More than a decade ago the National Cancer Institute (NCI) launched the Eat 5 a Day for Good Health program to move Americans closer to a cancer-fighting diet. Today the evidence is even stronger that a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help prevent cancer over a lifetime and can reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and type II diabetes. But it doesn’t stop there. Fruits and vegetables also help us control our weight and provide energy. In fact fruits and vegetables should be the foundation to a healthy diet.
The NCI states “Fruits and vegetables have many important phytochemicals that help “fight” to protect your health. Phytochemicals are usually related to color. Fruits and vegetables of different colors — green, yellow-orange, red, blue-purple, and white — contain their own combination of phytochemicals and nutrients that work together to promote good health.
“By eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables you’re giving your body a wide range of nutrients that are important for good health. Each color offers something unique, like different vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals, that work together to protect your health. Only fruits and vegetables, not pills or supplements, can give you these nutrients in the healthy combinations nature intended.”
Think about what you ate yesterday, or even today. Did you get your “5 a day” including a wide range of colors? I know I sure didn’t. I had half a banana at breakfast, a large carrot at lunch, and a few tomato slices at dinner. I came no where near five. The NCI’s research shows that most—not all—Americans are in a category with me, getting on average 1 ½ servings of fruit and vegetables a day. I need some help.
The convenience of food in our society is sometimes overwhelming. I will be the first to admit that I crave an Arby’s meal every now and then. There is nothing like a meal of pure starch and sugar—even though I hate the way it makes me feel afterwards. So how can I make sure that I get my “5 a day” when I feel like I am running non-stop all day and processed foods are easier?
One simple and delicious way is with raw juices. Juicing is one of the greatest ways to intake a large quantity of nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables in a short time. In an 8 oz glass of juice you can easily drink the equivalent of 6-8 whole carrots. On the other hand, it would be difficult to eat all those carrots at one sitting without feeling stuffed. Plus who wants to eat a bag of carrots for lunch?
Juicing makes it easy to get all of the vitamins and minerals that you need to live an active life because it separates water and nutrients from the hard-to-digest fibres of food. This means that your body doesn’t have to do as much work to get their full nutritional benefit, and as an added bonus, the nutrients are absorbed right through the walls of your stomach, and quickly – within five to ten minutes. So with juicing, it’s possible to virtually “flood” your body with all of the vitamins, minerals and enzymes needed to maintain good health.
All right, I know what some of you are thinking: “What about all the fiber you lose when you juice a carrot instead of eating it whole?” Juicing is not intended to replace all your fruit and vegetable consumption. Continue to eat whole fruits and vegetables along with whole grains and legumes in addition to drinking juices. Fiber is essential to the body for helping cleanse the colon and ensuring regularity.
Since carrots have become a running theme here, let me tell you how wonderful they are as a juice. Carrot juice supplies a high amount of pro-vitamin A, which the body converts to Vitamin A; vitamins B, C, D, E, and K, minerals, calcium, phosphorous, sodium, and trace minerals. This juice benefits intestinal walls, bones, teeth, skin, hair, nails and with regular use, cleanses the liver by helping to release stale bile and excess fats. No wonder carrot juice is often referred to as the “King of Juices.”
Raw juices are simply a wonderful addition to any diet. Juicing is a great way to step above the National Cancer Institute’s statistics and become someone who easily exceeds “5 a Day”—maybe even in one sitting. Start juicing and you will find yourself going through huge amounts of fresh produce, and your body will feel better than ever.
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