By: Michele Wolfson
When it comes to juicing- I'm hooked. If I don't have a fresh juice in the morning, I feel somewhat deprived. As hooked as I may be, finding new and interesting ingredients can be difficult to come up with. So we went to the experts in search for which ingredients would be not only creative, but would bring the most nutritional value per juice.
The eatery Uptown Veg in Harlem has a juice bar with many different concoctions to select. I asked the juicer named Drew to tell me what juicing ingredients are the most nutritious to add to my drink. He suggested ginger and celery stating, "Celery is a must-have in all juices." I asked Drew about beets and he said that they are great to add to juices because they are one of the most powerful vegetables available.
Vegetable and fruit juices are well suited for our fast moving lifestyles because it makes it possible for all of us busy people to add more healing foods into our diets with minimal effort. Below is a list of the top 6 juicing ingredients that pack a nutritional punch and should be included in any juice that you create.
Also, be sure to check out our list of 5 Healthy Root Vegetables and try using some of those in your juices as well!
1. Ginger: Ginger is beneficial for digestion because it rids the stomach and intestines of gas. It also aids in the digestion of fatty foods, alleviates high blood pressure, and lowers cholesterol levels. For those of you who are on a boat, or pregnant... or a pregnant and on a boat- add ginger to your juice because its known to treat morning and motion sickness.
2. Beets: Beets are said to really cleanse the blood and kidneys. Beet juice is an antioxidant-rich source of carbohydrates. However, when it comes to juicing, some believe that its best to combine beets with other fruits and vegetables. This is because too much beet juice can upset the stomach. Consider mixing them with cucumbers, celery, apples, and carrots.
Beets are chockfull of cancer-fighting antioxidants. Betacaine, which give beets their rich red color, starve tumors and hinder cell division. Adding a quarter cup of beets to your daily diet can reduce your kidney cancer risk. Beet juice also promotes weight loss.
3. Celery: Adding celery to juices is beneficial because it contains vitamin C and helps lower cholesterol. It also may be useful in cancer prevention. Celery is excellent for cleansing the digestive system of uric acid. It is also useful for people with gout and urinary infections. Celery juice also helps calm the nerves and promotes restfulness and sleep.
4. Apple: Sometimes when I am having juice that has garlic, ginger or something potent, I balance the flavor with a sweet apple. Apples are a delicious fruit base for juices and are rich in beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, vitamins, and phosphorus. Try having a glass of apple juice a day to keep the doctor away. Being high in fiber, it helps lower cholesterol, is an ideal antioxidant, is an immune system booster and also aids in cleaning the digestive system.
Honey crisps are my personal favorite apple for juice and general consumption because they have the perfect balance of crunchiness and sweetness.
5. Mango: Adding fruits to juices makes a vegetable based beverage taste great and is a clever way of getting a substantial amount of fruit into your diet. One medium mango contains a large amount of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Like most fruits, the mango is low in protein, but very high in fiber content. Mango juice and mango pulp contain no cholesterol or saturated fat, low sodium and contain only about .6 grams of total fat. This fruit is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium.
Since it's such a good source of dietary fiber, mangoes are effective against degenerative diseases, especially with regards to the heart. Their nutritional composition may help prevent certain types of cancer, as well as lower blood cholesterol levels. An average-sized mango can contain up to 40% of your daily fiber requirement. Replenish lost potassium and energy after a long jog or workout with healthy mango and cucumber juice. Add a splash of vanilla and drink it on ice- YUM!
6. Dandelion Greens: Ever hear of this vegetable? If not, you should get to know it well. Dandelion greens are loaded with magnesium, a mineral our bodies seek for energy and stamina production. This leafy green can be nutritious and delicious when juiced with other ingredients.
Dandelion greens should gain recognition for containing nearly as much iron as spinach and four times the amount of vitamin A found in lettuce. Because of their greenness and their bitterness, you'll want to juice them with another vegetable such as carrots to add sweetness to the juice.
Since dandelion greens taste mildest in the spring, juices from dandelion greens are used as an excellent spring tonic capable of cleansing the system and strengthening the blood and bones.
Perhaps most importantly, dandelion greens are a superior source of magnesium, which helps the body's natural abilities for energy and stamina. If you are anything like me and tend to increase your physical activities during the summer months, adding dandelion greens to your spring juicing routine is an excellent idea.
What other fruits and vegetables are you putting in your juices? We want to know!
Photo: Food Thinkers
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