Are Juices Really Good For You?
I've always been a huge fan of a cold-pressed juice but here I take a look at the pros and cons of juicing!
Juices can pack a serious punch in terms of nutrients. For example, a green juice using kale, lemon juice, celery and apple will contain vitamins A, C, K and electrolytes including sodium and potassium. Green would always be my preference when it comes to juicing as it tends to have the lowest GI/GL when compared to other juices, which means it won't spike blood sugar levels. That being said, something like a naturally sweet beetroot juice is a fantastic fertility tonic as it can help support blood flow due to the presence of nitrates in the juice! It's also a very good source of fertility nutrient folate (B9) and potassium too. I often talk to my clients about 'eating the rainbow' to up their antioxidant intake so including juices into your routine can be a nice way to increase intake alongside consuming foods, especially if you struggle to get all of the colours of the rainbow in across the week.
Juicing veg and fruits removes the fibre in the process, reducing the gut-health benefits of consuming these foods in their whole form. We know that the gut microbiome requires fibrous foods to exist and flourish, and this is where a juice falls short. Not all juices are equal so do check the ingredient list and note their order, which should reflect content values. For example, a green juice that starts with 'apple' will mostly be a fruit juice with some greens, which will spike blood sugar levels leading to hormone imbalances. Opting for a juice bar where you can tweak the ingredients to ensure the veg to fruit ratio is higher would be a good idea. Or better still, make your own so that you can ensure you are using the best (ideally organic) ingredients. If you are juicing non-organic veggies and fruit, then you may be consuming pesticides, which are harmful to both fertility and our hormones. Another con of juicing is that they are typically unbalanced in relation to macronutrients. The energy in a juice will come from carbohydrates (i.e. sugar) and most contain no protein or fats. Therefore, a juice shouldn't really be consumed in place of a meal as it lacks some key macronutrients required for optimal health and wellbeing. Finally, fasting has been a detoxification technique used in many cultures for thousands of years. Some of the benefits include giving the digestive tract time to rest and repair. However, I'm personally not a fan of this type of detox, especially not for anyone looking to support their fertility or with hormone imbalances that need to be addressed. There are so many other nutrients to consider when it comes to detoxing and juices won't provide you with what your body actually needs to support this process.
So, there is lots to consider when it comes to juices! Whilst they do have their nutritional benefits, my suggestion would be to add these in alongside foods rather than going for a juice cleanse/detox, especially when trying to conceive or if you struggle with hormone imbalances. If you'd like to read more about detoxing, you can head to an Equi blog here I wrote last year for more info on what's actually involved.