Back in the 1930s an average carrot contained 20 mg of zinc.Â In the 1980s that had dropped to around 10mg.Â Today an average carrot may contain as little as 2 mg (1).Â That’s just 10% of the nutrient levels from 1930.
If we think about this in terms of the quantity of food we eat, we’d effectively need to eat 10 times more carrots than in 1930 just to get the same amount of zinc.Â The sad thing is we aren’t just talking about zinc.Â This drop in nutrients is found for most other minerals.
Part of the problem is the way crops are grown.Â Soils have become depleted of essential minerals, nutrients and soil-living organisms through over-farming and heavy use of pesticides and herbicides (which have increased dramatically over the years with the introduction of genetically modified crop plants, but thatâ€™s another story).
What this all boils down to is that even if we do eat the recommended 6 or more pieces of fruit or vegetable a day, we may still not be getting enough of the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals our bodies need.Â For example, itâ€™s a fact that most of us are deficient in magnesium even if a blood test says otherwise.Â This is where juicing can help.
While you’d find it difficult to eat 10 carrots with your meal, you could certainly drink the juice of 10 carrots without filling yourself up.
I guess you realize that I am not recommending you juice 10 carrots a day, this was purely an example.Â What I do recommend though is that you juice daily, and juice a lot of fresh, preferably organic, vegetables & fruit.Â See what I did there?Â I switched the common expression “fruit & vegetables” to “vegetables & fruit”.Â That’s because you should emphasize vegetables in your juicing routines, especially the green vegetables that are so rich in nutrients.Â When it comes to eating or juicing fresh produce, I recommend you think in terms of a rainbow.Â The more colors you can eat or juice, the bigger the health benefits.
When I am creating my daily juice I like to create a mostly vegetable based juice, but add in fruits to help the flavor.Â Juice recipes are not important, just juice what you have in your fridge and use stronger tasting vegetables sparingly unless you know you like the flavor.
Now, before you rush out to the shops and buy several exotic looking juices off the shelf, there are some things you need to consider about shop bought juice.
Here are 5 Facts about Supermarket Juices
- Shop bought juices can contain traces of Bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used in packaging that mimics estrogen in the body and can cause fertility problems.Â This substances has found its way into lakes and rivers and is causing big problems with fish and other wildlife (2,3).Â Â Incidentally, bottled water can also contain BPA!
- There are fewer â€œnaturalâ€ nutrients in the shop bought juices when compared to freshly made juice as most supermarket juices are pasteurized.Â This process heats the juice to high temperatures to kill germs, but also destroys proteins and some heat-sensitive nutrients.Â The length of time supermarket juices are stored also means vitamins break down.Â In fact, so many vitamins are destroyed in the manufacture that the makers add in stuff like beta-carotene at the processing plant.
- Supermarket juices often contain dyes that can cause hyperactivity, allergies, asthma, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome and autoimmune disease.
- Salt is added to many supermarket juices to make them taste better.Â This can be bad for people with osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and fluid retention.
- Many juices have added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.
[box type=”note”]Most supermarket juices are manufactured cocktails of natural and not so natural substances and the fact is, most people have no idea what they are drinking.[/box]
Juice at Home for Maximum Health Benefits
When you juice at home, you know exactly what is going into your body.Â The nutrients from fresh juices are potent, concentrated and alive (natural enzymes in the fruits and vegetables).Â You’ll get some protein, though not a lot.Â You’ll also get carbohydrates and essential fatty acids, plus vitamins and minerals that you body needs.
Plants also contain a wide range of phytochemicals which give the plants their smell, flavor and color.Â These are often great antioxidants and those that have been studied have shown tremendous value in natural health. For example, tomatoes contain lycopene that may lower the risks of certain types of cancer.Â Indoles found in the cabbage family may reduce the risk of breast cancer.Â Lutein and zeaxanthin are vitally important for good eye health, and the list goes on.
With kids being particularly difficult when it comes to vegetables (and quite often fruit as well), juicing provides a great way to give them a nutrient rich drink that tastes wonderful and fills their young bodies with essential nutrients.Â If they won’t drink the juices, freeze them on a stick, and they suddenly become more appealing.
[box type=”note”]Ever since I started juicing, I have seen measurable health benefits. Not only have I lost weight, but I get sick less often and have more energy. Juicing is a way to get a diet high in essential nutrients without having to stuff yourself with fruits and vegetables.[/box]