Juicing for Health
Devan Nambiar on how best to eat your fruits and vegetables
Staying healthy and fit over the long term is an investment. Healthy eating requires a certain percentage of daily fruits, but it can be difficult for many to adhere to three to five servings per day.
There has been much research on the role of various vitamins and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables. I have been utilizing the benefits of juicing for over 25 years. I have also written about my juicing recipes in Chapter 5, Managing Your Health, 2009, CATIE.
The side effects and toxicity of various antiretrovirals on an overworked digestive system, liver and kidney via absorption, metabolism, elimination of medication is taxing to the internal working of the body. So juicing is an excellent method to harness the nutrient benefit of various fruits and vegetables. It’s not time consuming, and you are assured of the potency of nutrients. As it is impossible to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables in one meal, juicing is the equivalent of liquid food. The most important factor is that your digestive tract can assimilate and absorb up to 95 % of the liquid food. In most people, it is considered lucky to digest and absorb 60% of the foods we eat.
In general, most people do not chew food, they inhale food. In proper chewing (at least ten times) the saliva gets mixed with the foods, reducing the burden on the gastro-intestinal tracts to break the food. In the age of instant and prepackaged processed foods, the nutritional value of the meals is questionable. If health is compounded with weak digestion and/or malabsorption and chewing is challenged with an infection of the esophagus, juicing is a viable alternative.
Cooking food in high temperature destroys a substantial portion of the nutrition, vitamins and enzymes. Enzymes are live micronutrients that are destroyed by even the most minimum processing and heat. Fresh-pressed juice is ideal for quick assimilation of nutrients, detoxification and regeneration of the human body.
Choose fruits in season as there is less chance of preservatives being present. It is best to buy tropical fruits in summer. Fruits that come from other countries are plucked before they are ripe and treated with chemicals to induce ripening. Always peel the skin off fruit or vegetables, with the exception of organic fruits and vegetable.
Fresh juices are concentrated forms of foods. It is a challenge to eat five carrots or four oranges in one meal, so be moderate in your consumption. Think of your fresh juices as a meal. Stick to one or two cups at most, a day. Remember that fruit juices are also high in fruit sugar.
Foods such as sprouts need a special juicer. Otherwise a regular juicer will be able to juice most fruits and vegetables. Some juicers separate the pulp and some do not. It is advised not to ingest the pulp, as it is believed that the chemicals sprayed on fruits and vegetables are stored in the fibre.
Fresh vs. Commercial juices (pasteurized)
Most commercial juices are high in sugar. Sugar is added to addict the consumer to the taste of the beverage. Pop is concentrated with sugar. A litre of pop contains twelve tablespoons of sugar. If you are prone to Candida infection stay away from commercial juices and pop drinks. If you look at the ingredient list on the bottle, the ingredient with the highest concentration is listed first. This is always either water or sugar (glucose, fructose + calories) followed by juice, flavor, vitamin C or A, colouring, and preservative.
All commercial juices are boiled to sanitize them against pathogens (bacteria and disease causing organisms). In the process all live enzymes are destroyed as well as heat-sensitive vitamins. Then the vitamins are added. Save your money and buy the fruits. Most juices oxidize when they come in contacts with air, heat and light. Hence the brown color when carrots, apples and other fruits are cut and left in the open. Fresh apple juice is white but bottled apple juice is brown because the vitamins/antioxidants have come in contact with air and light.
When you juice at home, drink it immediately but sip and savour it. Fresh juice must be stored in a dark sterile glass bottle between 35 to 38 F(1.6 to 3.3 Celsius). Pre-chill the bottle. Fill the bottle right up to the top to reduce the presence of air to minimize oxidation. If you take it out of the refrigerator and the bottle comes in contact with light, heat or air as you open and close, oxidation starts. It is worthwhile to store juice in a few different bottles. Only take out the bottle that you are going to consume.
Another option is to store it in a pre-chilled thermos. Add the juice that has been chilled to 35 degrees F. You will be able to store it in the thermos outside the refrigerator for a full day. If the juice has oxidized, it will have a "tingling” sensation or a "bite". In extremes cases it could have a foul smell or coagulation of juices. Personally, I would not recommend purchasing fresh juices stored in ice in clear plastic containers at many cafes or restaurants. Due to the clear plastic and exposure to light, air (as the cover is already pierced to insert a straw) oxidation has been going on for a while. Plus you have no idea when the "fresh" juice was extracted.
Some schools of dietary principles do not recommend combining fruits and vegetables together in one meal. Different digestive enzymes are involved in digesting proteins, carbohydrates, starches, acids, and alkaline fruits. Hence it is not a good idea to consume all these fruits and vegetables in one sitting especially if you have digestive challenges.
Mixing various fruits
There are some exceptions in juicing. Avoid mixing acidic fruits, lemons, grapefruits, oranges, etc. with other fruits. It can curdle the other juices in your gastro-intestinal tract, contributing to fermenting of the foods. Fermentation contributes to flatulence. However apple and lemon are synergistically used in salad preparation as they can cross over the fruit/vegetable line (the digestive enzyme, malic acid in apple can cross the liquid to solid group). Lemon juice is sprinkled over salads.
Colour of life
Visuals are important to inducing appetite. In colour therapy, colours have different healing properties. In colder weather, red colour juices boost digestive fire. In summer, lighter coloured juices cool the body. The same theory holds for juicing as in eating a healthy meal from a rainbow selection of foods.
1. Red food is excellent for digestion (boosts digestive fire) and heating the body. This is known as ‘agni'(fire) in Ayurvedic medicine or ‘yang' energy in Chinese medicine. Examples of these foods are beets, watermelon, radish, tomatoes, cherries, red cabbage, red pepper, hot pepper, etc.
2. Orange food is anti-spasmodic and good for pains and cramps. It strengthens the lungs and general respiratory system. It is known for its properties of vitality and mental clarity. The color orange is synonymous with joy and expansiveness. Examples of these foods are oranges, tangerines, carrots, apricots, pumpkin, etc.
3. Yellow food is a motor stimulant – it helps you get the day started especially in the morning. It helps strengthens digestion, nerves and minimizes constipation. Foods in this category are lemon, lime, pineapple, grapefruit, peach, banana, mango, papaya, corn, and yellow squash.
4. Green food is a blood cleanser, bactericide, alkalinizes and nerve tonic/natural tranquilizer. Excellent choices are all green leafy foods such as sprouts, wheat grass, barley, kamut, Greens +. Green drinks are great when you are exhausted. In my opinion, Greens + is one of the best commercially available green foods. It is packed with vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, co-enzymes, cell salts, standardized herbs, botanical extracts, soluble and insoluble plant fibre from organic, nutrient and alkaline -forming foods. It can be mixed with water or juices.
5. Blue food is ideal for headaches, spiritual and mental work. It is cooling to the body and strong in ‘yin' properties. Good choices are blueberry, grape, plum, celery, asparagus and nuts.
Combining various fruit blends
Apple + pear, apple + pear + pineapple, orange + pineapple, apple + watermelon, apple + prune, apple + cranberry, apple + grape, carrot + beets, carrot + beets + orange, grapefruit + orange, grapefruit + orange + cherry, carrot + celery + parsley, cucumber + watermelon, etc. Use your imagination.
Each fruit juice has specific properties. It is know that grapefruit is an inhibitor of the P450 pathway in the liver. In HIV infection grapefruit increases the concentration of the antiviral saqunavir in the blood stream. However it can also cause an increase in drug levels of other medications. It is fine to consume grapefruit but space it a few hours after your medication. In general most fruits have cleansing effects on the system. The high water content of fruits flushes the digestive tract, kidney and purifies the bloodstream.
Citrus fruits such as lemon, lime, pineapple and grapefruit have a strong solvent effect on the system. These fruits also have a strong effect in flushing the body of mucous build-up and a purging effect on the liver and gallbladder. Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain. Bromelain encourages the secretion of hydrochloric acid which assists in the digestion of proteins.
Grape has a strong cleansing effect. Use the natural seeded variety. It is advised to dilute grape juice before consuming. It is said that Concord grapes have the strongest cleansing effect.
Apples are excellent for intestinal cleaning. The malic acid and galacturonic acid in apples remove toxins. Pectin in apples prevents fermentation of protein in the gastro-intestinal tract. In addition apples act as a bulking agent in the intestine.
Cranberry, parsley and watermelon have diuretic properties. Cranberry is effective for urinary tract infection. Its bitter taste is beneficial to the kidneys. Watermelon has a high alkaline fluid, which neutralizes acids and flushes toxins out of the kidneys.
The rind of watermelon can also be used in juicing. Prune and apricot are good for constipation and improving bowel movement. Beet is also excellent for enriching blood and flushing the kidneys.
Cabbage juice is good for the stomach, soothing for ulcers and gas. Cucumbers have a cooling effect and have a stimulating effect on the kidneys. Spinach and kale are hard on the kidneys as they are high in oxalic acid. It stimulates peristalsis of the alimentary canal. Aloe vera tones the intestinal tract, detoxifies the bloodstream and lymphatic system. It is recommended to drink no more than an ounce or two ounces of Aloe juice per day, as too much can cause diarrhea.
A toast to happy juicing and a good life!
References and recommended reading:
1. Steve Meyerowitz. Juice for Cell Health. Alive #174, pg. 20-24
2. Savona.N (2003)The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies. Duncan Blaird Publishers. UK
3. Meyerowitz.S. (2004) Juice Fasting and Detoxification: Use the Healing Power of Fresh Juice to Feel Young & Look Great. Quality Book Inc.