By Corinne Gaffner Garcia
As a busy business owner and mother of two, Megan Roosevelt found herself leaning on coffee to help her find the energy to power through her days. But over time, “I noticed that the second cup of coffee in the afternoon was leaving me feeling more anxious and dehydrated, and my skin was dry,” she says.
A registered dietician, Roosevelt used her background in healthy living to start researching more nutritious ways to boost her energy. That’s when she started replacing much of her caffeine consumption with homemade juices. “I started juicing as a way to boost energy levels and nourish my body,” she recalls.
Juicing may seem like the latest healthy trend. But even back in the ancient world, many cultures relied on the juice of various fruits for a variety of healing benefits. The first known mention, in the Dead Sea Scrolls that date back to 150 BC, describes how the Essene culture relied on the juice of pressed figs and pomegranates for strength.
The first hydraulic juice press was invented in the 1930s and in the 1970s, the juice and smoothie craze really took off.
Today, fresh-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices are readily found at health food stores, many home cooks have a juicer in their kitchens and juices have become common additions to cleanses and diets.
Roosevelt explains that fresh-pressed juices not only provides the body with more concentrated sources of nutrition, but they also make it easier for people to consume more fruits and vegetables. What’s more, she says that juices are gentle on the digestive system.
“Fresh fruits and veggies have a lot of antioxidants from those bright colors, along with vitamins and minerals,” adds Jen Bruning, MS RDN LDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. According to one study, the antioxidants from juiced fruits and vegetables can contribute to overall well-being.†
Juicing to Shed Pounds
Roosevelt, who is also the author of The 5-Day Juicing Diet (Rockridge Press), found juicing to be beneficial for weight loss.
However, instead of a juice-only diet or cleanse—in which juices are all that is consumed for a certain period of time—Roosevelt sees juices as part of an overall wellness program. “Healthy weight loss is a combination of eating nourishing foods, exercise and many additional factors, such as stress, lifestyle, sleep, medication, DNA and health conditions,” she points out.
But as an addition to a weight-loss plan, Roosevelt believes juicing to be the “unmistakable hero” due to its nutritional boost.
“Juice is rich in essential micronutrients, like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, that help the body function optimally,” she explains. “Juice is also incredibly hydrating, and proper hydration is key for a healthy body and mind.”
Bruning agrees that juicing can be part of an overall weight-loss plan. “Having a serving of juice can help you get more fruits and veggies into your day,” she says, adding that “I recommend whole grains, lean proteins and lots of whole fruits and vegetables if people want to make dietary shifts towards feeling fuller on fewer calories.”
Roosevelt drinks fresh juice every day, mixing and matching the ingredients depending on her cravings and what she has around her kitchen.
“I drink a daily green drink, whether juiced or blended, that includes apple, lemon juice, greens, such as spinach, kale and/or romaine, cucumber, fresh ginger, ice and water,” she says. “It’s simple, hydrating and nourishing.”
To give juices an extra flavor boost on any given day, Roosevelt leans on citrus, saying, “It brightens a juice visually and adds a refreshing zip.”
Other commonly juiced vegetables include:
- Swiss chard
Berman suggests incorporating freshly pressed juice into smoothies along with Greek yogurt or protein powder, and perhaps avocado or chia seeds. Such ingredients can add healthy sources of fat and protein to one’s diet.
Roosevelt has come a long way since her coffee-indulgent days. She doesn’t avoid coffee entirely, but she has found balance and discovered a better source of energy. As she puts it, “Juice was immediately a hit for me.”
This refreshing, mineralizing drink is great way to start your day—and the pretty red color is a bonus.
1 medium-sized beet, scrubbed
1 organic green apple, cored
1 carrot, scrubbed
1 stalk celery
Juice of half a lemon
Juice the first four ingredients; then add the lemon juice and enough water (if needed) to make a full eight-ounce glass.
†The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described.
- 1 medium-sized beet, scrubbed
- 1 organic green apple, cored
- 1 carrot, scrubbed
- 1 stalk celery
- Juice of half a lemon
- Juice the first four ingredients; then add the lemon juice and enough water (if needed) to make a full eight-ounce glass.