The Joys of Juicing

Juicing has become so popular that even Starbucks is selling fresh juices. The juice craze is much more than just a fad. Drinking green juice helps improve your health in significant ways. Green juice does so much good for your body. Freshly-made vegetable juice can help reduce your appetite, stimulate the loss of body fat, and boost your metabolism. Juicing has far-reaching benefits beyond weight loss. Think of fresh vegetable juice as the sun's energy liquefied.

Juicing can help reduce acidity in your body. Toxins, stress, and modern life make the body acidic, and acidity does a lot of damage. It weakens all body systems by producing an internal environment conducive to disease. Green juices neutralize that acidity. As a result, the risk of developing certain cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke is reduced.

There are many reasons green juice improves your health. To put it simply, toxins, stress, and modern life make your body acidic, which does a lot of damage. Acidity weakens all body systems by producing an internal environment conducive to disease.

Green juices neutralize the acid, bringing your pH balance -- the acid-alkaline balance in your interior environment -- back to the center, where it is supposed to be. Every time you take a sip of the juice you have made, think of all the good you are doing for your body.

Here are 10 reasons to drink green juice:

1. Prevent weight gain, diabetes, and obesity. Studies have shown that acidity has considerable influence on weight problems.

2. Prevent corrosion of your arteries, veins, and heart tissue from acidity. When your body is acidic -- and most of us are -- the acid erodes and eats into cell wall membranes, weakening your heart and circulatory system.

3. Prevent free-radical damage and premature aging. An acidic body accelerates oxidative stress, which destroys cell walls, resulting in wrinkles, age spots, dysfunctional hormonal systems, poor eyesight, and memory loss.

4. Prevent LDL cholesterol plaque from accumulating at an accelerated rate in your blood vessels, clogging up the works.

5. Help to maintain normal blood pressure. When your body is acidic, your arteries can become dilated, making it difficult to control hypertension, arrhythmias, and the advent of heart attacks.

6. Help lipid and fatty acid metabolism. An acidic body disrupts lipid and fatty acid metabolism. Fatty acids are involved in nerve and brain function. When fatty acid metabolism is disturbed, neurological problems may arise, including multiple sclerosis. Hormonal balance is also affected.

7. Help metabolize stored energy reserves. An acidic body interferes with cellular communication, slowing down the processing and absorption of nutrients entering the cells. Green juice returns the body to efficient metabolism.

8. Improve regeneration of cells. For healthy cell proliferation to occur, the body cannot be acidic. Cancerous cells grow well in an acidic environment. When the body is acidic, the possibility of cellular mutations that become cancer accelerates and increases.

9. Get more oxygen to all the cells in the body. An acidic body decreases the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the cells, which makes normal cells sick.

10. Improve electrolyte function. Electrolytes -- potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium, for example -- are essential for our bodies to function properly. In addition, inhibition of electrolyte activity affects the way we feel and behave, because these minerals give us energy.

Beginner Juices

These recipes are sweet, refreshing, and easy to swallow. Carrots and beets are the natural sweeteners. The green ingredients in these juices are mild. Give them a try.

Carrot and Ginger Juice

• 6 large carrots
• 2 cucumbers
• 1-inch chunk fresh ginger

Sweet Spinach Carrot Juice

• 4 large carrots
• 2 packed cups spinach
• 1 small bunch watercress
• ½ inch slice fresh ginger
• 1 garlic clove

If you've ever wondered what the fuss was about with juicing, now is the perfect time to give it a try -- at the start of spring you will have your own reawakening.

Roni DeLuz, RN, ND, PhD and James Hester are the authors of 1 POUND A DAY: The Martha's Vineyard Diet Detox and Plan for a Lifetime of Healthy Living published by Gallery Books (March 2013).

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