There is much discussion online regarding the benefits of juicing. Some are for, while others are against. As part of a balanced diet, juicing can be an effective tool to promote optimal health. However, not all juicing methods are equal. Store-bought 100% fruit juice affects the body quite differently compared to fresh cold-pressed low-glycemic-index vegetable juice high in live enzymes, nutrients, and antioxidants. Advantages and benefits of adding cold-pressed juice to the diet include prevention or management of chronic diseases as well as numerous other benefits, as discussed below.
Benefits of Juicing #1: Juicing is a low-calorie, high-nutrient powerhouse.
It’s no secret that drinking freshly-extracted cold-pressed juice provides your body with a myriad of valuable vitamins and minerals. However, calories start to add up quickly when fruit juice is incorporated. By adding just a small quantity of fruit juice to naturally low-calorie vegetable juice, the end product retains its sweetness and still packs an impressive nutritional punch, all while minimizing calorie intake.
Benefits of Juicing #2: Some types of juice may help to lower high blood pressure.
Although not every type of juice affects blood pressure, clinical research has shown promising results linking decreased blood pressure in people with hypertension. By lowering high blood pressure, the risk of cardiovascular disease is also reduced, especially in people who are obese, diabetic, or those with ischemic diseases.
Beetroot juice: One double-blind, randomized controlled study examined the effect of beetroot juice on hypertension. The researchers concluded that 250 mL beetroot juice per day for 4 weeks lowered high blood pressure about 7 points (mm Hg) compared to the control group receiving a nitrate-free placebo juice. This effect was attributed to the nitrates naturally present in beetroot. Nitrate, converted by the body to nitric oxide, improves blood flow and prompts dilation of blood vessels, thereby decreasing blood pressure.
Berry juices: Juices of several types of berries have also been shown to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension or “high normal” pressure, an effect attributed to polyphenols, unique functional compounds found in plants. One 12-week trial of middle-aged hypertensive participants noted a decrease in blood pressure ranging from 6.8 to 7.3 mm Hg in the group receiving a berry juice blend high in polyphenols, compared to a decrease of approximately 1.5 mm Hg in the placebo group.
Pomegranate juice: A 2017 systematic review concluded that pomegranate juice has antioxidant, antihypertensive, and anti-atherosclerotic (heart disease) properties. Since a systematic review pools and rigorously analyzes the data of multiple studies to arrive at a conclusion, this type of study represents the highest level of scientific evidence. Analysis of data from eight different randomized controlled trials supported the role of pomegranate juice in significantly decreased systolic, diastolic, and overall blood pressure.
Benefits of Juicing #3: Juice can help in the prevention and management of chronic inflammatory diseases and even cancer.
Chronic inflammatory diseases include conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), psoriasis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Individuals with chronic inflammatory diseases often present with excessive amounts of inflammatory cells in the areas affected by their disease, as well as exhibiting dysfunctional inflammatory responses. Studies utilizing pomegranate juice have shown promise as a treatment for IBD. It is believed this anti-inflammatory effect is due to the presence of ellagitannins and ellagic acid, two types of polyphenols commonly found in many types of seeds, nuts, and fruits. Punicalagin, a type of ellagitannin, is abundant in pomegranate juice. Similar compounds found in raspberries and strawberries have indicated the potential for cancer prevention. Decreased levels of inflammation have even been seen in diabetic individuals and those undergoing hemodialysis for kidney disease. While more research is certainly needed on these compounds, the implications for the use of juice in future disease prevention and health promotion are numerous.
Benefits of Juicing #4: Low-glycemic-index juices are effective for management or prevention of type 2 diabetes.
Many people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes can successfully avoid developing the disease by following a low-glycemic-index (low-GI) diet. A randomized controlled crossover study investigated the effect of pomegranate polyphenols on blood glucose levels following ingestion of high-GI bread in healthy subjects. This study utilized both pomegranate juice and supplemental pomegranate extract in pill form. It was concluded that the pomegranate juice reduced the effect of the high-GI bread on blood glucose levels, compared to both the control and experimental pomegranate extract groups. This research represents an exciting development for diabetes prevention and management using a dietary intervention rather than medications or procedures.
Benefits of Juicing #5: Juice contains high levels of antioxidants, protecting against chronic disease.
Many of the top causes of death have been linked to inflammation and oxidative stress, including cancer and heart disease. It is widely accepted that fruit and vegetable intake can improve antioxidant status, lowering the risk of chronic disease development. Can juice have the same effect? Recent research supports this theory. A study investigating the use of bilberry (similar to blueberry) juice in otherwise healthy individuals at increased risk for heart disease concluded that the antioxidants present in the juice were capable of combating inflammatory processes that could otherwise lead to chronic disease development. These antioxidants, including polyphenols, anthocyanins, quercetin, resveratrol, and epicatechin, are believed to be key factors in promoting health and preventing disease.
Benefits of Juicing #6: Juice can enhance athletic performance.
Fresh juice is not only beneficial for health – it can also improve performance in sports and exercise. Beetroot juice in particular is one of only five dietary supplements categorized as Class A by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), indicating the highest level of scientific evidence to support its use. Beetroot juice, providing a dietary source of nitrate, is converted to nitrous oxide when oxygen levels are low (such as during strenuous exercise). Nitrous oxide has a variety of effects on the cellular level, including decreased VO2 max (better endurance) during cardiovascular exercise, increased muscular strength during resistance training activities, and decreased muscular fatigue. Beetroot juice represents an impressive ergogenic aid that can be helpful for elite athletes as well as the average gym-goer.
Benefits of Juicing #7: Some types of juice may also improve recovery after exercise.
Many athletes swear by tart cherries or tart cherry juice to avoid a phenomenon known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which occurs approximately 48 hours after intense or prolonged exercise. One study investigated the use of tart cherry juice in runners, examining biomarkers of muscle damage, inflammation, antioxidant status, and oxidative stress before and after running a marathon. Compared to the control group, participants receiving tart cherry juice exhibited higher antioxidant status, lower oxidative stress, and significantly faster recovery of isometric strength. Even if you’re not a marathon runner, juice containing tart cherries can allow you to recover faster from exercise and experience less muscle soreness. Simply adding a small amount of tart cherry juice to fresh cold-pressed vegetable juice is certainly more delicious than taking anti-inflammatory medications, and it comes with none of the side effects.
Benefits of Juicing #7: Juicing allows for easier nutrient absorption.
Compared to consuming whole fruits and vegetables, nutrients in freshly extracted cold-pressed juice are more readily available for absorption. Although most of our bodies are capable of efficient absorption, juicing represents a helpful alternative for people with digestive disorders, nutrient deficiencies, altered absorption due to gastric surgery, or medical conditions that require limiting dietary fiber intake.
Benefits of Juicing #8: Certain kinds of juice can even help improve your mental health.
Clinical depression affects millions of individuals and often also negatively impacts their physical health. Antidepressant medications can be life-saving and help those suffering from depression to reclaim a “normal” life. However, many of these medications come with a long list of potential side effects, and many people have treatment-resistant depression that may be due to inflammatory processes rather than neurotransmitter abnormalities. What if a dietary change could have the same effect or even complement the use of antidepressants? New research on plant-derived products supports this possibility, especially using a bioactive dietary polyphenol preparation (BDPP) containing Concord grape juice, trans-resveratrol, and grape seed extract. This formulation has been deemed safe for the liver and kidneys, and it appears to promote the development of two substances that protect against stress by resisting inflammation. Not only does this BDPP have the potential to combat depression on its own, it has been proven to work in conjunction with antidepressant medication therapy. Since BDPP targets different factors than antidepressants, it can be used with medication without the fear of side effects. This represents an exciting development in mental health as people become more interested in natural remedies to clinical conditions.
Benefits of Juicing #9:Juicing is a convenient option to meet your dietary goals.
Life moves fast in today’s society, and fast food is often too easy and affordable to pass up. So, how do you strike a healthy balance between convenience and health? Juicing is a quick and simple way to obtain sustainable amounts of nutrients found in fruits and vegetables as part of an otherwise less-than-perfect diet.
Benefits of Juicing #10: The average person would rather drink their vegetables than eat them.
Let’s face it – most people have a few types of vegetables they dislike, and perhaps a few others that they will eat but typically don’t prepare for themselves. Consider this scenario… would you rather eat a huge steaming plate of cabbage and broccoli, or drink fresh cold-pressed juice containing cabbage, broccoli, apple, and lemon? Naturally, most people would opt for the juice, especially when considering the added flavor and sweetness provided by the small amount of fruit. By incorporating fresh cold-pressed juice in your daily routine, you truly can have your vegetables and drink them too.
The bottom line on the benefits of Juicing
Of course, we aren’t advocating removing fresh fruits and vegetables from your diet. Consuming whole fruits and vegetables is extremely beneficial, and juicing cannot provide adequate dietary fiber, so intake of healthful whole foods should be maintained. However, low-calorie, high-nutrient juicing can be an effective addition to a well-planned diet containing a variety of fiber-containing foods. Drink up, and enjoy the benefits of freshly extract cold press juice!
Important notice: This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. Readers should consult their relevant healthcare providers in relation to their health and well-being.
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