea and vomiting

If you are suffering with sickness during your pregnancy, the thought of any kind of food may seem unappealing but juicing could provide the answer.

Much easier to digest than whole foods, juicing could provide you with some of the valuable nutrients you are missing out on. And by upping your nutritional intake, you could find that your sickness eases too, as low blood sugar can contribute to the symptoms.

You could also add ginger to your juices; ginger is reputed to help to get rid of sickness and nausea. Juicing with ginger is an easy way to consume it quickly. 

The following is an excellent juicing remedy for heartburn:

  • Half pineapple
  • 1 chunky slice white cabbage
  • Ginger root - 1 inch
  • Fresh mint - small bunch 

Use organic produce

During pregnancy it’s important to use the purest ingredients because toxins can be harmful to the unborn baby. 

Juicing at home is ideal because it gives you control over the type and quality of the produce you use, as well as being more economical too. Wherever possible try to use organic produce; this means that the fruit and vegetables won’t have been subjected to any potentially harmful toxins or pesticides during their growth.

Juice regularly

It can be tricky to get the balance right between upping your nutritional content and not taking in too many extra calories but juicing can help to solve this dilemma. 

You can easily increase your intake of Vitamins A and C by simply by juicing with strawberries, citrus fruits, red peppers and broccoli. Upping your folic acid consumption is also easy naturally by juicing beets, broccoli and leafy greens. The latter will also help with iron intake.

Juice fast

Although a juice fast is a great way to detox, pregnancy isn’t the right time to do this. No matter how well and full of energy you are feeling (if you are lucky!), you need all of your calories to keep you going. A juice fast could leave you feeling extremely unwell and is not advised at any stage of pregnancy, no matter how fit you are.

The other reason not to do a juice fast during pregnancy is that your body will release any toxins into the blood stream in order to eliminate them. This doesn’t create the ideal situation for a baby growing in the womb, and could actually be detrimental.

Store-bought juices

You should be extremely careful about unpasteurised store-bought juices unless you know exactly how they’ve been processed and the quality of the produce used.

A far better option is to juice at home because you will have the reassurance of knowing that only high quality fruit, vegetables and leafy greens have been used, and that they have been stored properly to eliminate mould or other toxins.