When I started juicing over 12 years ago, I used to throw just about anything into my juicer. That’s the best thing about juicing; you can juice just about anything! Even the left over celery stems, carrot tops and beetroot stems!
Over the years I have become a little more selective with which ingredients I choose to juice and now favour certain ingredients due to their phytochemical and nutritional profiles, but I always maintain that taste is an important factor too. Juicing vegetables will maintain a healthy blood sugar balance and sustain your energy for longer, plus offer you an abundant of nutrients and phytochemicals.
For those of you just starting out on the juicing road, you may like to start by adding in a little more fruits for that added sweetness, the rule of thumb here is to make sure fruits never constitute more than 30% of the overall juice.
My top 7 ingredients for a green juice include:
(but are not limited to)
Although celery is made up of 95% water and only contains 7 energy-giving calories per 100g, it has been valued as a medicinal vegetable since ancient Roman times. The phytochemicals it contains provide both flavour and calming properties. As a natural diuretic, it rids the body of surplus fluid, so it is perfect for women with monthly bouts of swollen hands, feet or breasts. Celery also contains a phytochemical called phthalides which relaxes the tissues of the artery walls to increase blood flow and therefore reduce blood pressure.
One of my favourite vegetables on earth! Not just for its wonderful aniseed flavour, Fennel is amazingly calming to the digestion and can reduce intestinal cramps, intestinal gas, flatulence and bloating. It is widely used by herbalists as an antispasmodic for IBS. Fennel contains compounds known as phytoestrogens, these are plant chemicals that are similar in chemical structure to the female hormone oestrogen. These compounds are known to be of great use for conditions where a change in oestrogen levels cause symptoms, such as the menopause or pre-menstrual issues. Fennel has also been found to help release endorphins into the bloodstream. These ‘feel good’ chemicals create a mood of euphoria and it is thought they may help relieve depression associated with certain illness as well as dampen anxiety.
DARK GREEN LEAVES: SPINACH, KALE, CHARD, WATERCRESS, ROCKET
Adding green leafy vegetables to your juice is essential for adding iron and chlorophyll to your juice. I especially love spinach and rocket as I love their bitter flavour. Fresh green leafy vegetables are packed with many B-complex vitamins which your body uses to produce energy. Iron and copper are also abundant in these green leaves, which help deliver the oxygen your cells need to maintain cell metabolism.
I love to use the stalk of the broccoli, not only is it a little sweeter but it contains a huge amount of digestive enzymes which will help to set your digestion up for the day, helping to aid and prevent ailments such as indigestion, gastritis, and ulcers. One of the great things about fresh broccoli juice is that there really isn’t a way of consuming too much. Broccoli juice is significantly low in calories and is the perfect addition to your diet if you are watching your weight.
HERBS: PARSLEY, MINT, CORIANDER
Used for centuries, fresh herbs have an abundance of unique nutritional and healing properties. Coriander was used in Ancient Greece as an essential oil in perfumes, and the Romans used the herb to mask the smell of rotten meat. Today we love it not only for its fantastic flavor, but also for its healing benefits. Coriander is most recognized for its effectiveness with toxic metal cleansing. The chemical compounds in the herb bind to toxic metals and loosen them from the tissue. Feel free to be a little experimental with the herbs you choose, you really can’t go wrong here.
Ginger is well known for eliminating stomach upset and gas and has been found to be very effective in eliminating motion sickness, relieving nausea and preventing vomiting. Ginger also improves absorption of nutrients in the body by stimulating gastric and pancreatic enzymes. Also, a powerful anti-inflammatory, ginger will add a little spice and heat to your juice.
LEMON OR LIME
Lemons and limes contain outstanding phytochemicals that are high in anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties. They are potent detoxifiers with anti-biotic effect that is protective against bacterial poisoning. Full of nutrients, including vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin A, folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. I love to add a ¼ of a lemon to my juice to give it a little zing!
If you are after a little sweetness, try adding apples, pineapple or coconut water to your juice.
GREEN GODDESS JUICE
:: INGREDIENTS ::
- 50g (2oz/1 cup) spinach leaves
- 1⁄2 lemon, peeled and pith removed
- 2.5cm (1in) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 3 celery sticks
- 1 large fennel bulb
- 1 cucumber
- Pass all the ingredients through a juicer and serve immediately.
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