Everything you ever wanted to know about juicing

Fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, which are known to protect cells from damage.
Juicing is one of the most beneficial ways to reap the rewards of nutrients that prevent disease and promote healthy living. Most Americans don't eat enough of the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. As a result, many lack the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients that are so valuable in attaining proper health. Nutrients are vital in boosting the immune system, and they help the body fight against developing fatigue, ailments and disease.

Benefits of juicing

Convenience. We live fast and active lives today. Many people shrug-off eating healthier because they simply don't have the time required to prepare a square meal. This is where juicing plays a key role in helping you to attain a healthy lifestyle. Juicing requires no cooking or elaborate preparation. The process is actually fast and easy and the results can be extremely valuable to your health.

Antioxidants. Fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with them. What are they exactly? Antioxidants are substances that have been known to protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals are formed when oxygen interacts with molecules in the body, forming an odd number of electrons. Antioxidants safely interact with free radicals and eliminate them before causing damage to molecules. Examples of antioxidants are lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamins C, E and A.

Nutrients. Juicing is one of the best methods of obtaining nutrients. The high temperatures used in the pasteurization of bottled juices are designed to kill organisms before bottling. This process, however, also destroys vital enzymes, vitamins and phytochemicals that are so important in fruits and vegetables. Along the same lines, boiling or freezing vegetables will destroy a large percentage of nutrients in foods.

Types of juicers

Masticating. The masticating juicer is considered the mother of all juicers. This type of juicer typically operates using a motor with a lower RPM and higher torque. This allows for more concentrated force to be placed on foods making it an ideal juicer for harder objects that include nuts (for nut butter.) The blade in a masticating juicer is a slower-moving, screw-like blade designed for grinding. Produce is fed into the blade through a shoot where it is ground into a pulp. The pulp is then pushed down a tube where the juice is filtered and released through a mesh catch. The pulp is released out of the other end of the tube.

Centrifugal. This is the most common type of juicer and can be used to handle a wide range of foods. The way that it works is by feeding produce through a shoot and into a basket. The basket is actually the blade of the unit and has small teeth at the base. The basket spins to grind produce to a pulp. The spinning motion forces the pulp to the sides of the basket and the juice is forced out through small holes where it's collected and dispensed. The dried pulp is forced to the top of the basket where it is collected into a container.

Citrus juicer. This is the most basic style of juicer and is designed specifically for juicing citrus fruits. The citrus juicer works by simply applying the fruit side of a halved piece of citrus fruit, like an orange, to an inverted reamer that's shaped to fit the fruit. The combination of the rotating ream and human force applied to the fruit extracts the juice where it's then fed into a catch.

Tips to successful juicing

  • Always remove the peel from citrus fruits before juicing them. The peels from oranges, tangerines and grapefruits contain oils that are indigestible and provide a bitter taste. If consumed in large quantities citrus peels can lead to digestive problems. Lemon and lime peels can be juiced, but if consuming them, make sure they're organic to avoid pesticides. The white potion of a citrus fruit is actually the most beneficial part as it contains the most Vitamin C and bioflavonoids (an antioxidant.)
  • Don't forget to wash your produce and remove any bruised portions.
  • Remove large pits and hard seeds from fruits such as peaches, plumbs and cherries. Smaller and softer seeds, like those found in watermelons and grapes, can be juiced as they include beneficial nutrients. Always consider the standard ware on your juicer's blade when including these parts of produce in your juice.
  • Consider your produce before juicing it. So many great, fresh fruits and vegetables can be juiced, but the produce must have a relatively high water base. Most fruits and vegetables have plenty of water that's perfect for juicing. Fruits like bananas and avocado will not juice well, but can be used in other recipes.

Tips on choosing a juicer

The motor of the juicer is one of the most important parts of the device. A powerful motor will ensure that your juicer provides the consistent force and speed required to maximize the juice that you extract from your produce.

The style of juicer that you'll need depends on the type of ingredients that you're planning to juice. If you're planning to primarily juice citrus fruit -- then a citrus juicer is for you. The centrifugal juicer is for common juicing of a variety of typical fruits and vegetables. The masticating juicer is a more advanced device and provides more grinding power that's great for juicing dense foods, like carrots and nuts.

Consider a juicer that has fewer parts. These machines are typically easier to clean and maintain.

Bryan Tomek is owner of the health & fitness Web site www.fitstores.com. Fitstores.com carries a unique variety of health and fitness products. You can find yoga, pilates and fitness accessories as well as juicers, jogging strollers, natural personal care products and allergy products by visiting www.fitstores.com.

Discuss This Article