Juicing, a trend that first took off during the 1970's and has gained both momentum and popularity amongst today's health-conscious crowd, only continues to expand into new markets and across demographics.
The benefits of juicing are varied, with some turning to juice consumption as a meal-replacement plan and healthy way to lose weight, while others look to juicing for a way to detox and boost the immune system. Whatever reasons a person has behind their motivation to juice, it can be difficult deciding on the best veggies for juicing depending on your specific needs and health goals.
Green juices, often considered to be the holy grail of juices, are low in calories and have minimal sugar content (compared to fruit juices), while being considerably high in nutrients. Green juiceis therefore ideal for detoxing purposes, as a meal replacement to lose weight (i.e. perfect as an on-the-go breakfast), or as a means of enhancing your existing diet and ensuring you don't miss those hard to get vitamins and minerals.
Green juice is generally composed of vegetables and herbs like celery, kale, spinach, parsley, cucumber, swiss chard, wheatgrass, etc.. Sometimes, fresh fruits are also incorporated to add a bit of sweetness or to offset the bitter flavor that leafy greens like kale often have. Green juices featuring leafy greens and/or celery are extremely high in fiber, full of essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and folic acid, and an excellent way to make sure your body is getting often overlooked minerals, like vitamin K and iron.
Certain compounds found in the leafy greens and other veggies and herbs that generally go into green juices have been known to reduce inflammation, lower risk of heart disease, and may even function as probiotics, promoting the growth of good bacteria in one's digestive tract.
One of the most popular veggies for juicing into green juice, whether alone or in combination with other ingredients, is celery. Celery juice has really taken off in popularity in recent years, and it is no wonder why, given the many benefits of drinking it.
Low in calories, and high in water content, celery juice will hydrate you and flush your digestive system. Because of this, it is an ideal juice to drink for breakfast or first thing in the morning. Celery juice has an abundance of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. Celery juice also works as an anti-inflammatory, helping to counteract diseases like arthritis, joint pain, and symptoms of IBS.
Celery juice is one of the most popular juices to start the day with. Many swear by starting their day off with fresh pressed celery juice to hydrate and get things moving (celery juice is great for staying regular!). Celery juice, with its high water content and array of nutrients, also promotes healthy and glowing skin. Additionally, celery juice is chock full of enzymes and antioxidants which can repair damage caused by free radicals, and help you to stay younger and fresher looking in the long run (coupled with a healthy diet and exercise, of course). Celery juice tastes great on its own, or in conjunction with other fruits (apples), and/or veggies and herbs (parsley, ginger, mint, etc.).
Another high-water-content, low calorie veggie that is perfect for either juicing alone or with a variety of other veggies, is cucumber. Cucumber, like celery, has negligible calories, and is composed of mostly water, so it is naturally hydrating and perfect for flushing your digestive tract. It is ideal for weight loss, given the minimal number of calories, and offers an important array of minerals like vitamins C and A as well as potassium and magnesium.
Like celery juice, cucumber juice promotes clear and healthy skin, and is ideal for doing a detox. The hydrating properties make for a juice that is beneficial to both the urinary tract and kidneys, as well as the digestive tract, aiding in regular bowel movements. Cucumber juice is refreshing and beneficial when pressed alone, or pressed in combination with other veggies and/or fruit.
Other popular vegetables for juicing
While almost any combination of vegetables and fruits can be pressed into fresh juice, certain veggies are more popular than others, given their health benefits, and of course, taste.
While green juices are extremely healthy and full of nutrients, often with a minimal number of calories, some of the best vegetables to juice come in the form of colorful root vegetables.
Beets and carrots are two examples of popular root vegetables which are often used in pressed juices. While carrots are popular juiced by themselves or in combination with other ingredients, beets are generally used with a mix of other veggies and/or fruits.
Carrots are high in beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A - a vitamin essential for healthy eyes and good vision. Carrot juice also contains high amounts of vitamins C and K, to support a healthy immune system and healthy, glowing skin.
One of the great things to consider regarding carrots, are the natural sugar content, which can help sweeten juices that might otherwise tend to be too bitter. Carrots are excellent to use in conjunction with leafy greens and herbs to add subtle sweetness and flavor.
Beets, another root vegetable that are often used in press juices, pack a punch of vitamins, antioxidants, and nitrates, which help to promote heart health and low blood pressure. Not only is beet juice a beautiful pink color, which can be appealing to children and adults alike, but the earthy flavor (loved by some, and disliked by others) becomes subtle and almost undetectable when juiced with carrots, apples, or leafy greens. If you're not a fan of beet juice by itself, try mixing with carrot juice, fresh ginger, or apple juice to add other flavor. Beets are also extremely high in vitamin C, folate, and potassium - an all-around great combo for a healthy immune system.
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