// Juiced in time… make mine a nutrient cocktail!

Once confined to health food stores, vegetarian restaurants and specialist juice bars, these days juicing has become commonplace in the home. With a multitude of health benefits, dietitian Scott Josephson asks; why wouldn’t you make homemade fruit and vegetable juices part of your daily diet?

The current Australian government recommendation is to eat two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables daily. The reason is simple: a diet high in fruits and vegetables will prevent or cure a wide range of ailments that could lead to breast, colon, oesophagus, stomach, lung, ovarian and rectal cancer. It can also help prevent overweight and obesity, reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, and improve control of diabetes.

Plant chemicals known as phytochemicals are on the cutting edge of nutritional research because they hold the keys to preventing some of our most deadly diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, asthma, arthritis and allergies. These phytochemicals are changing the way we think about juicing fruits and vegetables. For example, research suggests that broccoli contains a substance that may prevent breast cancer, and citrus fruits have substances that make it easier for your body to remove carcinogens. Grapes contain a phytochemical that appears to protect our cells’ DNA from damage, and a number of green vegetables contain phytochemicals that appear to offer protection against cancer-causing agents. That being said, there are a host of other-coloured vegetables that also appear to possess spectacular cancer-preventing phytochemicals, including bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, swede, turnip, beetroot, peppers, garlic, onions, leeks and chives.

Detailed studies in Africa, China, the Mediterranean and Russia have confirmed that countless diseases that afflict North Americans simply don’t exist in other cultures who consume higher quantities of fruits, vegetables and fibre, especially through juicing. For example, during more than 30 years of studies, British researchers working in Africa didn’t find a single case of such common ailments as diverticulitis, hernia, colon or prostate cancer. The only reason that they could attribute to the lack of these diseases was simple; differences in diet.

Exploring the benefits

These discoveries raise an important question; what else is there in the wisdom of juice therapy that, until recently, has been overlooked or ignored by traditional nutritional research? These days, juice programs often tout the value of adding chlorophyll to your daily diet. Chlorophyll is a substance found exclusively in plants with a structure similar to haemoglobin known as ‘the substance in blood responsible for transporting oxygen’. Researchers found that consuming chlorophyll enhances the body’s ability to produce haemoglobin, thus improving the efficiency of oxygen transport.

Consider fresh juice’s ability to deliver another important group of nutrients know as enzymes. Enzymes are your body’s work force acting as catalysts in hundreds of thousands of chemical reactions that take place throughout the body. Enzymes are essential for digestion and absorption of foods and for the production of energy at the cellular level. In fact enzymes are critical for most of the metabolic activities taking place in your body every second of every day. Fresh juices are a tremendous source of enzymes and the ‘freshness’ of juice is one of their key features since enzymes are destroyed by heat. When we consume cooked foods such as grains, fruits or vegetables, these vital enzymes are destroyed by heat above 45 degrees Celsius. Since fruits and vegetables are juiced raw, the enzymes are still viable when you drink the juice. Coincidentally many of the phytochemicals that nutritional researchers are focusing on are enzymes that help build or activate additional enzymes that play an essential role in protecting cells from damage.

Another overwhelming advantage to juicing is that it removes the indigestible fibre. These nutrients are available to the body in much larger quantities than if the piece of fruit or vegetable was eaten whole. For example, nutrients are trapped in the fibre and when you eat a raw carrot you are only able to assimilate about 10 per cent of the available beta-carotene. When a carrot is juiced, removing the fibre, nearly 100 per cent of the beta-carotene can be assimilated.

Finally, fruits and vegetables provide one more substance that is absolutely essential for good health – water! I have shared the following information in every lecture I’ve had the good fortune of giving: ‘Water is life’s blood, as it removes toxins and poisons from our system’. More than 65 per cent of most of the cells in our bodies are made of water and in some tissues the cells can be made up of as much as 80 per cent water. Many of the fluids we regularly consume, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages and artificially flavoured drinks contain substances that require extra water for our body to eliminate. Fruit and vegetable juices are free of these unneeded substances and are full of pure, clean water.

In closing I want you think about this. Be optimistically cautious when looking to purchase various juicing products promising ‘ultimate health in a bottle’. Your body is a finely tuned machine that requires impeccable care for optimal performance. Many products have not gone through rigorous testing or studies, since this process can be expensive and require a large number of subjects. Unfortunately, in most cases products contain anecdotal information and assertions. As always, choose wisely. As time goes on who knows how popular juicing will become, but let’s hope that maybe someday it will be hard to find a seat during happy hour at your local juice bar. Now let’s get a drink!

Scott will be divulging more of his expansive nutrition and training know-how at FILEX 2011. Choose from:

• Sugar sabotage! (A1L)
• Want more muscle? Training for shape and size (A2E)
• Sports supplements: promises, pitfalls and the good stuff (A4F)
• Women, metabolism and the hormone highway (B1G)
• Eating for energy and performance (B3F)
• Winning at losing – weight management made simple (B5A)

For program information click the links above or check out the Personal Training and the Nutrition & Fat Loss strands in your FILEX brochure. Visit www.filex.com.au to view the entire brochure and register online.

 

 

Scott Josephson, MS, RD
Scott is the director of operations at Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida. A registered dietitian, he presents at conferences throughout North America and has received numerous awards including the 2005 Director of the Year for Teaching Excellence and the 2010 Specialty Presenter of the Year for Can-Fit-Pro. Scott is on the international advisory boards for Can-Fit-Pro and American Fitness Professionals and Associates and has worked with numerous sports celebrities.