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To juice or not to juice?


7 June 2017 01:19 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



It’s nothing new that fruits and vegetables should be an  essential part of everyone’s diet. It is of utmost importance to have a regular intake of  these as part of one’s diet. However, not everyone enjoys including fruits and vegetables  in their meals. You may have your preferences and aversions. Some  people may like to consume an entire fruit while others may prefer to  juice it. Juicing is also considered a popular form of consumption,  especially for little kids, when a disliked fruit is involved. The  question that has been debated back and forth is whether both choices  are nutritionally equal.   
Coming to the point, it is quite obvious that eating whole  fruits and vegetables is nutritionally more beneficial than juicing them. Though fruit juices come off as tasty and  refreshing, they are not as healthy  as consuming the whole fruit due to various reasons. Though it is  of common knowledge that consumption of fruits and veggies is better than  juicing, the reasons as to why may remain in the dark. To bring this to  light, we spoke to Dr. Shanthi Gunawardana, Consultant Community  Physician, Ministry of Health.   

 When we consider a fruit, there are two nutritious parts-the fruit skin and fruit pulp. Fruit skins consist of nutrients which provide nourishment and maintenance of  health. “The whole fruit comprises of skin, pulp and the fleshy parts  which are all nutritious. Vitamin C, other  minerals, carbohydrates and minute amounts of protein, chemicals such  as flavanoids and carotenoids are some nutrients you find in fruits.  They are important as anti-cancer agents and help in the prevention of  cancers, a widely prevalent health plague in the world today. The skin  of fruits contain other pigments which help protect from harmful UV  rays. Thereby, fruits harness the ability to act as a protective agent  from various harmful conditions.”   

 For example, the skins of grapes especially, are known for  their cancer fighting ability and as protection against UV rays. The  pulp of fruits contain fibres which also form an important part of a  balanced diet. When fruits are pressed or squeezed to make juice, some  of the nutrients, most notably fibres and water soluble vitamins, get  dissolved and will be lost. Dr. Shanthi commented on this. “Fruits  also contain fibres. When fruits are being juiced, fibres are lost  in the process due to being crushed, squeezed and mixed. In the juicing  of fruits, not all parts will be used and so the intake of fibre content along with other minerals and nutrients will be reduced.  Therefore the ultimate result which is the juice would only have a  small amount of fibre. Fibre proves very useful, especially when it comes  to maintaining a healthy digestive system, regularizing bowel movements and helping prevent conditions such as constipation.” In the process of  juice-making, a higher content of sugar in addition to the fructose in  the natural fruit is also added to enhance taste, which is not very  beneficial in terms of blood sugar and threatens the maintenance of a healthy blood glucose level in the body.   

Juicing is not always about fruits. Some vegetables, for  instance carrots, can be juiced. But when considering vegetables, juicing is actually beneficial to the health and is not always a bad thing.  It helps absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables and more amounts of them can be had.

Gastronomically, the digestion of minerals  and vitamins is facilitated. This also enables the addition of a wider variety of vegetables to the  diet. Promotion of weight loss, boosting of the immune system and  increments of energy are among the list of benefits obtained through  juicing. Brain health is also supported positively in the juicing of  vegetables. “It is advised to mix fruits and vegetables together when making juices. By providing supplementary vegetables, this makes up for  the lost nutrients when fruits are juiced.”   

Juice is occasionally fine because we need a sweet form of hydration every now and then and it indeed proves to be a refreshing  beverage. However it is advised not to get carried away and to keep in  mind that eating wholesome fruits and veggies are vital for proper  growth and development of the body. “Better to eat fresh fruits and  vegetables as much as possible but the occasional juice does not do much  harm. Mixing juices with supplementary vegetables maximizes the health standards of the drink.”   



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