In juice therapy, the fresh, raw juice of vegetables and fruits are used as a means of nourishing and detoxifying the body, Stimulating the immune system, and even treating certain health problems. Juice therapy is commonly used as a
component of, or complement to, fasting, but it can also serve as a dietary supplement during times of stress or as part of a regular health maintenance program.
Some practitioners prefer juice over solid raw fruits and vegetables because juices require less energy to digest and
are more easily absorbed in the body. In addition, the breakdown of fiber that occurs in the juicing process may allow the body to absorb ingredients that would otherwise be excreted. Some critics and nutritionists, however, say that whole fiber is an essential and beneficial component of raw produce that’s necessary for proper bowel function and elimination.
Because they contain the same health-enhancing phytochemicals that fresh fruits and vegetables contain, juices provide similar health benefits-such as protection against chronic degenerative diseases with regular use. However, specific juices may also have medicinal attributes that make them useful in treating certain conditions:
- Cabbage-iron deficiency
- Apple-laxative effect (from sorbitol)
- Papaya-ulcer-healing properties (from papain)
- Lemon-appetite-stimulating effect
- Cherry-treatment of gout
- Pineapple-anti-inflammatory effects (from enzyme bromelain)
- Cranberry, blueberry-prevention of urinary tract infections.
Juices can be a useful source of nutrition for patients who are weak or have difficulty eating, such as those with cancer or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
How the treatment is performed
The two elements required for juice therapy are produce and a juice extractor. Premade fresh juices may also be obtained at health food stores and juice bars.
Whenever possible, organically grown produce should be used to ensure the optimal nutritional benefit and prevent in gestion of pesticides and other chemicals. Bananas, strawberries, green beans, and apples, in particular, tend to have high pesticide residues. If this isn’t possible, the produce should be washed using a vegetable brush or one of the various
vegetable washes available.
Many different juice recipes are available; some use a variety of fruits or vegetables to provide specific health benefits. For example, an iron-rich juice made with beets, carrots, green pepper, and appies could benefit a patient with anemia. Juices made from green vegetables such as dandelion greens, spinach, celery, and alfalfa sprouts are believed to promote detoxification. Fresh apple or carrot juice may be added to dilute or sweeten a green drink.
Most produce can be placed in the juicer with the leaves, stems, and skin intact. However, certain precautions should be followed when juicing some fruits and vegetables.
After juicing, the fresh juice should be consumed immediately to prevent loss of nutrients. Some juicing advocates recommend drinking fruit and vegetable juices several hours apart to minimize gas and enhance digestion.
Excessive juice consumption, or the use of skins or leaves containing toxic substances, can cause abdominal pain, gas, and bloating. Some juices are strong stimulants to the liver and gallbladder and may have a laxative effect.
Juice fasts are not recommended for pregnant or lactating women. Infants, young children, the elderly, and diabetic patients shouldn’t use juice therapy unless under the care of a doctor. Juices may be contraindicated for patients with hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
- Advise patient to avoid fruits or vegetables to which he’s allergic.
- Inform patient that juices are not considered a substitute for whole fruits and vegetables.
- Make sure patient understands that frozen, canned, or bottled juices are not recommended for juice therapy because they contain preservatives and other chemicals that decrease nutritional value. Also, the high temperatures used in the pasteurizing process destroy the enzymes in the juice. To ensure optimal benefits, patient should drink juice made with fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.
The concepts behmd the use of juice therapy and the claims made regarding its effects haven’t yet been validated scientifically.