Smart juicing offers immune-boosting benefits.
By Andrea Zarczynski
Photography by Mateo Morrison
Over recent years, juice cleanses have proven to be more than just a passing fad. Halle Saperstein, R.D., a dietitian at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, recommends that her patients enjoy juices daily as a powerful way to step up nutrition and overall wellness.
“If fruits and vegetables are not part of a person’s normal diet, then juicing would be a good way to incorporate plant-based nutrients into a meal plan,” Saperstein said. “It is also a good way to add flax seeds, chia seeds, ginger, turmeric and other healthy ingredients to the diet for added health benefits.”
Not all juices are created equal, however. Like smoothies, many varieties are loaded with sugar and calories but little fiber. The best types of juice to choose, according to Saperstein, are the raw, pressed variety that include disease-fighting fruits and vegetables and do not exceed daily calorie and sugar intake recommendations.
Natasha Hermiz, health coach and founder of Naked Fuel Juice Bar in West Bloomfield, recently held a grand opening for her store. With a long list of calorie-conscious recipes made fresh to order behind her, she finds it gratifying to help customers make healthy decisions.
“There are many ways to approach juicing,” Hermiz said. “Juicing can be used as a coffee substitute in the morning or to cleanse the body from toxins. Fruit is natural, but it still has sugar, so you want to keep sugar to a minimum to support a healthy, balanced lifestyle.”
Naked Juice uses organic products and only whole fruits and vegetables with no additives. Dairy and gluten-free selections are listed along with health benefits on the menu, and Hermiz even assists customers with planning three-day juice cleanses. She always chooses fruits high in antioxidants like acai and blueberries, and ensures that every recipe consists of three-parts veggies to one-part fruit.
Mineral-rich green vegetable and sprout juices are ideal for fitness-minded individuals as they are both hydrating and contain electrolytes and live nutrients essential for muscle repair. Fresh juices are also known to be liquid nutritional supplements absorbed by the body better than synthetic supplementation.
“Juicing is a fast way to get a significant amount of raw and living food into your daily diet and to enjoy the benefits of consuming a high percentage of raw food,” Hermiz said. “If drinking packaged juices, read all ingredients, and if you can’t pronounce it, don’t consume it.”
Raw foods are known to support high energy levels, quicken recovery time from illness and slow the aging process. Separating juice from the fiber of a fruit or vegetable makes it easier for the body to begin rapidly digesting a higher concentration of nutrients. Less digestive work for the body means more energy for other metabolic processes, said Hermiz, who recommends enjoying a juice in the morning or midday in addition to a complete breakfast, lunch and dinner.
To Juice Or Not To Juice
The daily goal recommended by most nutritionists is to consume three servings of a mix of green, red and yellow vegetables and two servings of varied color fresh fruit. If someone is not meeting the guideline through regular foods, then Saperstein recommends adding liquid vitamins to juices each day, while being careful not to mega dose, which can be dangerous.
Long-term juicing is not recommended because such plans are usually difficult to maintain. Consuming a juice post-workout or as a snack is the ideal strategy nutritionists recommend for long-term health benefits. Juices can also serve as meal supplements to consume more plant-based nutrients in a day.
Nutritionists also warn against following a restrictive juice cleanse before consulting with a physician. Individuals interested in juicing should also discuss with a health professional any prescribed and over-the-counter medications they are taking to avoid potentially dangerous ingredient interactions, like those with drugs including Coumadin and statins.
Individuals who should never consider juicing, according to Saperstein, include those diagnosed with an autoimmune disease as well as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Diabetics should also use extra caution and monitor the amount of fruit and sugar they ingest. Anyone managing a condition, such as renal disease that requires a specific strict diet, is also advised to avoid juicing.
What To Drink
The plentiful juice options in supermarkets, health food stores and online can be confusing. Saperstein recommends consulting a registered dietitian to choose the best option, as anyone can call him or herself a nutritionist yet have little or no formal education. She also said it is smart to avoid any quick weight-loss or health claims that are likely marketing gimmicks not backed up by clinical research.
Elliott Disner, creative director and manager at Beyond Juice Birmingham, said the benefits of juicing extend to vegan and gluten-free individuals as well. Discovering new flavors, he said, is part of what makes juicing so much fun.
“Raw juice can be an acquired taste for some, so we like to first suggest green juices that have underlying fruit tones of apple and citrus,” he said. “Once someone gets used to those, they can start increasing the amount of veggies in their juices and work their way over to the less sweet spectrum of the menu.”
Disner recommends drinking juice daily, and cleansing for three consecutive days each season of the year. Not only do juice cleanses offer the digestive system a rest, but he said the concentration of nutrients and antioxidants in juices can jump start the immune system, act as an anti-inflammatory and introduce new health foods to the body.
If making raw juices at home, Disner recommends elevating flavor with a twist of citrus or fresh herbs like mint, basil or cilantro. Beets and carrots are healthy bases for sweet recipes. The most important thing to remember is that juicing is not the same as blending and requires a special machine to extract the juice from fruits and vegetables.
Most nutritionists agree that choosing a heavier concentration of greens and other vegetables over fruit is ideal. Another strategy is to add healing herbs like ginger and turmeric and retain pulp for added nutrients. When using a juicer, adding an entire piece of fruit, including the skin, will retain extra fiber to increase satiety.
Precautions when juicing include nixing the growth of bacteria. Nutritionists recommend always drinking juice the same day it was made and immediately discarding any leftovers.
Drought Juice Bar in Royal Oak specializes in organic, cold-pressed raw juice blends. The store’s hydraulic cold-press method ensures minimal oxidation, which offers a longer shelf life than juice from a household rotary juicer.
Katy Haggis, who works at the shop, recommends household juicers by Breville. She enjoys up to two juices daily, while seasonal cleanses consist of only juice for three consecutive days.
“I find it very challenging to consume pounds of veggies on a daily basis, but when juiced, the task is manageable and enjoyable,” Haggis said.
Quality juices come from quality produce and the process used to make them.” NS
For More Information
Naked Fuel Juice Bar
6718 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield
270 W. Maple Road, Birmingham
Drought Juice Bar
28822 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak