Bhawna Arya, Assistant Editor, DoctorNDTV, Updated: August 17, 2012 13:55 IST
Easy to prepare, a good friend of your taste buds, a hit all through the year and good for your health - that's a glass of fresh juice, which can also add glow and energy to your life. Fresh juice is healthy and we all know that drinking the real thing is better than the sugary alternatives that are packed months before they reach the consumers. Fresh juices benefit us in the following ways:
• They provide minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates and proteins
• Help improve energy levels
• Good for the skin
• Strengthen the immune system
• Make the bones stronger
Despite all the benefits that fruit juices offer, there are certain things we need to know about fresh juice.
Is it okay to drink as much juice as we want daily?
No, water should be the main source of liquid and it is always better to have fruits in their natural form rather than as juice. Why? Because we all add sugar and salt to the fruit juice we make at home. This increases the amount of sugar in our diet and thus, the calorie load. But we don't really perceive drinks to be food. Eating a whole pomegranate or having three or four oranges in a row is a cumbersome job. But we would gallop a big glass of juice in a few seconds and even forget to count them as calories. So, if you take two servings of fruit in a juice, ideally you should forego your evening snacks.
Should we drink juice daily?
Drinking juice is an easy way to have two fruit servings per day that is good for the daily quota of vitamins. But, keep a check on the sugar added to the juice. It's best to have fresh juice without any sugar or salt. Though such juice might taste a bit bland and sometimes sour as in the case of orange juice, you would gradually develop a taste for them. The best choice for a daily habit of juice is carrot, apple and ginger, made with only one piece of fruit. Carrots are sweet but lower in calories and have about half the carbohydrates of fruits. Celery is also a nice low-calorie filler. Have a look at the amount of carbohydrates different fruits have.
• Orange -16 g
• Grapes - 28 g
• Pomegranates - 26 g
• Pineapple - 19 g
• Apple - 21 g
How to use the juicer?
Now the next thing is how to use the juicer at home to get the best juice. The foremost thing is to get a good quality juicer, preferably ISI marked. If you want the fibre benefits, then put all the vegetables and fruits into a blender and don't use a juice extractor. While ordering fresh juice from outside, be sure about the hygiene and ensure that they are using a blender, not an extractor. Extractors make a smooth drink but they remove the all-important fibre from the juice.
Are juices good for children?
Replacing water with juice for children can cause diarrhoea. Having juice everyday can help to develop lifetime sweet tendencies in children. So, juices should be an occasional drink for children. Eating fruit in its natural form and relying on water, as the source of liquid, are better alternatives. Nevertheless, fruit juice is better than having aerated drinks.
Tips on getting best out of your juices
• Always wash fruit and vegetables - even organic produce could carry bacteria.
• Include the stems and leaves of vegetables because they have a high vitamin and mineral content.
• Drink a juice within half an hour of preparing it, or it can get oxidised by exposure to air and develop a sour taste.
• If you must prepare juice early, keep it refrigerated with a tight lid. Or freeze in daily-serving-size containers immediately and drink it straight after thawing.
• Include the white inner skin of citrus fruits, as it is full of beneficial bioflavonoids.
• Add lemon juice to preserve the natural colour and reduce the oxidation of essential nutrients.
• If you want to lose weight, then drink vegetable juices, as they contain fewer calories than fruit juice.
• If you have a sensitive stomach or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ensure that you dilute juices with water (three parts of juice with one part of water).
Easy to make juice-based drinks
3 cups watermelon (washed and cut into small pieces), sugar (as per taste), 3 tablespoon skimmed milk, ice cubes.
Blend the ingredients in a blender and refrigerate. Pour the prepared drink into serving glass, add ice cubes and serve.
Nutritive value of the watermelon juice - Apart from providing energy, watermelon protects against age-related symptoms of vision loss, fights heart disease, reduces cancer risk and is loaded with anti-oxidants. So, a glass of watermelon drink everyday not only quenches your thirst but also offers a range of health benefits.
Carrot, celery and cabbage juice
2 cucumbers, stalks of celery, a piece of ginger, a handful of parsley, piece of apple or citrus fruit.
Wash all vegetables and juice them together. Serve it fresh.
A glass of fruit or vegetable juice takes very little digestion. It goes right into your body and is a very yummy way of getting instant energy. Fruit juices can energise your life.