Have you jumped on the juicing bandwagon yet?
As the weather heats up and everyone starts to get a little more reluctant to turn on the stove, juicing machines in kitchens everywhere have been dusted off and revved up once again.
Now is a great time of year to focus on getting healthy and feeling great, but before you start throwing everything green into your centrifugal contraption, it’s important to know what you’re doing.
Many people, especially those who have juiced before, probably have a few go-to recipes and don’t think much about maximizing their nutrient intake.
In reality, there are many mistakes you could be making. Before you throw another carrot into that chute, take a look at these common blunders:
1. Juicing Too Many Sugary Fruits or Vegetables
Sure, sweet fruits and veggies help balance the bitterness in strong green juices, but they should definitely never be the main ingredient.
Sweet fruits and vegetables, like mangoes or carrots, are healthy when whole because they are tempered by their fiber.
When they’re juiced, though, all that concentrated natural sugar can send your blood sugar through the roof, causing energy spikes and sluggishness.
Try adding lemon or limes, instead. They are low in sugar and can sweeten drinks just as effectively.
This should help keep your energy levels steady for the rest of the day.
2. Storing Your Juice Too Long
Ideally, you want to drink your juice immediately after it’s pressed.
According to blogger Food Babe, it only takes about 15 minutes before air and light — juice’s natural enemies — start depleting nutrients and neutralizing antioxidants.
If you want to store your juice, transfer it into a dark, airtight, glass container that will help protect it from diminishing nutrients, and stick it in the fridge immediately.
Never let unpasteurized juice get warm because it can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
3. Drinking Too Fast
While it’s true you shouldn’t wait too long to drink your juice, you shouldn’t toss it back like a shot of vodka, either.
Remember when we learned in health class that digestion starts in the mouth and not the stomach? This piece of information is key for juice drinkers.
Hungry for Change suggests you swish the liquid around in your mouth a little to mix your saliva with the juice and get those digestive enzymes flowing.
This will help your body properly absorb the nutrients it’s trying to take in.
4. Not Alternating Ingredients
You know it’s important to vary your ingredients and recipes for a balanced diet. But, did you know you should mix up the order of the fruits and veggies you’re feeding to the juicer itself?
Juicing with G suggests rotating dry ingredients, like carrots or ginger, with fruits or veggies that generate less pulp like cucumbers or apples.
This will ensure your juicer keeps working at maximum efficiency, and it will help to make cleanup easier, too.
5. Drinking on a Full Stomach
The best time to drink juice is first thing in the morning.
Food Babe says when you take a glass of fresh juice on an empty stomach, you’ll absorb far more nutrients, and the vitamins and minerals will go straight to your bloodstream rather than mingling with whatever you already ate for breakfast.
To avoid heartburn, wait at least two hours after you’ve eaten solid food to indulge in a glass of fresh juice.
If you want to juice later in the day, aim to consume it about 20 minutes before your meal. You’ll be surprised by how much less you’ll eat at dinnertime!