This month we’re exploring the many reasons people drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices, whether for weight loss, flavor, or to consume more nutrients. To better understand how juicing can boost nutrition, we spoke with Karen Ansel, co-author of our cookbook Healthy in a Hurry. Read our Q&A below to hear her recommendations for the best ingredients to use and how to incorporate juice into your daily life.
How are fresh fruit and vegetable juices beneficial for us nutritionally?
If you’re going to juice I’d suggest sticking with vegetable juices, which are rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals yet are naturally low in calories. Fruit juices should be limited to very small servings as they contain lots of sugar and are surprisingly high in calories. Because they don’t contain the fiber naturally found in fruit they deliver a form of sugar that is very rapidly digested.
What improvements will people notice as they juice regularly?
Drinking vegetable juices can be a good way to work in extra nutrients for people who don’t usually eat many vegetables. They help squeeze in lots of extra vitamins and minerals.
What are some of the most powerful fruits and vegetables for people to juice?
Stick with vegetables that are darkest in color, since deeper color is an indicator of nutrition. Top picks include carrots, spinach, kale and avocados.
Any tips for shopping to juice – what should people look for in the produce?
As produce ages it slowly begins to lose its nutrients, so you really want to choose the freshest produce possible. Make sure that it’s firm and not wilted.
How do you recommend people incorporate juice into their lifestyles?
Juice is a great complement to a meal, but it doesn’t supply important nutrients that you’d get from whole foods, such as protein and fiber, so it’s not really a satisfying meal replacement. Done right, it can also make a healthy snack. Adding a little healthy fat from avocado or ground nuts prolongs digestion so it stays with you longer.
About the Expert: Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. is a nutrition consultant, journalist and author specializing in nutrition, health and wellness. She is a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a contributing editor for Woman’s Day magazine. She is the co-author of three books, The Calendar Diet: A Month by Month Guide to Losing Weight While Living Your Life, Healthy In A Hurry: Simple, Wholesome Recipes for Every Meal of the Day and the 2011 IACP finalist, The Baby & Toddler Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods for a Healthy Start. Her work has been published in national magazines including Cooking Light, EatingWell, Prevention, Fitness, Women’s Health, Woman’s Day and O, The Oprah Magazine. Karen is a graduate of Duke University where she majored in psychology. She received her Masters of Science in clinical nutrition from New York University. She lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and two daughters.