The Pros and Cons of Juicing

Dr. David Wiss

August 18, 2022

Nutrition

Juicing has a lot of benefits but has picked up some questionable energy due to its association with “detoxing” and “cleansing.” If you haven’t figured it out by now, Wise Mind Nutrition is not into extreme diets and takes a stand against diet culture. Stand with us.

Juice detoxes and juice cleansing in lieu of eating actual food is a big “no-no” and can even create risk for eating disorder symptoms. But does that mean that all juicing is wrong or bad? Absolutely not! Juicing can boost your mood due to the high polyphenolic content in the plants.

The reality is that most people don’t meet their daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. Many people can boost their fruit intake but still have difficulties consuming enough vegetables, particularly dark leafy green vegetables rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, and B-vitamins such as folate. Juicing is an excellent way to add more dark leafy green vegetables into your routine.

Green vegetables also contain an abundance of carotenoids and other antioxidants that protect cells, prevent disease progression, and essentially improve mental health. Dark green leafy vegetables also contain iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. This can be part of an anti-inflammatory diet for depression and overall efforts to improve your relationship with food.

You might be wondering if it is wise to purchase a juicer. This depends on how much kitchen space you have and how willing you are to clean the machinery. Make sure you’ve set aside time for making meals before you move on to juicing. Juicing for one person can feel like a task; however, many others find it manageable and worthwhile. Juicing can also be fun and part of a meditative process.

Types of Juicers

Having a juicer at home can be very convenient, especially if you over-purchase produce or feel a need to consume it before spoilage. In this case, juicing at home is the way to go. Fresh juice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days, but it is best to consume the juice immediately because many of the phytonutrients undergo degradation.

Cold-pressed juice has grown in popularity in recent years. The idea here is that a hydraulic press is used to create the juice rather than mechanical processes that generate heat. The heat from machine juicers speeds up the degradation of sensitive phytonutrients. Therefore, cold-pressed juice can be stored longer, but it is wise to consume it within three days.

If the juice is consumed in real-time, it shouldn’t make much difference if it’s mechanical or cold-pressed juice. For bottled juices, cold-pressed juice is the way to go. One of the downsides is that this habit can be expensive, which is why many prefer to invest in a juicer.

For those not interested in purchasing a juicer, we recommend going to grocery stores with a juice bar. Grab a juice when you go to the grocery store, many high-end markets have a fresh juice bar. Juices can be consumed on grocery shopping days, which should be twice a week (and ideally at two different markets). Even if the grocery stores in your area don’t have a juice bar, purchasing bottled cold-pressed vegetable juice on these days can work. Otherwise, stop by a juice bar once or twice a week!

What to Juice

For people that are new to juicing, adding a little fruit to the juice can cut the bitter taste of green vegetables. Other people are satisfied with the sweetness of beets or carrots, and many people choose juices with no fruits added. Lemon is an excellent addition to green juice, and so is ginger! Ask for extra ginger for a real kick.

Many juice bars have options on their menu, but you can always customize your order. Start with trying celery, cucumber, kale, spinach, lemon, beet, and ginger. And then you can add or subtract based on your preferences. There is no reason this cannot be a part of your intuitive eating journey, even for people with a history of eating disorders. Just make sure you are not juicing instead of eating.

The fat-soluble vitamins in the green juice are best absorbed in the presence of fat, so either add a splash of olive oil into the mix or eat it with a handful of Brazil nuts, which have the highest selenium (powerful antioxidant) content of all foods. If you are looking to add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, eat walnuts with your juice.

Summary

Adding a fresh vegetable juice twice per week can support the quest for optimal mental health through nutrition. It’s time for nutrition for mental health to get the spotlight it deserves: food for mood and brain health. Why shouldn’t we choose foods that we love, and that love us back, and can also contribute to an improved mood?

Vegetable juice should not be consumed in lieu of meals but can be a great addition to a meal or snack. Experiment with different combinations. Sometimes it takes drinking green juice for a few months before your body really starts to crave it.

Juice is not a substitute for eating raw and cooked vegetables. It is designed to supplement rather than supplant your veggie intake. Just get those plants into your body- your microbes, your immune system, and your brain will thank you!