The Health Benefits of Juicing, Plus My Favourite Juice Recipes

Want more energy, better skin and improved immunity? I've got the JUICY deets!

Last weekend, I felt like I was coming down with a cold, so the first thing I did was break out my juicer. Now, I'm not gonna lie, one of my favourite ways to procure fresh juice is by ordering it at a counter and having someone else do the dirty work (while I fork over $7 or $8 for the honour). Cleaning a juicer SUX. But there are times when feeling yucky and not wanting to leave the house prevails over laziness.

While I won't profess to being a juicing expert, I do use our machine once a week or so, when I'm craving a concentrated dose of nutrients (kale, carrots, apple, parsley and lemon juice, anyone?). My ultimate cold-buster, though (and poor Michelle could have used this) is an orange-ginger blend, and that's exactly what I whipped up on Friday night. Easy peasy. And on Saturday my sore throat had vanished.

There are a lot of things I love about making my own juice: getting to pick my own mixes, adding as much as I want of any ingredient to the mix, the way I feel after I drink it (all healthy and energized) and the super-packed punch of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants it delivers to the body. There are tons of delicious, nutritious combos out there, each with its own benefits to the body—and I'm aiming to perfect 'em all. Here are some of my faves, plus a mini-primer on why to juice (if you don't already).

The benefits of juicing

If you're one of those people who doesn't like the taste of wheatgrass or wrinkles her nose at kale, the only thing I can tell you is to think of the health and beauty benefits... and I promise there are some tasty concoctions out there! Besides, can you think of a better way to consume your daily green veg requirements? I didn't think so.

Juicing is fab because our bodies can absorb way more nutrients from liquids than from solids. By removing the fibre from the fruit or vegetable, we lighten the load on our digestive systems and the vitamins and minerals are absorbed more easily. So, you feel better—sooner—because of all the goods being shot straight into your bloodstream.

Fresh, raw juice also helps cleanse the body of stored waste and toxins and has AMAZE anti-aging benefits (due to all the antioxidants). Among other things, I've heard of people achieving improved immunity, better skin (and improvements in skin disorders), increased energy and better emotional health. Not too shabby!

Things to remember

As mentioned above, juicing fruit removes its fibre... so when consumed regularly, fruit juice can cause your insulin to spike and create blood sugar swings. That's why veggies are better IMO. (However, if you don't eat any fruit, juicing could be a great way to up your intake quickly.)

With veggies, it's important to start small—with around 2 oz.—because you may experience some stomach discomfort if you go from eating zero greens to a full glass of 'em. Organic produce is always better if you can manage it (for obvious reasons), and remember to drink your juice STAT. You can't save it for later, 'cause all the good stuff starts to lose its value.

The bottom line: If you've got a juicer but haven't used it in awhile (read: it's gathering dust in a cupboard), yank it out and get back in the game with one of these blends. Or, if a juicer isn't in the budget (Christmas present idea?), check out your local juice bar and see what they have to offer.

My main squeezes: the recipes!

Orange Ginger

This is the combo I whip up when I'm feeling a cold coming on. Juice 4 oranges and a 2- to 3-inch chunk of ginger. Sprinkle with turmeric. Cold-be-gone!

Kale, Carrots, Celery and Ginger

Kale is full of calcium and antioxidants, and carrots are super-high in vitamins A and C. Combined with celery—which is alkalizing (neutralizes the body's pH), hydrating and also high in Vitamin A—and ginger (amazing for digestive disorders and colds), this concoction is a nutritional powerhouse. Juice 2 leaves of kale, 4 carrots, 4 stalks of celery and a 1-inch piece of ginger. Enjoy!

Beet, Carrot, Apple and Ginger

This is a great one if you're new to juicing because of the sweet factor! It's definitely one of the tastiest. Beet juice is a blood purifier and contains tons of fab vitamins and minerals, while carrot juice helps prevent infections, is great for the adrenal glands and can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Apples contain tons of phytochemicals (plant compounds that prevent disease) and vitamin C. Juice 3 beets (plus their greens if you want extra vitamins), 2 carrots, 1 apple and a 1-inch piece of ginger.

Green Energy

This juice is a great energy-booster, packed with green goodness. Combine 2 apples, 1/2 a cucumber, 1/2 a peeled lemon, 1 leaf of kale, 1/2 cup spinach, 2 stalks of celery and a 1-inch piece of ginger. Better than a cup of coffee!

Tell me:

Are you into juicing?

What benefits have you noticed so far?

What's your fave juice blend?

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