Juicing For Radiant Health by Dr. Mercola
I am firmly convinced that juicing is the final key to giving you a radiant, energetic life, and truly optimal health.
Cooking and processing food destroys these micronutrients by altering their shape and chemical composition.
Nutritional Typing and Juicing:
According to Nutritional Typing principles, if you are a carb type, vegetable juicing is STRONGLY recommended. With patients in our clinic, we strongly encourage it if they expect to regain their health. If you are a mixed type, it is certainly useful to juice. However, protein types need to follow some specific guidelines to make it work for them.
Protein Types and Juicing
If you are a protein type, juicing needs to be done cautiously. The only vegetables that should be juiced are your prime protein type vegetables, which are celery, spinach, asparagus, string beans and cauliflower (including the base).
It is important to keep your serving size of juice to no more than 6 oz., but don't be surprised if you find that as little as 3-4 oz. of juice feels like the right serving size for you. For a protein type, 3-4 oz. of juice is a significant amount.
Also, to make drinking vegetable juice compatible with protein type metabolism (which needs high amounts of fat), it is important to blend a source of raw fat into the juice. Raw cream, raw butter, raw eggs, avocado, coconut butter, or freshly ground flax seed are the sources of raw fat that we most recommend.
In addition to adding a source of raw fat to your juice, you may also find that adding some, or even all, of the vegetable pulp into your juice helps to make drinking the juiced vegetables more satisfying.
Reasons to Juice
There are three main reasons why you will want to consider incorporating vegetable juicing into your optimal health program:
- Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. This is important because most of us have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body's ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to "pre-digest" them for you, so you will receive most of the nutrition, rather than having it go down the toilet.
- Juicing allows you to consume an optimal amount of vegetables in an efficient manner. If you are a carb type, you should eat one pound of raw vegetables per 50 pounds of body weight per day. Some people may find eating that many vegetables difficult, but it can be easily accomplished with a quick glass of vegetable juice.
- You can add a wider variety of vegetables in your diet. Many people eat the same vegetable salads every day. This violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to a certain food. But with juicing, you can juice a wide variety of vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole.
If you are new to juicing, I recommend a mid-priced juicer. The cheap centrifugal juicers (like the Juiceman) break easily, produce low quality juice, and are very loud, which may contribute to hearing loss.
Many people initially think that juicing will be a real chore, but the majority are pleasantly surprised to find that it is much easier than they thought it would be.
This is partly because you should only start by juicing vegetables that you enjoy eating non-juiced. The juice should taste pleasant -- not make you feel nauseous.
It is very important to listen to your body when juicing. Your stomach should feel good all morning long. If it is churning or growling or generally making its presence known, you probably juiced something you should not be eating. Personally, I've noticed that I can't juice large amounts of cabbage, but if I spread it out, I do fine.
The health benefits of juicing are immense for adults and children.
Here are a few simple lessons to get you up and juicing quickly:
Lesson 1: Drink vegetable juice for breakfast.
Vegetable juice makes a great breakfast when balanced with some essential oils and a bit of chlorella.
Please remember that vegetable juice and fruit juices are two completely different substances in terms of nutrition. Ideally, you should avoid fruit juices due to their high sugar content. Although vegetable juice is processed, it doesn't raise insulin levels like fruit juice. The only exceptions would be carrot and beet juice (and most vegetables that grow underground), which function similarly to fruit juice.
Lesson 2: Get ready to juice!
Step 1: Now that you're ready for the benefits of vegetable juice, you need to know what to juice. I recommend starting out with these vegetables, as they are the easiest to digest:
- Fennel (anise)
These three aren't as nutrient dense as the dark green vegetables, which should be avoided if you are a protein type (except for spinach). Once you get used to the 3 vegetables listed above, you can start adding the more nutritionally valuable, but less palatable, vegetables into your juice.
Vegetables to avoid include carrots and beets. Most people who juice usually use carrots. The reason they taste so good is that they are full of sugar. I would definitely avoid all vegetables that grow underground to avoid an increase in your insulin levels.
If you are healthy, you can add about one pound of carrots or beets per week. I do believe that the deep, intense colors of these foods provide additional benefits for many that are just not available in the green vegetables listed above.
Step 2: When you've acclimatized yourself to juicing, you can start adding these vegetables:
Step 3: After you're used to these, then go to the next step:
- Red leaf lettuce
- Green Leaf lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- Chinese Cabbage
- Bok Choy
An interesting side note: Cabbage juice is one of the most healing nutrients for ulcer repair as it is a huge source of vitamin U.
Step 4: When you're ready, move on to adding herbs to your juicing. Herbs also make wonderful combinations, and here are two that work exceptionally well:
You need to be cautious with cilantro, as many cannot tolerate it well. If you are new to juicing, hold off on the cilantro. These are more challenging to consume, but they are highly beneficial.
Step 5: The last step: Only use one or two of these leaves, as they are very bitter:
- Collard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Mustard Greens (bitter)
When purchasing collard greens, find a store that sells the leaves still attached to the main stalk. If they are cut off, the vegetable rapidly loses many of its valuable nutrients.
One important note: I prefer to juice my vegetables at room temperature. I leave my vegetables out overnight, or for at least one hour in the morning, as I do not enjoy drinking cold fluids, especially when it is cold outside.
Lesson 3: Make your juice a balanced meal.
Balance your juice with protein and fat. Vegetable juice does not have much protein or fat, so it's very important for you to include these fat and protein sources with your meal.
Use eggs. Eggs will add a significant amount of beneficial fats and protein to your meal. An egg has about 8 grams of protein, so you can add two to four eggs per meal. I suggest that you blend the raw whole eggs, into the vegetable juice. The reason I advocate this is because once you heat the eggs, many of their nutrients become damaged. If you are concerned about salmonella, purchase organic eggs; it's unlikely you'll have any problems.
There is a potential problem with using the entire raw egg if you are pregnant. Biotin deficiency, a common concern in pregnancy, could be worsened by consuming whole raw eggs.
Please read my recent article, Raw Eggs for Your Health -- Major Update, for further information on consuming raw eggs.
For increased satiety, blend in some seeds. If you get hungry easily after juicing, put your juice and seeds in the blender to make a higher fat drink. Seeds are full of protein and essential fatty acids that bring a juice into balance beautifully. I recommend pumpkin and flax seeds. If you use flax seeds, use a coffee grinder to grind them first and drink immediately after blending into the juice.
Use chlorella. Chlorella is an incredibly powerful nutrient from the sea and is a form of algae. I use it quite a bit for mercury detoxification. It binds very strongly to mercury, eliminating it from your body. It also contains peptides that bind to lead, arsenic, plutonium and uranium. However, it does not bind to zinc, magnesium or copper -- the essential minerals you need -- so it’s an intelligent algae.
The normal dose is one teaspoon in the juice. However, about 30 percent of people cannot tolerate chlorella, so if it makes you nauseous you should definitely avoid it. The advantages of chlorella are:
- Provides a high source of chlorophyll.
- Adds magnesium and protein.
- Binds to heavy metals and pesticides.
If you have high iron or vitamin D levels, you will want to avoid chlorella, as it is loaded with both of these nutrients.
Add spirulina. Spirulina is another algae that has many similar benefits and is a good balance to chlorella. However, it does not bind to heavy metals like chlorella.
Consider a protein powder. I personally prefer to drink raw eggs for my breakfast protein. Fresh juice mixed with a protein powder is also a very convenient meal. In my opinion, whey protein is the best type of powder because it is the most complete protein, and the easiest to digest. Although whey protein is from milk and many people have lactose intolerance or an allergy to dairy, the major protein in milk that causes an allergy is casein. Fortunately, whey protein does not contain casein, so most people digest whey protein quite well. Please avoid soy protein powders, which are the most popular protein powders, but I cannot recommend due to the negative effects unfermented soy has on your body.
Add some garlic. I like to add one clove of garlic in my juice, as it incorporates the incredible healing potential of fresh garlic. I strongly advise you to do this regularly to balance out your bowel flora. The ideal dose is just below the social threshold where people start to notice that you have eaten garlic. One large clove, two medium cloves, or three small cloves is the recommended dose.
Add oil. But not just any oil! I highly recommend cod liver oil in the winter months and fish oil in the summer. If you live in a primarily sunny climate, however, I wouldn't advise taking cod liver oil as cod liver oil has a level of vitamin D that can prove toxic to those in very sunny climates. The dose for cod liver oil or fish oil is one teaspoon for every 25 to 40 pounds of body weight. Please note that cod liver oil can raise your vitamin D levels to unhealthy ranges, so ideally you should have your doctor monitor your vitamin D levels with a blood test while taking cod liver oil. Please be sure to read my comprehensive explanation on sunlight and vitamin D testing, and please review my updates on vitamin D information.
The reason why adding oil (fat) to your vegetable juice may be helpful, is that fat can help you better absorb the vitamin K – which is a fat soluble vitamin -- from your juice. Vitamin K is very important for adhering calcium into your bone matrix to help you build stronger bones. Additionally, new research suggests that vitamin K significantly reduces calcification in your arteries. Adding raw egg yolks, as described above, will also help you absorb all the vitamin K from the juice. You could also use flax as a source of omega-3 fat, but many people have problems digesting it.
Lesson 4: Make your juice taste great.
If you would like to make your juice taste a bit more palatable, especially in the beginning, you can add these elements:
- Coconut: This is one of my favorites! You can purchase the whole coconut or use unsweetened shredded coconut. It adds a delightful flavor and is an excellent source of fat to balance your meal. Coconut has medium chain triglycerides, which have many health benefits. Lauric acid -- the major fatty acid from the fat of the coconut -- has been recognized for its unique properties related to its antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal functions. Coconut also contains capric acid, which has antimicrobial components. Natural coconut fat in your diet helps normalize your body lipids, protects against alcohol damage to your liver, and improves your immune system's anti-inflammatory response.
- Cranberries: You can also add some cranberries if you enjoy them. Researchers have discovered that cranberries have five times the antioxidant content of broccoli, which means they may protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease. In addition, they are chock-full of phytonutrients, and can help women avoid urinary tract infections. Limit the cranberries to about 4 ounces per pint of juice.
- Lemons: You can also add half a lemon (leaving much of the white rind on). If you are a Protein Nutritional Type, you will not want to use lemons as they will push your pH in the wrong direction.
- Fresh ginger: This is an excellent addition if you can tolerate it. It gives your juice a little "kick"! And, as an added boon, researchers have found that ginger can have dramatic effects on cardiovascular health, including preventing atherosclerosis, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL).
Lesson 5: Drink your vegetable juice right away, or store it very carefully.
Juicing is a time-consuming process, so you'll probably be thinking to yourself, "I wonder if I can juice first thing in the morning, and then drink it later?" This is not a good idea. Vegetable juice is very perishable so it's best to drink all of your juice immediately. However, if you're careful, you can store it for up to 24 hours with only moderate nutritional decline. To store your juice:
- Put your juice in a glass jar with an airtight lid and fill it to the very top. There should be a minimum amount of air in the jar as the oxygen in air (air is about 20 percent oxygen) will "oxidize" and damage the juice.
- Wrap the jar with aluminum foil to block out all light. Light damages the juice.
- Store it in the refrigerator until about 30 minutes prior to drinking, as vegetable juice is best consumed at room temperature.
Most people juice in the morning, but if that does not work out well for your schedule, please feel free to choose whatever meal works best for your lifestyle.
Lesson 6: Clean your juicer properly.
We all know that if a juicer takes longer than 10 minutes to clean, we'll find excuses not to juice at all. I find that using an old toothbrush works well to clean any metal grater. If you buy a high-quality juicer, the whole process should only take about 5 minutes. Whatever you do, you need to clean your juicer immediately after you juice to prevent any remnants from contaminating the juicer with mold growth.
Warning: Avoid following the juicing recommendations that come with the juicer, as they most often emphasize carrot and fruit combinations.