Best Fruits and Vegetables for Juice Diets Slideshow
April 21, 2011
Celery, Fennel, and Cucumbers
All three are great ingredients for first-time juicers to cut their teeth on — as Aronica puts it, "easy for beginners" juicing vegetables. She notes that they are "mild-tasting and have a high water content." All, she says, are reasonably good sources of vitamin C, potassium, and numerous antioxidants. A good place to start as you work your way up to the real nutrient powerhouses: dark, leafy greens.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, kale, escarole, bok choy, collard greens, and chard are all great examples. Full of vitamins and antioxidants, Aronica confirms, "these usually top the lists in terms of nutrient content." Because some of the darker greens can be bitter (and thus difficult for first-time juicers to adjust to), she recommends starting with a milder leafy green such as lettuce.
"A great source of vitamins, phytonutrients, and antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. They have a high sugar content, which can take the bitter edge off of some of the vegetables," Aronica says. You'll often see that people recommend using the whole beet to get the most out of it — the root is high in vitamins A, maganese, and potassium, while the leaves contain beta-carotene, calcium, and iron (the last of which specifically helps eliminate toxins in the liver).
Kelly notes that fresh ginger is a great way to add flavor (not to mention a slight kick of spice) and a plentiful source of antioxidants. What's more she says "they have a history of helping prevent upset stomach, as well as being anti-inflamatory and immune system boosting.
According to Aronica this a good source of vitamin C, B6, and folate. Some claim it can help heal ulcers because it contains high amounts of a compound sometimes referred to as "vitamin U." It's also said to have properties which aid digestive and intestinal problems. For home juicers, it's a great, cheap, readily available ingredient that can live fairly long in the fridge.
Strawberries, Blueberries, and Cranberries
All great for adding sweetness to your juices. Specifically, Aronica notes that blueberries are an "antioxidant powerhouse" and that cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which can prevent UTIs. Strawberries are recommended as a good source of vitamin C, as well as anthocyanins, a potent antioxidant that is anti-inflammatory.
"While there's certainly nutrition to be had in a wheatgrass, it's not the miracle food it was touted to to be for a while," clarifies Aronica. Still, it is high in chlorophyll and contains vitamins B, C, E, K, B17, and folic acid. Only digestible once juiced because of its high cellulose content, it's recommended that beginners limit consumption to ounce in a day. More experienced juicers can have up to four ounces.
"They're very high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is turned into vitamin A in the body," Aronica explains. Plus, she says, their "very high" natural sugar content helps sweeten a juice and make it more palatable. A popular base for many juices, according to The Juice Fasting Bible's Sandra Cabot, M.D., the vegetable's other benefits include: eyesight improvement (from vitamin A), acting as a liver cleanser, and promoting skin health.
This popular-for-a-good-reason fruit is a good source of folate, vitamin C, potassium, and of course, antioxidants. "The most abundant phytochemical found in pomegranate is called punicalagins and represents the majority of pomegranates' antioxidant power."
This underrated juice ingredient is not only naturally sweet, it also contains fewer calories than carrots. Aronica points out that they contain B vitamins, potassium, and vitamin C — the last two being essential for healthy skin. Mixes well with apples, celery, and spinach.
Garlic and Onions
You may be thinking, "Garlic and onions in juice? Gross!" Skepticism is understandable, but consider this: both are rich in antioxidants and offer great immune-boosting power. But as Aronica is quick to note, "a little goes a long way in terms of flavor, especially raw. Definitely go easy."