What's not to like about juicing? Raw juices of fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and natural sugars while also providing alkaline elements that normalize the acid-alkaline balance in your blood and tissues. As with the whole versions of fruits and vegetables, juicing retains phytonutrients that are believed to be essential to good health. Cooking or heating reduces the enzyme content of your food, whereas juicing not only preserves enzymes but also allows them to be more directly assimilated into the bloodstream.

When you eat a piece of fruit or vegetable whole, some of the vitamins and minerals remain trapped within indigestible fiber that your body simply eliminates. By juicing, you extract most of the nutrients from the fiber, and so your body benefits more than if you simply ate your produce raw. Because absorbing nourishment from juice requires little to no effort from your digestive system, proponents of juicing suggest that your body is able to take a break from the ongoing work of processing food and turn instead to attending to whatever needs repair.

That said, there is great benefit to consuming fiber. Because it is important for digestive function, removing fiber from your diet by replacing whole fruits and vegetables with juice would prove unhealthy. The single greatest benefit of juicing may be that it makes vegetables and fruits easier to consume on a regular basis — most of us can drink more vegetables than we can eat. Added to a regular diet, then, juicing undoubtedly will increase your intake of vegetables and fruits.

A juice fast, though, is a questionable proposition. Many researchers claim no real scientific evidence exists to prove that juicing is more beneficial than eating whole fruits and vegetables while many nutritionists suggest that a juice fast may be detrimental to your health.

To Fast or Not?

A temporary juice fast may benefit dieters and self-healers alike. Flooding your body with easily absorbed nutritents while reducing calories will naturally provide a quick lift. As an ongoing substitute for regular eating, though, juice fasts cannot be recommended. When your body receives too few calories, it begins to draw on long-term sources of energy such as triglycerides, which are stored in fat cells. For a dieter, this certainly counts as a positive. Yet juicing generally does not provide enough protein so your body will also begin to drain the protein it needs from your muscles. Even if you exercise daily, a juice fast may cause you to lose muscle mass, a definite negative.

Alternative therapies and disease treatments, including cancer treatments, often incorporate fasting as one element or even the central feature of an overall program. The popular Gerson Therapy, which claims to help cure and prevent cancer, was developed by German physician Dr. Max Gerson in the 1930s. By directly addressing the cause of disease, toxicity, and nutritional deficiency, the regimen attempts to activate the body's ability to heal itself through an organic vegetarian diet, raw juices, coffee enemas, and natural supplements. Other alternative healers, such as famed herbal doctor Dr. Richard Schulze, promote seasonal juice fasts as a way to cleanse the body and maintain optimal health. Although the American Cancer Society endorses a diet high in vegetables and fruits to reduce disease risk and to improve overall health, it also states "there is no convincing scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than whole foods."

If you make the decision to juice, it is best to buy a juicer and do it yourself. Not only can you control which vegetables and fruits you consume, but you also will be able to vouch for their cleanliness. Three basic concepts underlie juicer construction. Centrifugal juicers grind fruits and vegetables and push the extract through a strainer at a high speed. Masticating juicers chew the vegetable and break apart plant cells, releasing more enzymes and vitamins than a centrifugal juicer might. Triturating juicers slowly crush the vegetables and then press them under extreme pressure; this process breaks apart the toughest plant cells and so releases the greatest amount of nutrients.

Juicers come in all sizes and prices, yet take time to consider convenience. The easier the process to assemble, juice, disassemble, and clean, the more likely you'll be to do it. The simplest advice is to incorporate an immediate cleaning routine into your juicing process; if nothing else, quickly rinse your juicer as soon as you finish. Once vegetable and fruit fibers dry on your equipment, they are much harder to clean.

Four Warnings

Drink your juice immediately. Not only can fresh squeezed juice quickly develop harmful bacteria, but the entire point of juicing is that you get all the enzymes and nutrients from the juice and these fade as juice stands around.

Be wary of bottled juices, because any kind of processing lessens the nutritional value.

For those who have diabetes, be careful not to juice too much fruit or starchy vegetables such as carrots or beets because they may elevate your blood-sugar to dangerous levels. Prebottled juices often contain too much fruit or fruit concentrate for people with or inclined toward diabetes.

If you cannot use organic, then at least clean your vegetables and fruits thoroughly.


When it comes to juice recipes, they range in precision from exact weight requirements to the most rough of estimates. Juicing is hardly French cuisine; let your imagination roam freely and experiment as you wish. If you aim to add a particular vitamin or nutrient to your diet, research which vegetable provides that and simply build a juice around that particular element. Most people use apples to add sweetness, so, if by chance you make a juice that is not to your liking, you can always doctor it by adding in apple or any other fruit or vegetable to disguise or weaken whatever taste you dislike. Four examples of juices follow.

An easy and abiding favorite of many juicers, dieters and alternative health advoctes alike: Carrot-Apple Juice

  • 3 carrots
  • 1 large green apple

Courtesy of Gershon Therapy.

Cucumber Celery Juice

  • 1/4 cup cucumber
  • 1/4 cup celery
  • 1/16 teaspoon cayenne
  • pinch of salt

Coutesy of 101 Cookbooks.

Green Carrot Juice (recommended for dieters)

  • 4 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 handful of parsley

Courtesy of The Juice Nut.

Green Juice

Obtain as many as possible of the following kinds of leaves (no others):

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Swiss chard
  • Beet tops (young inner leaves)
  • Watercress
  • Some Red Cabbage
  • ¼ of small green pepper
  • Endive
  • Escarole

Add 1 medium granny smith apple for each glass.

Courtesy of Gershon Therapy.