Food of the Month

Juices and juicing
We are often asked about the benefits of juice as a way of totting up those daily fruit and veggie serves. Here, dietitian and nutritionist Catherine Saxelby explains the pros and cons of juices and juicing and provides tips on enjoying these (usually) low GI drinks along with some great fruit and veggie combos.

Catherine Saxelby

The juice bar cult has created a whole new market for freshly-squeezed juices and smoothies, often enhanced with a shot of wheatgrass, guarana, echinacea or ginseng. You can sip orange and carrot; peach, guava and pineapple; apple, capsicum and celery; watermelon, mint and beetroot – all healthy and on-the-go. Driven by the youth market, juice bars are a place for young people to gather after school, just as cafes are meeting places for older generations. And juice bars make fruit and vegetables seem exciting, enjoyable and tasty.

Fresh juices, along with raw foods, have long been recommended by natural health practitioners since the nineteenth century. Juices are said to be an integral part of detox regimes, used to ‘cleanse the digestive system’, ‘draw out toxins’ and make the body more alkaline. Some of these claims are groundless, but are capitalised on by juice bars and all-fruit drinks to highlight the virtues of juice.

Juice pros
Juice is healthy and natural. Freshly-squeezed, 100% juice with no added sugar offers many health advantages. It:
Juice cons
Fruit juice is fruit that’s concentrated. Juices pack in a lot of kilojoules/calories and represent fruit in a form that’s all too easy to seriously over consume. The fibre and intact structure have been removed, and with that goes the ‘natural brake to over consumption. Look at this comparison:

The bottom line
Juicy combos
Here are some fruit and veggie combos you can make at home or enjoy in a juice bar. Keep in mind that apple and carrot will work in just about anything and there's nothing like ginger for added zing.
Catherine Saxelby is the author of Zest and Nutrition for Life available online.