The benefits of green juice and a few mistakes you want to avoid when it comes to making it. Plus, my favorite green juice recipe & immune-boosting tips!
Recently, I’ve been seeing a ton of emails coming through my inbox using the current coronavirus pandemic (WHO declared it an official pandemic) as a scare tactic into purchasing a ton of supplements. While I am in support of supplements, I don’t think you need much more than the core supplements you’ve already been taking (will discuss more below.)
One thing I’ve been doing to support my immune system is trying to make more green juice! Making green juice is something I’ve done on and off for years now, but I’m not as consistent at it since the baby was born. It’s not as easy as popping a supplement, but I believe it to be more effective.
Benefits of Green Juice
Nutrients are best absorbed from food. Supplements, in general, typically have a lower absorption rate than what we get in food. That’s because the nutrients in food interact with each other to support absorption. We still absorb nutrients in supplements, but just not as well as in food.
Adding nutrients, you wouldn’t get otherwise. Green juice is a whole-food-based way to get in a billion servings of produce without having to chew it. I could never eat all the produce that goes into my green juice at one time, so I know that I’m getting added nutrients.
Supporting the immune system. Celery juice is trendy right now, as are lists of “immune-boosting foods.” In my mind, if you want to support the immune system, you need to add as many plant food as possible to your diet. Which ones is somewhat irrelevant. All produce and herbs have medical benefits and support health. They all provide a variety of antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Sure, some have more research than others, but the key is to consistently and regularly include them in your diet to support the immune system.
Hydration. Whole produce is abundant in water; in fact, most of that liquid you are drinking is water packed with vitamins and minerals. So drinking green juice can help hydrate you, leading to decreased fatigue and better-looking skin!
High in Chlorophyll. I like to think of chlorophyll as the lifeblood of the plant. Chlorophyll is the phytochemical that gives green produce it’s green color—the darker the green, the more chlorophyll. Similar to how hemoglobin that carries oxygen in our blood requires iron to sit in the middle of it, chlorophyll has magnesium seated in the middle of it.
Magnesium is required for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, and most people are deficient in it. Boosting your magnesium intake will not only help support metabolic reactions, but also, lower stress, help you recover better from workouts, and fight high blood pressure.
Less kitchen waste. If you are looking to reduce kitchen waste, you can either get a rabbit or juice. Old wilted produced makes the same juice as fresh, crisp stuff, so you don’t have to throw it away!
Recommendations for Making Green Juice
Add green juice as a snack, do not replace a meal with it. When you juice, you miss out on one essential key nutrient that reduces the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and other illnesses. FIBER! It also helps keep you full and regulates blood sugar.
So, I’m not a fan of replacing a meal with green juice because you will lose all the fiber at that meal. Instead, think of green juice as a supplement that you add to your diet somewhere else. If you want to replace a meal, I recommend green smoothies.
Keep a 3 to 1 ratio of vegetables to fruit. Overdoing it on fruit can add a lot of extra sugar to your diet. You could quickly drink the juice of 3-5 apples, but could you eat 3-5 apples? I couldn’t.
If you did this too much, you might start packing on the pounds or feel some energy dips and crashes. So, to avoid too much sugar intake, keep your juice at least a 3 to 1 ratio.
Choose Your Juicer Wisely. There are two main types of juicers – a masticating juicer and a centrifuge juicer. A slow masticating juicer will take a lot longer, cost a lot more, and produce juice that you can make up to a week ahead of time! Dreams! However, they cost close to $1000 bucks. In contrast, a centrifuge juicer (like I have), will run you $100-$200 dollars, but you have to drink the juice within 30 minutes.
Immune Boosting Tips
The things we can do to boost our immune system that makes a huge impact are unfortunately things we should be doing all the time to take care of ourselves.
Get 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep a night. Rest is directly related to our immune system, and chronic sleep deprivation will cause your immune system to be depleted. The immune system uses the time you sleep to rev up and fight infection. It also creates immunological memories to help resist future infections.
Manage stress (stress hormones!) Stress of any kind, physical (training for a marathon), mental, emotional, etc. pumps stress hormones into our bodies. Stress hormones tell the body there is an immediate emergency that needs to be dealt with. The body then preferentially turns on systems that will lead to immediate survival while dialing down systems that aren’t as useful at that moment but would be helpful in long term survival like the immune system. Managing your stress is an incredibly important part of supporting your immune system.
Eat produce and lots of it! The more variety, the better too! As we discussed, nutrients are best absorbed from food, and plant foods are rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals the immune system needs to fight pathogens. Don’t just rely on green juice, though! Try to get 4-5 fistfuls of veggies a day in addition to your green juice.
Fill in nutrient gaps. I like to think of some core supplements as an insurance policy. I don’t rely on them solely, but I do fall back on them in case I can’t control every aspect of my day or don’t make the healthiest choices. The core supplements I take are:
- Multi-Vitamin (actually a pre-natal – I need the iron.)
- Vitamin D (because I tested low, you should check before you start taking it)
- Fish Oil
My Favorite Green Juice Recipe
- 1 organic stalk celery
- 1 organic bunch kale
- 2 organic apples
- 1 organic cucumber
- 1 organic lemon peeled
- 1 inch organic ginger root
- Juice ingredients, mix together, pour over ice!