Health Benefits of Fresh Raw Foods and Juices
Why Consuming Raw Foods and Juices is so Beneficial to Your Health
Looking for an easy and effective way to do something good for your body? Consider the health benefits of consuming more fresh (raw) fruits and vegetables and consider trying juicing.
We hear how we need to increase our intake of fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Well, fresh juice is concentrated forms of these foods so you can get several servings of vegetables and greens with just one glass of juice. What is even more wonderful is that the fruits and vegetables that you use for juicing are fresh and raw.
We know that the process of cooking vegetables destroys most of the valuable micronutrients by altering their shape and chemical composition. According to Dr. Gabriel Cousens, “Raw vegan diets may very well provide the most effective therapeutic dietary treatment for chronic disease that exists today.” Research is under way on the effects of raw vegan diets on heart disease, diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Raw Foods offer promise in the realm of chronic disease because they eliminate the most potentially harmful categories of food while offering an abundance of antioxidants and phytonutrients and fiber that are associated with reduced disease risk.
These diets are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. According to Brenda Davis, RD and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD, in their book “Becoming Raw”, they noted the following:
One study showed that anti—inflammatory compounds were 10x more prevalent in raw food vegans than omnivores. They also had higher levels of C and E, and blood caratenoids were 2 –6 times greater.
Raw foods promote regularity which reduces time available for harmful compounds to be absorbed in the gut. Reduction in toxic compounds and improvement in vitamin status were more pronounced.
A 2006 US study by Dr. Fontana looked at IGF-1, which promotes cancerous tumor development. IGF-1 was lowest in the raw food vegan group and they showed less DNA damage than the other groups studied.
2007 World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research indicatedthat 16 out of 23 reports showed statistically significant risk reduction with raw vegetable intake and no reports show an increase risk.
A Columbia University and Cancer Research Center of Seattle study showed that as the total amount of raw cruciferous vegetables increased, cancer risk decreased.
Is it possible to eat enough raw vegetables to get the nutrition your body needs? Well, that’s where juicing can be valuable.
If you have ever had the good fortune to drink freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, you have undoubtedly been amazed at how much better it tasted than the concentrated or bottled varieties. The reason is that fresh juice, unlike commercial juice products, has not been pasteurized, which is a heat treating process commonly used to kill harmful bacteria that might occur during the bottling process or while the product sits on the store shelf waiting to be consumed. According Dr. Andrew Weil, “While heat treating can help keep our store-bought juices safe, it unfortunately also destroys enzymes, lowers vitamin concentrations and alters the taste – juice becomes blandly sweet, rather than featuring a natural symphony of complex and subtle flavors.” Since fresh juice is not pasteurized, it is richer with health benefits and flavor and does not act or taste like sugar water that may have a negative impact on blood sugar levels.
The benefits of juicing are wide and varied, beginning with the fact that you can consume the most beneficial amounts of vegetables efficiently while absorbing all of the available nutrients. A habitually poor diet will eventually make your body less efficient at absorbing the maximum available nutrients in the foods you consume. By juicing vegetables, it makes the foods so easy to absorb so you can receive the most nutrients available. For example, when you eat a whole carrot, you get several milligrams of betacarotene, a powerful cancer fighting antioxidant. When you juice a carrot, you get many times more.
The juice of organic vegetables is rich in nutrients. As the cells of your body are bathed in these fresh, alkaline vegetable juices, they begin to release toxins which are then eliminated from your body. Juicing provides a rich source of live enzymes essential to the digestive process. Enzymes are proteins that break down foods into nutrients your body can readily digest.
Juicing will flood your body with enzymes, vitamins and minerals while breaking down and releasing toxins. With fresh juice, you get a potent drink of chlorophyll and cancer fighting antioxidants that help to keep your blood at a proper alkaline pH level. Your cells become highly nourished while being cleansed because nutrients become easily absorbed.
Various studies have arisen over the past several years pointing to the health benefits of fresh fruit and vegetable juices. The two following examples illustrate this point.
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have identified “components in pomegranate juice that both inhibit the movement of cancer cells and weaken their attraction to a chemical signal that promotes the metastasis of prostate cancer to the bone. The research could lead to new therapies for preventing cancer metastasis.”
HealthDay News reported on a new British study that proved beet juice improved endurance. “The researchers found that … beetroot juice reduces oxygen uptake to a degree that can’t be achieved by any other means. The findings could benefit endurance athletes, elderly people and those with cardiovascular, respiratory or metabolic diseases” the study authors suggest.
The study included eight men, aged 19 to 38, who drank 500 milliliters a day of organic beetroot juice for six consecutive days. They then completed a series of tests on an exercise bike. The same tests were repeated after the men drank the same amount of a placebo (blackcurrant cordial) for six days
After drinking the beetroot juice, the men were able to cycle for an average of 11.25 minutes — 92 seconds longer than after consuming the placebo drink. The men also had a lower resting blood pressure after they drank the beetroot juice, the researchers found. The study was published Aug. 6 in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2008) — Researchers at Barts and The London School of Medicine have discovered that drinking just 500 ml of beetroot juice a day can significantly reduce blood pressure. The study could have major implications for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.
What to Juice?
The first step is to decide which juicer to purchase (please contact me by calling (724) 417-6695 or via email at email@example.com to discuss types of juicers and pricing). The most important thing to consider is what to actually put in the juicer. Please remember that green vegetable juice is extremely powerful, so make sure your juicer can juice green leafies.
Buy organic whenever possible and look for local farmers or co-ops that grow their products seasonally. If you’re new to juicing, the best vegetables to start with are celery and/or cucumbers. These are easy to digest and tolerate and give the juice a nice watery refreshing consistency. Once you’ve become accustomed to juicing, you can begin to add red-leaf, green-leaf or romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, collard greens or any green. Consider trying dandelion in the spring or fall when they are in season. This is a very powerful liver detoxifier and strengthener.
Then choose something to sweeten the taste of the juice to make it especially delicious. Try carrots, apples, beets or other fruits.
Adding herbs to your juicing can give you different flavors. Herbs to consider include parsley and cilantro. For a sweet, but low-glycemic flavor, consider adding lemons, limes, cranberries or fresh ginger. You may also consider a more savory juice with tomatoes, greens, herbs and garlic.
To really boost the nutritional value of your juice, consider trying wheatgrass. Wheatgrass is the most alkalizing green and is so nourishing and healing for the body.
If you need to store your vegetable juice, keep in an airtight preferably opaque container to keep the juice from oxidizing. Fresh juice can be kept for up to 72 hours.
It is a good idea to devote a day to drinking only fresh juice and water to give your digestive system a rest and to allow you body to lightly detox. Since energy is not going toward digesting heavier foods, this frees up energy and allows your body to work on healing and repairing while being nourished with pure nutrients. I recommend juice fasting over water fasting because your body is absorbing important nutrients which will prevent you from feeling light headed and fatigued
On a juice fast drink at least four 8-ounce glasses of juice from fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables, herbal teas and water. Be certain that you are staying regular while on a juice fast. Contact me at (724) 417-6695 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss ways to stay regular. When the time comes to break your fast, be sure to eat lightly and slowly – some whole fruit, perhaps. A heavy, rich meal to celebrate the end of your fast is likely to make you sick.
Do not fast if you’re pregnant or nursing. Also, especially when starting out, be sure to fast during timeswhen you know your activity will not be as strenuous as usual.
Anytime you drastically improve your diet to a more plant-based diet or begin a regimen of juicing, it is possible that you may feel worse a bit before you feel better. This is a function of your body beginning to detox. As your body is able to start eliminating toxins that are stored in cells and tissues, it is important that you are eliminating efficiently to get these toxins out of your system (instead of reabsorbing them).
If it is happening all too fast for you, then step back on the juicing and eat some solid foods (like rice or potatoes). Then step forward again gently to assist your body through the process.
Including fresh vegetable and fruit juices in your diet daily can help you consume more servings of these healthful foods in a way that is easy to digest. You will easily absorb powerful nutrients that nourish and rejuvenate the body while allowing the cells to release unwanted material. This is the secret to high energy, vitality, and good health.
“Becoming Raw: The Essential Guide to Raw Vegan Diets” by Brenda Davis, Vesanta Melina, Rynn Berry, 2010.
“Daily Glass Of Beet Juice Can Beat High Blood Pressure, Study Shows”ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2008)
“Scientists identify pomegranate juice components that could stop cancer from spreading”, University of California, Riverside, performed in the lab of Manuela Martins-Green, a professor of cell biology, the research was presented (Dec. 12, 2010) at the 50th annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology taking place in Philadelphia.