Juicing for health

fruit and vegetables

The pioneer of modern juicing, Dr Norman Walker, lived to the ripe old age of 101 and attributed his longevity to his diet.  Advocates claim that home-made fresh fruit and vegetable juices boost the immune system, detoxify the body, fight disease, prevent premature ageing, make skin look smoother and younger and give you strong bones and nails.

Fresh fruit and veg are packed with anti-oxidants and in juice form they go straight into the system much quicker.

A – Z of fruit and veggies to juice

• Alfafa, apples, apricots
• Banana, beetroot, blackberries, broccoli, blackcurrant
• Cabbage, celery, cherry, carrot, cucumber
• Dandelion
• Fennel
• Garlic, ginger, grapes, grapefruit
• Herbs
• Kiwi fruit
• Leeks, lemon, lettuce, lime
• Mandarin, mango, mint
• Onion, oranges
• Parsley, pawpaw, peach, peppers, plums, pumpkin
• Radishes, raspberries
• Spinach, strawberries, sweet potatoes
• Tomatoes, turnip
• Watercress, water melon, wheatgrass

You can add spirulina, wheatgerm, sesame and cumin for extra health benefits. It is better to dilute dark vegetables such as watercress.

• Cooking removes much of the goodness as do canning, pasteurising and processing, whereas juicing provides all the pure nutrients at their freshest and most potent.

• It is important to buy organic if you are to avoid pesticides, fertilisers and genetically modified ingredients – or your ‘healthy’ drinks will be contaminated with chemicals which aren’t good for you.

Plenty of antioxidants

The main antioxidants that fight disease and provide health benefits are:
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin B
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Zinc
• Selenium
• Some amino acids and enzymes

Anna Selby, author of The Juice and Zest Book explains: ‘Enzymes in fruit and vegetables not only break down food in the digestive system, but they also make it easier to absorb all the other nutrients. Some enzymes are only found in one fruit – such as papain in papaya which is excellent for digestion.’

• Juicing of any fresh fruit or veg cleanses your liver and eliminates toxins at quite a fast rate
• …..so much so that even constipation sufferers will find themselves visiting the loo quite frequently at first!
• And even if your metabolism is out of sorts and sluggish, juices are easily digested.

Add some fibre

While juicing extracts so much of the goodness, it does remove fibre which is another essential component of healthy eating. To make up for this it is necessary to eat some whole fruit and vegetable as well.

The chances are your intake of raw produce will increase considerably, as the time it takes to drink carrot juice is much less than it would take to munch through a bunch of carrots.

Why home-made?

Compared with packaged juices you can’t beat your own. Drinking a fresh juice straightaway means that vital nutrients have not had a chance to escape. Supermarket cartons of juice can never be equally fresh, even if they are ‘freshly squeezed’ or organic.

Every fruit and vegetable has its own nutrients and each one is beneficial for specific ailments.

• Usually a mixture of juices is recommended.
• It is advisable not to overload the system with fruit, so after a fruit juice your next drink should be made up of vegetables.

Most fruit and a huge variety of vegetables can be juiced, even those veggies which you would never consider eating raw can be juiced with herbs, spices and fruits. For example:

• turnips
• sweet potatoes
• beetroot

Moderation in everything

It is important to start moderately with maybe two juice drinks a day, but not as a substitute for meals
The reason for caution is that elimination of toxins can mean:
• headaches
• light-headedness
• spots
• skin blemishes
• general feeling of malaise.

Healthy eating and juicing is a good idea, unless you are keen to detox for a short while and then you do a juice fast, by slowly building up the number of juices a day (it’s always preferable to consult a professional nutritionist if detoxing).

Advice and menus are provided in both Michael Van Straten’s book Super Juice, and Anna Selby’s Juice and Zest. Fasting should only be carried out when you have the time and energy to do it – not when you are working, not feeling well, or rushing out to pick up kids.

What to juice

Provided vegetables are organic they can be used in entirety – roots, leaves, stalks and all – and completely juiced down.

Only those tough skins that you would never eat such as orange peel, banana skins, and the outer husk of a melon should be discarded. If you are confident there are no pesticides on the skin put it all in and include small pips but leave out hard stones.

The excellent juicing books on the market include a variety of recipes to enable you to mix several together for maximum effect. They also indicate which mixes are most effective if you are suffering from specific problems.

A few juicing tips:

• Juice fruit and vegs separately and mix afterwards (except apples and carrots)
• Dilute dark juices like watercress with water or other juices
• Always dilute juices for children
• Scrub the outside of organic fruit and veg rather than peeling
• Choose organic produce
• Buy ripe fruit which is in season
• Avoid tired, wilted veggies and fruit

Good juice combinations

Apple: full of anti-oxidants. Helps fight infection, detoxifies, acts as laxative, energises, softens skin and relieves inflammation such as rheumatism. Combine with carrot, orange, pineapple, ginger.
Beetroot: full of iron and other nutrients. Good for kidney and liver problems, strengthening the blood, energizing. Mix with cucumber, spinach or celery.
Orange: packed with Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants. Stimulates the heart, circulation, digestive system, is a laxative, but high in acid so don’t have daily. Can be combined with carrot, limes, lemons, bananas.
Tomato: rich source of Vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and sodium and other nutrients. Good for boosting the immune system, protecting against disease and rehydrating the body. Can be drunk on its own or mixed with celery.
Mango: one a day is said to provide the full Vitamin C requirement. It fights disease, cleanses the blood and kidneys. For even more benefits mix with banana, apples, kiwi fruit or orange.
Spinach: fights cancer, and benefits ulcers, anaemia, arthritis and fatigue, strengthens bones and teeth, regulates blood pressure and acts as a laxative. Do not use too often and always combine. Try beetroot, apple, cabbage, or avocado mixes.
Blackberries: full of Vitamin C and other nutrients. General tonic and system cleanser as well as boost to immune system. Not very juicy so combine with water melon, or apple.
Fennel: is excellent for nausea and menstrual problems, cleanses skin and strengthens the blood. Always combine: with cucumber, or in a mix with apples, pears and carrots.


The cost of juicers ranges enormously from around £40 to several hundred pounds. While cost is a consideration look at size as well. Anna Selby recommends a reasonably priced juicer, ‘Why buy a very large machine which you keep in the cupboard? I would rather have a small one which is out on the work surface all the time.’

Centrifugal juicers are the least expensive and contain a fast rotating plate and sharp grating surface at the bottom of the basket. The machine uses centrifugal force to fling the fruit and vegetables against the sides of the perforated basket and the juice from the pulp is separated and collected through a spout. Choose one with a stainless steel basket rather than aluminium which can leave traces in your juice.

The masticating juicers are much more expensive, starting at over £250, but are designed to get every bit of juice and goodness out. As the name implies the sharp teeth masticate the fruit and veg, pulverizing the cell walls to get maximum goodness out.

Presses are generally used for people who have life threatening illnesses such as cancer. After extracting with a juicer, the juice goes into the press to filter out cell wall material where toxins settle, if there are any.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *