Many people want to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet but sometimes get dissuaded when it comes to finding an easy way to integrate that into daily life. Not everyone is interested in spending a lot of time in the kitchen, nor are they interested in munching on a bunch of carrots, head of lettuce, kale leaves, and two tomatoes throughout the day. For those folks, and really – everyone, juicing can be a lifesaver. If you live in an area with a good farmer's market, you may have fresh juice readily available. However, a great way to regularly enjoy juice of the highest quality is to prepare it yourself. It saves time, guarantees no added sugar, toxins, or pasteurization that may destroy many of the naturally occurring health benefits. Let's take a look at how easy it is to get started and the best foods to juice!
The Basics of Getting Started
If you aren't already an active juicer, starting may be mildly intimidating. First off, you have to buy a juicer. While there are many options that are into the thousands of dollars, you can start juicing for much less. If you've got a few hundred dollars to spend, you can get a nice, powerful juicer. Even a hundred dollars will get you a very adequate machine and honestly, I've seen them for as low as $40. I won't tell you that the $40 juicer is going to last you a lifetime but it will get you started for a very reasonable buy-in and allow you to conveniently provide your body with nutrient dense, vitamin-packed, loaded-with-enzymes, nothing-bad-in-it, raw, natural juice.
Another growing pain is the learning curve of getting the recipes right. If you've had fresh juice before, you know it's not quite the same as the watery, sugar-added stuff available at the grocery store. Fresh juice is good... but with such robust flavors, it's helpful to blend and mix ingredients in the right proportions, especially with full flavors like kale or cilantro. This is easily accomplished by just referencing a good juicing website or book. I like this one.
When starting, don't get all hung up on not being sure about if you'll like it or not. Just pick out a few of the recipes that initially grab you. Include a few that contain ingredients you haven't tried before. Juicing is a great way to add new produce to your diet.
Juicing requires some effort, but as they say – the juice is worth the squeeze. Fresh fruit and vegetable juice supply an easily digestible, highly bioavailable source of nutrients. Organic and all-natural – meaning those not from concentrate or without added sugar – juices provide a means to getting the necessary daily requirements of fruits and vegetables.  Why do you want fruits and vegetables? Simple, they contain a healthy spectrum of bioactive compounds such as vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (flavonoids, phenolics, and carotenoids). For filling the holes in your nutrient profile, juicing is gold.
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What are the Best Foods for Juicing?
Below is a list of a few of my favorite juicing foods. They all have great nutritional content and fantastic flavor profiles!
Tomato juice has been a popular juice for a long time (organic, fresh prepared Bloody Mary anyone?), however, its potent nutritional values has been long undervalued. In addition to off-the-charts levels of vitamins A, C and K, tomato juice offers a range of B vitamins – plus an abundance of lyocpene and zea-xanthin. Research has shown lycopene is a strong antioxidant that supports cardiovascular and neurologic health – and the research continues into its other protective effects.   Zea-xanthin has demonstrated a protective effects against some types of macular degeneration. 
This sharp tasting root adds flavor and the health benefits of its active compounds gingerols 6, 8, and 10 and shogaol 6 to any juice. Studies have shown it has positive effects on digestive, vascular, and neural health. I like it with apples and celery.
I admit it, beets are not my favorite ingredient – tastes like dirt. However, it's undeniable that these red roots continue to gain recognition as one of the healthiest foods available. A superb source of folate and vitamin C, they also contain potent values of betalains, powerful antioxidants specific to beets. They contain nitrate which promotes cellular function. Studies on beets have found they have a profound impact on energy levels, even for athletes, and support cardiovascular health.   I've found that a shot of beet juice is an easy way to partake in the benefits without the prolonged flavor exposure.
Carrots provide a sweet flavor and, like tomatoes, make an excellent juice base. They supply beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant which has been linked to vision and cardiovascular health. Carrots also provide a wide range of carotenoids (alpha-carotene, lutein, also including beta-carotene), hydroxycinnamic acids and anthocyanindins; more good stuff. If you haven’t tried carrots in your juice yet, move them to the top of your list!
There is a reason most juice bars will offer a shot of wheatgrass – it contains over 90 minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. A high alkaline content helps reduce acidity in the body. Researchers have also found the oxygen radical absorbance capacity to be higher than many fruits and vegetables.  The sweet flavor of the wheatgrass also adds to the flavor of the juice!
Loaded with polyphenols and pectin, apples – and the skins – are great for juicing. Pectin is a prebiotic and supports digestive health by feeding the gut flora that promotes digestion. The polyphenols contain antioxidants necessary to maintain proper immune function and health. Apple juice has also been recognized for its support for healthy cholesterol level. 
7. Citrus – Any of them
Oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes all make excellent juices, especially for breakfast. On their own or blended, they add flavor and a potent shot of vitamin C, flavonoids and pectin. The pectin encourages healthy digestion and the vitamins C and flavonoids energize immune function and contribute powerful antioxidants for overall well-being.
These summer berries provide a sweet taste and are loaded with nutrition. A great source of vitamin C and folate, strawberries also contain moderate amounts of calcium, iron, and magnesium. They also contain iodine, an integral part of human hormone production.
Remember, juices with the most potent nutrient content come from fresh fruits and vegetables. Many pre-made juices contain preservatives, sugars and very little if any, of the nutrients that exist in all-natural fruits and vegetables. Ideally, look for fruits and vegetables labeled organic and non-GMO.
Got a tip, success story, or recipe to share? Please leave a comment below!
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- Siervo M, Lara J, Ogbonmwan I, Mathers JC. Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation reduces blood pressure in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Nutr. 2013 Jun;143(6):818-26. doi: 10.3945/jn.112.170233. Epub 2013 Apr 17.
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†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.
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