Should you incorporate green juices into your daily routine to be healthier? Maybe you are wondering what green juice can actually do for your body and what benefits it can offer? Do you actually need it and is it good for you?
Top health experts at Click Pharmacy insist on the effectiveness of green juice as a healthy diet option. There is no doubt that green juice offers many health benefits but before you start drinking green juices, make sure you go for the right type and focus on ingredients that will be beneficial for your particular health concern.
What is green juice?
Green juice is a type of juice made from fresh green vegetables or powdered greens. In some cases, it’s also made with some fruits and has an addition of herbs or spices. Although there is no rule on the amount of fruits to add to your juice in relation to greens, it’s best to keep fruits to a minimum to keep the sugar content low. However, if you are just starting out, you may want to use more fruits, just to get used to the flavours. You could start with 40% fruits and 60% vegetables and then adjust the ratio as you get used to the taste.
Green juice contains a variety of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial compounds and it feeds your body the nutrients it needs to help you stay healthy.
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Common greens used for green juices
Green juices contain one or more of the following green vegetables or grasses:
- Swiss chard
- Romaine lettuce
- Barley grass
Types of green juice
In general, you will find the following types of green juice:
Fresh green juice – this is a green juice you make yourself at home with help from a good quality juicer. The downside is you will have to buy or borrow a juicer and then it comes the cleaning! Some juicers are easier to clean than others so if you are planning to buy one, make sure it’s easy to clean. Fresh green juice, however, is the best kind of green juice you could drink since it will have the most beneficial nutrients which haven’t been lost through the heating or storing.
Powdered green juice – this is the second best option and very convenient if you don’t have time to make fresh green juices at home. Powdered green juice is still packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and very easy to make. You normally just mix it into some water and drink it. But you could also make a green smoothie with it or mix it into a fruit juice for better taste.
To make green juice out of powdered greens you could use either:
- Supergreens powder (containing some of the most beneficial green vegetables in a powdered form)
- Or green powder made of one type of greens such as wheatgrass, barley grass or spirulina – you can also create your own powdered mix if you like to focus on benefits of particular powdered greens.
Normally, people prefer ready-made green powders containing a variety of powdered greens which also have an addition of enzymes or probiotics for easier digestibility. To make them more palatable, some manufacturers add sweeteners to them and in some cases powdered fruits to make them a little bit sweet and easier to drink.
Bottled green juice
Finally, there is a bottled green juice which you may be able to find in your local supermarket. This is the lowest quality green juice that you can buy since it’s been pasteurised to kill bacteria and extend shelf life. Some of its beneficial nutrients have been lost through pasteurisation process so it’s best to avoid this type of green juice if you can.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some of the shop-bought green juices contain high levels of sugars which normally come from fruit juice. The sugar content in this drink will be much higher than if you were to drink mostly vegetable-derived juice. While this fruit juice is natural, it does add extra calories which may not be needed, especially if you want to lose some weight.
If you really want to buy bottled green juice from a supermarket or a cafe, go for the one made with a higher proportion of vegetables and less fruits. When it comes to nutrients, these bottled juices are of superb quality.
Drinking bottled green juice will give you some benefits but keep in mind that many of the beneficial compounds have been lost during the production so instead of spending money on this type of green juice, buy a tub of powdered green juice that you can easily prepare at home.
Green juice cleanse
In addition to different types of green juices above, there are also freshly prepared green juices that you can buy online for your own home green juice cleanse. These are made in the same way you would make them at home but on a bigger scale and by using commercial juicers. If you really want to benefit from drinking these, you need to make sure they get to you as soon as possible after they’ve been made so that the nutrient loss is minimal.
Green juice cleanse is popular with dieters and health fanatics who want to reset their immune system, improve energy, and lose a bit of weight. It’s a type of fast since green juices are all that you have instead of eating.
You could do this type of cleanse for one day, 3 days or 7 days. Some people do it for even longer. It does come with some benefits but also it has its own downsides.
If you want to give it a try to do some research first to understand what you are getting yourself into. And when choosing green juice cleanse provider, go for the one that uses only organic vegetables and fruits and doesn’t heat up the final product. Fast delivery is key as well and if they can send you frozen products, then even better. However, if you are planning to try green juice cleanse for only one day, it’s better if you just make your own juices at home. It will come out much cheaper.
Green juice benefits
When you regularly consume green juice you feed your body with many beneficial compounds which the modern diet may not be able to provide fully. This includes vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes. Green juices are especially beneficial for those who don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables daily.
Drinking daily green juice is one of the most natural ways of supplementing your body with extra vitamins and minerals. It’s better than any synthetic supplements which come with extra ingredients that you don’t really need, not to mention that these supplements are not that easily absorbed by your body.
This extra nutrition you feed your body with comes with many health benefits – it will help your organs function better and your skin and hair will look better too. Here are more details about all the benefits green juice brings:
Green juice is good for your digestive system
Depending on the ingredients found in your green juice, green juice will help you improve your digestion naturally. Your digestive system enjoys this benefit because of all the healthy enzymes that are found in the vegetables. Take note that also a majority of your immune system lives on and is dependent on the sound functioning of your digestive system, so all the more you need to protect your digestive health.
Add the following ingredients to your green juice to stimulate your digestive system:
- Ginger – a known digestive aid that helps to both prevent and eliminate gas. Scientific research1 shows that ginger accelerates the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine.
- Celery – it has anti-inflammatory properties2 that may help with leaky gut and other stomach disorders.
- Mint – a popular natural remedy used for all kinds of stomach issues, including upset tummy, flatulence, gas, and indigestion. To reap its full benefits use a blender to blend it together with the rest of green juice.
If you go for a good quality green powder, the added probiotics will help to balance the bacteria in your gut which will also result in better digestion.
Green juice improves the health of your liver
Green juice improves the health of your liver by making it more efficient in eliminating toxins out of your body.
The ingredients you should use for your green juice if you want to focus on liver health:
- Dandelion – well known for its benefits for the liver. It’s been used for medicinal purposes for centuries in traditional herbal medicine. Leaves and root can both be used to prevent liver injury.
- Celery – it helps to regulate elevated liver enzymes3 and can balance cholesterol in the blood in combination with chicory leaves and barley grains.
- Ginger – it helps to decrease inflammation and improves liver enzymes profile4.
- Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens – Leafy greens, in general, promote liver health5.
Green juice benefits your heart
Consuming green juices has been proven to benefit heart health by reducing some of the risk factors for heart disease. This includes reducing inflammation in the body. Remember that the anti-inflammatory process of the body lies at the root of a healthy heart, so this is one very good benefit you can enjoy.
Green juice nourishes your body with so many nutrients, including chlorophyll, otherwise known as liquid sunshine. Chlorophyll keeps the immune system strong, controls inflammation, and increases the body’s production of red blood cells. In effect, the cell’s ability to carry oxygen is also improved.
One of the risk factors for heart disease is an unhealthy diet which is highly processed and lacks important nutrients and antioxidants.
To maintain heart health you need to eat enough vegetables and fruits every day. This will provide your body with essential nutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds that will help reduce inflammation in your body – another risk factor for heart disease.
It’s recommended to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day but this will only slightly lower your risk of heart attack and stroke6.
To reduce the risk of heart disease even more (by 28%), try and consume 10 servings a day. Of course, for many people, this is not possible and this is where the green juice comes in. Focus on juicing vegetables and fruits that are high in vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene (all-powerful antioxidants).
Apart from green vegetables, try to include the following ingredients in your juices which will help prevent heart disease and improve your heart health:
- Beets – beetroot juice has been proven to lower blood pressure7 but it also has other heart benefits, for example, it has been shown to help patients with existing heart disease8
- Berries – these are full of antioxidants and will help to protect your body from free radicals which are harmful to your heart.
- Red grapes – these contain Resveratrol, a natural polyphenol with a very high antioxidant potential. This compound is beneficial for your heart in many different ways9: it reduces inflammation and lowers blood pressure but it has also been shown to have a beneficial effect in heart failure.
Celery also benefits heart health by reducing blood pressure and ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood10.
To make your green juices even more heart-friendly, blend them with chia seeds, hemp seeds or walnuts so that you get a dose of omega 3 fatty acids that are well known to protect the heart and blood vessels from the disease11.
Green juice is anti-aging
Drinking green juice regularly will help your body fight free radicals that contribute towards faster aging and cell damage.
Free radicals are unstable atoms that are created in our bodies as part of natural processes. The body has the capability to fight them off but with age, this capability decreases and this results in more free radicals in our bodies, more oxidative stress, and more damage to our cells12. All this results in aging and contributes to the development of various diseases, disorders, and illnesses.
However, it’s worth noting that the aging process is greatly affected by lifestyle factors so you have the power to either slow it down or accelerate it.
Your body produces more free radicals in certain conditions, for example, if you smoke or are exposed to pollution; if you drink alcohol regularly and when you eat fried foods.
While you can reduce exposure to free radicals by quitting smoking or drinking, sometimes there is nothing you can do about external factors such as pollution, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals. You will still be exposed to them and the only thing you can do is increase the intake of antioxidants so that your body can fight off all those free radicals created by these external factors you have no control of.
Green juices are a great source of various antioxidants and help fight free radicals, helping to slow down the aging process. Keep in mind that you can find antioxidants in other foods as well not only green juices – just make sure you have a varied, healthy diet and eat plenty of veg and fruits, nuts, and whole grains. Tea is also a good source of antioxidants.
Green juice supports healthy hair and skin
When regularly consumed, green juice helps to improve the condition of your hair and skin. That’s because you are consuming extra nutrition which you wouldn’t otherwise and this extra nourishment for your body results in better-looking hair and skin.
As mentioned above, green juices also help to delay ageing, resulting in younger-looking skin.
The ingredients you may want to add to your green juice to improve the condition of your hair and skin:
- Aloe vera – it increases collagen production13 (which helps delay ageing) and reduces skin irritations such as acne.
- Kale – packed full of vitamins and minerals which help to repair the skin and maintain its health.
- Ginger – it reduces inflammation which could cause acne and other skin conditions.
- Carrots – full of antioxidants, they help to fight free radicals and can even reduce sun damage and blemishes.
- Watercress – full of anti-ageing antioxidants.
- Celery – it’s rich in silica which is a mineral essential for the maintenance of beautiful skin, hair and nails.
Green juice helps to improve cognitive function
What’s good for your heart is good for your brains too. That’s because both the heart and the brain rely on healthy blood vessels to supply them with oxygen and nutrients14.
In order for your brains to function optimally, you need to have a healthy heart and healthy blood vessels so that you can get a good blood supply for your brain cells to function well.
Long-term green juice consumption offers benefits for your heart and your brains as it helps you consume more vegetables and feeds your body with antioxidants which help to fight free radicals and disease. This is just one of the healthy habits you should practice though to prevent cognitive decline and keep your brains in top condition. It’s important you exercise and keep your weight at healthy levels as well.
In addition to long term benefits for brains, green juice also offers short-term benefits.
When you feed your brains with the right nutrients, this will help you improve focus, maintain concentration and even improve memory.
The ingredients you should add to your green juice for focus and concentration:
- Leafy greens, especially spinach and kale15
For you to get the most out of all the benefits above, the most important tip to remember is to keep the sugar levels of your juice down. If you’re incorporating sweet fruits, adding sugar won’t even be necessary anymore. Green juice that’s low in sugar is the best addition that you can make to ensure a healthy lifestyle. Especially when taken on an empty stomach, you’re able to flood your body with all the nutrients that each vegetable or fruit brings.
Can you make green juice without a juicer?
You actually can, but you will need a blender. Just add all the ingredients to your blender together with some filtered water and blend until all ingredients are pulverised. You will have to strain the juice through a nut milk bag or thin cloth before enjoying your juice.
Which juicer is the best to buy?
If you are serious about juicing you will get yourself a good juicer. But you need to get the right one so that you are then able to make good quality juices. There are a few different types of juicers available on the market and I recommend getting a cold press or masticating/slow juicer. This type of juicer creates much less heat friction, which usually makes for a better quality juice and keeps the juice for longer. Here is one that you can check on Amazon which has good reviews and a quite reasonable price.
Can green juice be frozen?
Making a green juice at home is quite time consuming so it’s a good idea to make it in big batches and then freeze whatever you don’t drink on the same day. Make sure you freeze green juice immediately after you’ve made it to minimise the nutrient loss. Store it in a glass mason jar or glass bottle but make sure you leave a bit of space on top, allowing for expansion.
To thaw, take it out the night before or immerse in hot water in the morning before you want to drink it. The defrosted green juice will lose some nutritional value but it’s still better than not having any at all.
Can green juice cause diarrhea?
Some people don’t have a good reaction to green juices and they may get diarrhea from them. This is quite common among people who are not used to eating too many raw foods as their digestive systems are not used to them. If you get diarrhea from green juice, the best is to reduce the amount you are drinking and only have a little at a time. Let your body get used to it first.
To prevent diarrhea, make sure you don’t add too many fruits to your green juice as too much fructose at once could be the cause of your issues.
Also, take care if you suffer from IBS and start slowly with a few different vegetables and fruits at a time and then see how your body reacts to them.
When many have been over the fence about whether or not green juice truly has its benefits, now you can vouch for it. For as long as you make it the right way and make sure that the key nutrients of the juice are kept, consuming green juice is one of the best ways you can stay on top of your health. If you don’t have one yet, now’s a great time to head out shopping for one! To make the transition easier, you can also start with the vegetables that you already love the most, then work your way towards other recipes.