Plant chemicals, aka “phytochemicals” are the epicenter of modern nutritional research. Phytochemicals are the substances that give your fruits and vegetables their taste, smell, and color. These chemicals also protect the plant and anything that consumes it (for example, you) from harmful diseases and bacteria. Several studies have shown that in cultures where the diet consists of fruits and vegetables, high in both carbohydrates and fiber, a number of diseases that afflict North Americans simply don’t exist. This has led researchers at the National Cancer Institute and the department of Agriculture to attempt to identify which specific substances in foods offer protection against disease. Much has yet to be uncovered; we know that tomatos are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and several minerals, but they also contain 10,000 other phytochemicals that have not yet been studied in depth. Natural foods contain thousands of phytochemicals that have never even been named.
So far researchers have uncovered that broccoli contains a substance that may prevent or even cure breast cancer. Citrus fruits contain substances that enable your body to remove carcinogens. Grapes contain a phytochemical that appears to protect cell DNA from damage. Many green vegetables contain phytochemicals that appear to offer protection against cancer-causing substances. The following have also been found to have cancer-preventing phytochemicals: bok choy, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, rutabaga, turnip greens, red beets, peppers, garlic, onions, leeks, and chives. Researchers have long known that consuming chlorophyll enhances the body’s ability to produce hemoglobin, thus improving the efficiency of oxygen transport.
Today the modern North American does not consume anywhere near the National Cancer Institute’s recommended five servings of vegetables and three of fruits each day. Juicing is a great way to increase your absorption of vitamins and minerals because juice from raw foods contains live enzymes, which get destroyed when foods are cooked or heated; enzymes are necessary in digestion, to absorb food, and to produce energy at the cellular level. When you provide your body with live enzymes through fruits and vegetables, it enables digestion and the body will secrete less of its own enzymes, which can be shifted to other functions such as repair and rejuvenation. Fresh juice requires little energy for the body to break down, which likely accounts for that energizing effect.
Raw food diets are typically low in calories, vitamin D, iron, zinc, and protein. It is also hard on the body and the spleen to digest raw food. Instead, we recommend juicing to maximize antioxidant intake, particularly because of the variety of possible fruit and vegetable combinations. According to Naturopathic Doctors Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno, “Based on extensive data, it appears that a combination of antioxidants will provide greater antioxidant protection than any single nutritional antioxidant”. In addition, juicing removes the indigestible fiber from the fruit or vegetable, unleashing the nutrients into the body in much larger quantities. And did you know there are actually amino acids (protein) in fruits and vegetables that can really add up when large quantities are consumed such as in juicing. 16 ounces of carrot juice contain 5 grams of protein, the same amount found in a hot dog.
Fresh juice is a great way to start your day. We find it far more energizing than a cup of coffee. Here are some of our favorite juices. If you don’t have a juicer, click here for help finding the juicing facility near you. Organic produce is available by mail order from the following suppliers:
P.O. Box 2159
Freedom CA 95019
888 674 2642
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Brooklyn NY 11215
718 499 4321
Juice a whole head of broccoli + half a pineapple, add ginger and/or lemon to taste. You might literally notice a buzz of energy, likely resulting from the broccoli.
Beets and Greens
Juice 4 beets, 2 large carrots + as much greens as you desire: spinach, kale, swiss chard, bok choy, parsley, broccoli, celery, cucumber. Use organic spinach when possible because it is one of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables said to have the most pesticide contamination.
Juice 2 large ginger roots and 2 lemons. Use 1-2 tablespoons of this mixture at a time, adding it to a mug of hot water. You may add some agave or stevia to taste. Store the juice concentrate in the fridge for up to 1 day. This is a great remedy for nausea, especially if sipped throughout the day. It can also be made with cold water as an iced tea.