Athletes love to indulge this time of year. In fact, the average American gains between five and 10 pounds in the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's. So how do you balance the endless holiday treats and party platters with nutrients that support your offseason training? The answer: Juicing!
As odd as this may sound, it can be a therapeutic break in a hectic day. The juice itself can be very tasty, or not at all. But the beauty of juicing is that you decide exactly what type of juice you are going to make, based entirely on your mood.
Some days I feel like fresh apple, ginger and cranberry will do. On other days, something moves me to combine kale, garlic, and beet; a tequila-like cocktail that you won't soon forget! Either way, you'll quickly find that juicing provides a bit of a boost, which will make you feel healthier and happier through the holidays and throughout the year.
There are two primary types of juicers: 1) the high-speed centrifugal juicer, and 2) the slow speed auger. I have, and like a lot, the slow speed auger. It is easy to use and clean, and is ready to juice anything you throw into it.
For athletes, the benefits of juicing run pretty deep. Juicing fruits and vegetables provides a huge dose of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) in a very concentrated, easily absorbed form. This quality, alone, makes juicing whole, fresh, ripe, and raw fruits and vegetables one of the most powerful vehicles for achieving optimal health; upon which speed is built.
Here are some of the most commonly touted benefits of juicing:
- Many of the common juicing ingredients contain chlorophyll, a substance found exclusively in plants. It has a structure similar to hemoglobin which is the substance in blood that is responsible for transporting oxygen. Some research has found that consuming chlorophyll enhances the body's ability to produce hemoglobin, thus improving the efficiency of oxygen transport.
- Fresh juices have the ability to deliver a group of nutrients know as enzymes. Enzymes are your body's work force. In addition, fruit and vegetable juices are good sources of the traditional nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
- Since juicing removes the indigestible fiber of fruits and vegetables, nutrients are available to the body in much larger quantities than if the fruit or vegetable were eaten whole. Because the process of digestion that is necessary when you eat whole foods is bypassed, the body can quickly absorb larger amounts of nutrients from the juices than it can from solid foods.
- Finally, fruits and vegetables provide one more substance that is absolutely essential for good health in athletes: water.