June 25, 2013
From the chatter in yoga studios and gyms to the prevalence of juice bars and late night infomercials, it seems like everyone is touting the benefits of green juice, but what exactly are these earthy blends made from and why are they so good for you? Dr. Ginger, author of Know More than Your Doctor About the Healing Powers of Green Juice, shares three of her favorite green juice recipes, and registered dietitian Tiffani Bachus gives the nutritional scoop on why you should consider sipping on these tasty blends.
The Mix: Cucumber, spinach, red pepper, fennel
R.D. Insight: Cucumbers—which are approximately 96 percent water and full of vitamins and minerals—are great for restoring hydration and are a perfect weight-loss health food. Combined with fennel, which contains a phytochemical called anethole known to help prevent and alleviate gas and upset stomach, and you have a beverage with a kick that will keep your body balanced and energized for success during your workouts.
The Mix: Cabbage, lemon, loads of mint
R.D. Insight: As general digestive aids, mint and lemon can help maximize the benefits of healthful eating while also enhancing the flavor of this simple recipe. Citric acid—the natural preservative found in lemons—aids in digestion. And mint is not only a powerful natural diuretic, but it also is known to reduce the severity of irritable bowel syndrome by calming the muscles of the stomach and improving the flow of bile, which helps digest fat in the body.
The Mix: Kale, spinach, parsley, celery, cucumber, ginger, tumeric, lemon
R.D. Insight: Boost your nutritional profile with two leafy green superfoods—kale and spinach—both of which are rich in iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C and K, all of which are essential for muscle contraction and getting oxygen to working muscles—a bonus during your workout routine. To reduce post-workout muscle soreness, ginger provides anti-inflammatory benefits to help keep your body on track for your next session.
3 Tips for Getting Started with Juicing
New to juicing? Follow these helpful tips for adding green juice to your diet.
1. Give your taste buds time to adjust.
With the flavor of many foods masked behind salt, sugar and other additives, it may take time to develop an appreciation for veggies in their natural state. If you are adding green juice to your diet for the first time, Dr. Ginger recommends initially using a straw when sipping on these blends to give your palate time to adjust. “The more ‘real’ food you consume and the less processed food you intake, the faster your taste buds will get back to normal and you will love and crave green juice.”
2. Let veggies take center stage.
It may be tempting to pack your green juice full of fruit for some added sweetness, but Dr. Ginger suggests that green juice be made of greens and other veggies to help stabilize blood sugar and give the immune system an added boost. “My viewpoint comes from a healing perspective, not a taste perspective as juiced fruit contains loads of sugar. And for many people with health challenges—such as diabetes—this is a no-no. I always say eat your fruit and juice your veggies.”
3. Don’t be afraid to mix things up.
While it’s great to have a go-to green juice recipe that you love, keep in mind that there are a plethora of delicious veggies just waiting to be juiced. Dr. Ginger recommends changing up the ingredients in your green juice often to not only beat boredom, but also for an added nutritional boost. “The whole idea behind green juicing is to give your body a blast of easily absorbable super-nutrients, so give it a wide variety to work with.”
Do you have a favorite green juice recipe?
Jessica Matthews, MS, E-RYTContributor
Jessica Matthews, M.S., E-RYT is assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College. As a leading fitness expert, writer and educator Jessica is a regular contributor to numerous publications, including Shape and Oprah.com. She holds a B.S. in physical education teacher education from Coastal Carolina University and M.S. in physical education from Canisius College. She is a certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as well as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) through Yoga Alliance and trained stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga instructor. Prior to teaching at Miramar, Jessica worked full-time ACE, serving in a number of key roles including exercise physiologist, certification director and senior health and fitness editor. Her past work also includes serving as aquatics director at Conway Medical Wellness and Fitness Center and designing health and physical education curriculum for grades K-12. Full Bio Jessica Matthews »