Can Juicing Fruits And Vegetables Help To Improve Digestive Health?
Your digestive tract health (or lack thereof) can affect almost every aspect of your health in general. Luckily, many fruits and vegetables are loaded with unique nutrient combinations that can help to ease uncomfortable digestive issues in a variety of ways.
It is not only things like irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, gas or bloating that points to your digestive system. If your digestion isn't functioning optimally, it can contribute to a large variety of other conditions, including...
Note: As always, if you have any allergy or ailment, digestive or otherwise, please speak to your doctor first before juicing! You may have to limit your intake of certain fruits and vegetables.
- Skin problems
- Weak immune system
- Weight gain
- Bad breath
- Being tired all the time
- Sugar cravings
Increasing your intake of specific fruits and vegetables, could help in a number of ways...
- Healing the lining of the digestive tract or keeping it healthy
- Keeping you regular, thanks to the fiber
- Restoring the balance of certain bacteria in your gut
- Lowering inflammation in your digestive tract
- Aiding the movement of food along your intestinal tract
One of the criticisms leveled at juicing involves the fact that so much of the fiber is removed during the juicing process. Luckily this is not totally justified.
It is true that juicing does remove most of the insoluble fiber. This remains behind as the pulp ejected by your juicer. However, juicing does not remove the soluble fiber. You will still be getting this part in your juices, which is great news for your gut!
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List Of Fruits And Vegetables That May Help With Digestive Health
Let's take a look at some of your options when it comes to utilizing fruits and vegetables to promote and protect the health of your digestive system. These are just a small taste of them. In fact, it will be hard to find any one fruit or veggie that won't aid your digestion in some way!
Insoluble fiber is the type of fiber that does not mix with water. It can help to prevent things like constipation and painful hemorrhoids. It can play a role in preventing certain cancers over time. This is the type of fiber that bulks up your stool, helping to move foods through your digestive tract. Things like wheat bran, ground flax seed, fruits eaten with their peel, salads and vegetables are all great sources of insoluble fiber.
When juicing, one way to make sure that you don't lose out on all this fiber, is to stir some of the pulp back into your juice after preparing it. Not everybody likes this, though. There are many other tasty ways to make use of the pulp, from adding it to stews or burgers, to baking muffins with added pulp. For instance, you can replace grated carrot or apple in muffins, with carrot or apple pulp.
Soluble fiber does mix with water. In the process it becomes like a gel. In a sense it puts the brakes on the digestive process, allowing more time for your body to take up the maximum amount of nutrients from the food. Another huge plus is that soluble fiber helps your body to lower bad cholesterol. It can also help with blood sugar control and the bacterial balance in your gut.
You can get soluble fiber by eating oats, oat bran, a variety of legumes and fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, broccoli, beetroot and carrots. It is reassuring to know that you won't loose out on soluble fiber when juicing!
Cranberries will help to provide digestive enzymes that can be really beneficial. These berries also are rich in anti-inflammatory substances, which can help to protect your mouth health, your stomach and the rest of your digestive system. Their nutrition power comes from some serious good guys such as the anthocyanins that are responsible for their coloring, proanthocyanidins and phytochemicals such as quercetin. If you like the slightly tart taste, try adding some to your juice recipes.
Their possible benefits include lowering your risk of developing ulcers due to keeping nasty bacteria, such as ulcer-causing Helicobacter Pylori, under control and decreasing your risk for developing colon cancer. Cranberries may also help to increase the 'good' bacteria in your digestive tract, which is crucial for your health. All in all they are superb for supporting your gut.
It is also likely that cranberries can give you some extra protection when it comes to other nasty bugs in your gut, such as those that can cause food poisoning.
2. All Cruciferous Vegetables
Many folks who experience digestive discomfort when eating cruciferous veggies raw or cooked, may find that using them in freshly made juice doesn't cause a problem.
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Bok choy
- Chinese cabbage
The glucosinolates in veggies such as cauliflower trigger a process that is vital for protecting the lining in your stomach. They help to create an environment that is such that the bad bacteria can't get a hold on your stomach lining as easily, helping to prevent ulcers. A higher intake of these can also help with healing if you already have an ulcer.
These veggies are generally good for creating an optimal balance of bacteria in your gut to aid in the digestion of food.
As with other berries, this is another fruit that is rich in enzymes that can help with digestion. It also sports anti-inflammatory substances that may help to lower inflammation in your gut.
Generally not a good choice for juicing, but absolutely superb in smoothies! Bananas come ready-loaded with what is referred to as a prebiotic. Prebiotics help to promote gut-friendly or 'good' bacteria in your digestive tract.
5. Pears and apples
Why is it so important to juice pears and apples? They are high in the soluble fiber called pectin. Pectin is found in both their skins and flesh. And remember, this is the type of fiber you won't lose out on when juicing!
What is great about pectin is that it can help if you have mild constipation, as it has a bit of a laxative effect. If you drink pear juice (or a combination of pear and apple) regularly, it can be really helpful to regulate your system again. In addition, it can help to lower cholesterol and also contribute to blood sugar control.
Pears and apples have also been shown to aid in correcting the balance in your gut bacteria. Remember, we all need these bacteria to digest food properly, for nutrient absorption and to keep us healthy in general.
The 'good' bacteria need to be kept at a higher level than the 'bad' bacteria. When we use antibiotics and ingest things like artificial sweeteners and too much processed foods, this delicate balance can become disturbed. This can lead to a toxic gut environment that can create all sorts of health issues. Apples and pears can help to restore this balance.
One of the things to keep in mind is the movement of food in your intestinal tract. This process is known as peristalsis and refers to the contraction of smooth muscles in your gut to move food along. To help with this, you can also target fresh goodies rich in nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and potassium. Beetroot is one of these. This is another important factor that can contribute towards regulating your bowel movements.
In addition, beetroot is known for helping to detoxify the liver.
7. Yellow or orange fruits and veggies
If a fruit or veggie is rich in beta-carotene, you can know that you are getting something that is good for the mucosal lining in your intestinal tract. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which works its healing and protective magic on the lining in your gut. So, make use of carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow zucchini, bell peppers, etc. in your juice recipes. Remember that a healthy gut lining helps to protect your digestive system as a whole.
Papaya and pineapple can also be used for their beta-carotene content. In addition papaya is a good source of the digestive enzyme papain. Pineapple is well-known for bromelain, another of the digestive enzymes. Both of these can help you to digest protein. Some folks believe in drinking papaya or pineapple juice after a protein-rich meal, to aid digestion.
8. Also add these to your juices for even more soothing and healing power...
9. Healthy fats
Make sure that your intake of healthy fats is adequate. This is crucial for digestive health. For instance, olive oil has been shown to have properties that can also aid in creating a healthy bacterial balance in your gut. There are polyphenols in olive oil that can help to keep 'bad' bacteria at bay.
Olive oil may also help to protect your stomach lining from damaging bacteria, so may play a role in preventing ulcers.
Folks who go on fad diets, often make the mistake of cutting out ALL fats, including the healthy ones. This is a big no-no. You absolutely need healthy fats for digestive health, including the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. Healthy fats also play a role in converting beta-carotene into vitamin A. Remember this as a crucial nutrient for promoting a healthy gut lining?
On a side note...
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Belly Calm Juice
1 Firm pear
1 Green apple
1 Rib of celery
1/4 - 1/2 Inch piece of ginger
2 Mint sprigs
1. Wash all your ingredients with care
2. Peel cucumber only if waxed, as the skin is very rich in nutrients
3. Quarter apple and pear. Don't peel, but discard seeds
4. Cut celery into chunks if necessary
5. Juice! Add the ginger and mint with the harder apple and pear
6. Pour over crush ice and garnish with mint leaves
1 Medium to large
Ahoy Savoy Juice
1/4 Medium Savoy cabbage
2 Ribs celery
1/2 Small beet
Optional: Shredded coconut for sweetness
1. Wash all the ingredients, except coconut
2. Cut cabbage into chunks as necessary
3. Cut celery into chunks if you prefer
4. Peel beet thinly
5. Trim carrot ends
6. Quarter pear. Don't peel, but discard seeds
7. Peel lime thinly
8. Juice and serve over ice, stirring in coconut if you wish
1 to 2 Medium
And in case you missed my recent email with these two recipes...
Fabulous Frothy Fruity Juice!
1 Small pineapple
1 Small to medium papaya
Handful strawberries or other berries
4 Mint leaves
1. Wash the fruit and mint carefully
2. Peel the pineapple and cut into chunks
3. Peel the papaya, cut into chunks and discard the seeds
4. Remove any stray stems or leaves from the berries
5. Juice, adding the mint with the pineapple
6. Pour over crushed ice
1 to 2 Medium
Sunny Tummy-Help Juice
1 Small pineapple
1 lime, or what you need to get just the right taste
Mint leaves to garnish
1. Wash ingredients thoroughly
2. Peel pineapple thinly and cut into manageable chunks
3. Peel lime thinly and segment
5. Serve over crushed ice, garnished with mint leaves
1 Medium to large
There you have it folks! As you can see, juicing can be a powerful tool to have available if you would like to keep your digestive systems as healthy as possible!
> From the juicing for health desk of Rika Susan