The Benefits of Green Juice: Fact or Fad?

Disclaimer: Image found on Weheartit and edited by TBC. 

Disclaimer: Image found on Weheartit and edited by TBC. 

Okay, so here I am trying to be super health conscious post holidays, thinking I'll finally succumb to the oh so trendy green juice phenomenon. For the amount of people who swear by it, it's gotta be legit right? Wrong. Well kind of. Here's what you need to know about juicing and how you can healthily implement it into your diet (if you're still interested after the lowdown). 

First and foremost, the most nutritious green juices taste earthy. Surprise surprise, homemade veggie juices and smoothies are nothing like the pasteurized, sugar packed delights you may find at your local grocery store. Most nutritionists recommend that you limit the amount of fruit in your juice and stick to mostly vegetables. While this suits some taste buds, it's definitely a turnoff for others who prefer a sweeter beverage. However, to combat this issue you may try adding one large green apple or pear to high veggie recipes. Just don't juice the entire apple, as high enough doses of apple seeds can be carcinogenic! Though it is unlikely that you'll eat enough apple seeds to make you sick, it's best to avoid putting any amount of toxins into our bodies. 

While juicing can be a simple, on the go solution to getting in your five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, keep in mind that juice machines leave behind fibrous pulp. Try the liquefy setting on a high power blender to retain all the nutritional benefits of your fruits and veggies. Another option, which allows you to get all the nutritional benefits of your vegetables, is to simply use all of the ingredients from the juice recipe and incorporate them into a small meal. Got a recipe calling for spinach, tomatoes and celery? Dice the tomatoes to use in a small spinach salad and lightly coat with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Dice up and incorporate the celery as well, or eat the sticks on the side. 

One of the biggest pieces of misleading advice commonly advertised by various self-proclaimed "nutrition gurus" and juice companies alike is the idea that juice cleanses are essential to health and weight loss. While juice cleanses have been praised as a rapid weight loss solution, this is simply due to fact that you're slashing calories by taking in only liquified fruits and vegetables, said Today Show nutrition expert Joy Bauer. So basically you're partaking in a high-carb, low protein and low-fiber diet. Due to this lack of protein, the weight you lose ends up being a higher proportion of muscle tissue than fat, Bauer said. Juice fanatics will also claim that cleanses are essential to detoxify the body. Guess what? Assuming you have a healthy liver, kidney and gastrointestinal tract, your body is already fully equipped to remove toxins on its own. 

So, why juice? Juicing can be a great way to get in your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. It's also a healthy and easy solution for on the go gals. Keep in mind though, there isn't really a benefit to juicing over eating your vegetables. Many juicing addicts believe they're upping their health immensely by juicing, but it all depends on how you're integrating the veggie packed liquids into your diet. To reap the benefits of juicing, it's a good idea to drink juice on top of the fruits and veggies you already eat. Sure you're getting in your vegetables if you use juice as a meal replacement, but not any more than you would be if you had just eaten them in a meal. The whole point of juicing is to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Therefore, if you're not a fan of juicing, there's no reason to force yourself to gulp down the greens. Simply add more small veggie packed snacks to your diet. If you do happen to be a green juice go-getter, stay away from cleanses and instead juice in addition to your typical (nutritious) meals to up your vegetable intake and benefit from this trendy nutrition booster.