Juicing For Healthy Weight Loss

iStock_000002087570XSmall-198x300Juicing has many health benefits, and one of the biggest is as a weight-loss aid. Juicing adds a burst of nutrient-rich energy and health-promoting enzymes, while adding very few calories and almost no fat to the diet. It can be used to “jump-start” your diet with a juice fast, or used as a meal replacement; as well as being used as a part of individual meals.
Juicing is also an easy, delicious way to add fruits and vegetables you don’t care for to your diet. Adding a vegetable or fruit you would normally refuse to eat to a juice blend full of things you DO like will provide the nutrients you may be missing out on, while the flavors of the other ingredients cover the taste. The greater the variety of foods you include in your diet, the better you’ll feel, and the less likely you’ll be to have cravings or “backslide.”

When choosing ingredients when juicing for weight loss, look for a full range of colors, and use more vegetables than fruits to keep the calorie counts lower. Fruits are necessary, for both flavor and vitamins, but they tend to be higher in sugars, so a little goes a long way. In addition, using the freshest ingredients possible will provide more vitamins and minerals, and fresher fruits and vegetables contain more moisture as well, so they’ll provide more juice than something that’s been sitting in the refrigerator for a while.

Some excellent fruit choices for blends are:

apples
oranges
peaches
pears
plums
lemon
lime
pineapple
mangos
passionfruit
cherries and berries

Vegetables that work well include:

spinach – rich in vitamins and minerals, spinach will help mellow out stronger flavors and bind them together
broccoli and brussel sprouts – not popular vegetables, but highly nutritious, juicing is an easy way to slip broccoli and brussel sprouts into the diet
bell peppers in every color – bell peppers contain more Vitamin C than citrus fruits, and are also rich in antioxidants
beets and beet greens – very strongly flavored, beets should only be used in blends, not used as pure beet juice
turnips and turnip greens
Kale, collards, and mustard greens – dark leafy greens are a good source of calcium and iron
carrots (and tops) – carrots contain many vitamins and minerals, are rich in beta carotene, and full of antioxidants. Although most of us automatically chop off the green tops, they also make an excellent addition to your juice
celery – celery is an excellent source of magnesium, and is a mild diuretic. To avoid clogging the juicer with the long fibrous strings, cut it into short sections for juicing
cabbage – cabbage juice oxidizes quickly, beginning to lose vitamins and minerals as soon as it’s juiced, so it should be added last, and the juice should be used immediately
asparagus – rich in asparagine, an amino acid that is destroyed by cooking, asparagus is also a mild diuretic
fennel – similar in nutritional content to celery, fennel adds a sweet, licorice flavor to blends and helps to sweeten the breath
parsley – provides high levels of chlorophyll, as well as reducing the strong odor and flavor of garlic. Parsley should be juiced with other vegetables, since the dense pulp can clog the juicer by itself.
cucumbers – cucumbers are high in potassium and other minerals, and are an excellent addition to a juice blend
lettuces like romaine or leaf lettuce (iceberg lettuce is very low in nutrients, and should be avoided.)
garlic – with more health benefits than can be listed here, a clove of garlic is an excellent addition to your juice
onions – with multiple health benefits similar to garlic, adding a slice of onion or a whole green onion is a wonderful way to perk up the flavor of juice blends.
ginger – strongly flavored, with anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, ginger will add a bit of spice and heat to juice blends. Start with small pieces until you’ve determined how much works for you.
hot peppers – capsaicin (the component of peppers that makes them hot) has been shown to have many health benefits, and juicing is a way to get capsaicin into your diet even if you don’t like hot foods. In small amounts, (remove the seeds for less spiciness) you can add the benefits of capsaicin without adding too much “heat.”

For even more flavor and health benefits, you can toss in a few leaves of your favorite fresh herbs, but these have strong flavors, so start with small amounts and build up slowly if you like it. Good choices include:

any of the sage varieties
rosemary
basil
thyme
lemongrass
lemon balm

Juicing is a great way to get essential vitamins and nutrients into your diet and to help your body work at its optimum to speed up fat burning and accelerate your weight loss.

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