Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Benefits of Green Juice & Green Juice Recipe

If you are like me you've probably been overindulging a bit too much with the holidays. I've really been craving fresh bright foods lately since I'm quite sure my body is trying to tell me something. I mentioned a while back that we'd been juicing and Mr. T. recently restocked us with bushels full of fruits and veggies so that we can back on our healthy track again.

I decided to make green juice for lunch today. I always feel like I'm drinking a cup of chlorophyll when I have green juice. Green juice will give you an energy pick-up after you drink it as well. Turns out drinking green juice is pretty trendy too, as it seems celebrities are using it to detox.

Here's what I included in my juice along with the health benefits of each green juice ingredient. Normally, I would also include some kale but I didn't have any in the house. Kale is a super food so give it a try too. Juicing takes some getting used to, so you can always add a little agave or honey to sweeten things up when you're getting started. This recipe makes quite a bit but you can always store the leftovers in an air-tight container for another time. Don't leave it too long though.

Note: I use a high power blender to make my juice. I prefer to leave the fiber in my juice rather than extract it with a fruit juicer. Also, if you aren't using organic fruits and vegetables, I recommend washing everything beforehand in a quality vegetable wash to avoid drinking a pesticide stew.

Green Juice Recipe
Makes 3-4 servings
1-2  bananas
2 pears
1 apple
2 celery stalks
2 baby cucumbers or equivalent
1/4 - 1/2 lime
Couple handfuls of romaine lettuce
Couple handfuls of fresh baby spinach
Optional: Couple handfuls of kale

Health Benefits:
Bananas: Bananas are high in potassium, but very low in sodium, thus having a perfect ratio for helping to prevent high blood pressure. Also contains tryptophan, an amino acid that can be converted to serotonin, leading to improved mood. Bananas are high in potassium, which helps normalize the heartbeat and regulate the body’s water balance.

Pears: Pears are high in pectin and actually contain more than an apple. This makes them effective in helping to lower cholesterol levels and in aiding to tone the intestines, thereby keeping them healthy. Pear juice also has an anti-inflammatory effect. It also has a wide assortment of vitamins and antioxidants, which will help boost your immune system during cold and flu season.

Apples: Apples contain plenty of vitamin A & C. Vitamin A is critical in maintaining healthy teeth, skin and tissue. The importance of vitamin C is well known, but did you know that vitamin C prevents free radical damage?  Vitamin C is also said to prevent various health conditions such as heart disease and inflammatory conditions.

Celery: Celery juice is one of the most hydrating foods we can put in our bodies and is an excellent natural diuretic. Celery is known to contain at least eight families of anti-cancer compounds. Drinking celery juice frequently throughout the day helps curb cravings for sweets.

Cucumbers: Cucumbers are a natural diuretic. Cucumber juice is used to help resolve acne, fluid retention, eczema, arthritis and psoriasis. It is also an aid in managing weight loss.

Limes: Lime juice has been used since the ancient times due to its medicinal properties. Like other citrus fruits, lime juice will boost the immune system and improve our resistance against various infections. A glass of lime juice in the morning on an empty stomach is said to have natural properties that can contribute to weight loss.

Spinach: There are substantial amounts of potassium in spinach, therefore drinking spinach juice is good for the cardiovascular system. Spinach is said to help to normalize the blood sugar levels, so it is useful for diabetics. It is also recommended for weight loss and contains anti-aging properties.

Romaine Lettuce: Romaine lettuce contains high levels of vitamins A, C and K, and also contains high levels of fiber along with many trace minerals. Raw lettuce is also a good source of folic acid. It is also useful for weight loss, constipation and insomnia. Romaine lettuce is also hydrating and adds a slight sweetness to your juice.

Kale: Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and the best way to digest all of these nutrients is through fresh raw juice. Spinach and kale contain lots of chlorophyll, which has been found to be an especially potent antioxidant at fighting cancer. It also aids in keeping our cells healthy. Although carrots are the most famous for containing beta-carotene, spinach and kale are equally as good. Many studies show a strong correlation between beta-carotene intake and a reduced incidence of heart disease. It is said that diets high in beta-carotene will support cardiovascular health.

Note: I am not a physician or a nutritionist. I am simply a food blogger who strives to be healthy. The above information is culled from my own research and is not intended as any sort of health advice. If you have any health questions or health-related issues, please consult your physician.

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