Green juice has become a very popular drink in the health community. Many claims have been made, which can definitely be confusing and even a bit suspicious. Is it really that good? Well, this article is going to give you some more definitive answers.
What are the benefits of green juice? Green juice has been said to positively affect weight loss, aid in the digestion of leafy greens, and strengthen your immune system. Drinking green juice can be a great source of any vitamins or nutrients that you may be missing in your diet. Green juice is a good way to quickly and easily get in a few servings of fruits and vegetables without the added sugar of other juices.
Not all these possible benefits are backed up by science, though. Green juice can be a really good way to get those leafy greens, but it is possible to have too much of good thing. We’re going to be going over the facts of green juice.
Hopefully, with a solid understanding, you will be able to go into green juicing with confidence!
What Is Green Juice?
Green juice has become very popular as a health drink in recent years. This is mostly due to its content, which is primarily leafy green vegetables.
Juice has been a popular drink of choice for quite some time, as it is an easy way to get the vitamins from fruits like apples and oranges.
These fruit juices aren't really the healthiest way to get these vitamins, though, as they include a staggering amount of sugar.
Even if they are low calorie, that amount of sugar can have some serious consequences for some people.
From this realization came the rising popularity of veggie-based juices and the juicing trend we all know.
Fruits can also be used in green juices, but the normal fruit-to-vegetable ratio for use in these juices is two to one, meaning that for every two cups of veggies, you can add one cup of fruit.
This ratio attempts to ensure that you are getting all the possible flavor and
nutrients from the added fruit, without too much sugar or acidity.
Green juice has become a really popular way to get your daily servings of vegetables (five to thirteen servings) for the more health-conscious crowd. But it has also been shrouded in a bit of controversy.
Most of this controversy comes from those who use juices to “cleanse” the body. This is not something that is supported by the medical community, so we will talk about it a little later in the article.
What Are the Benefits of Drinking Green Juice?
- Supplemental Vitamins and Nutrients - This is the most important reason to drink green juice! Most doctors and nutritionists would recommend a green juice over vitamin supplements any day because it is going to provide you with the same vitamins that eating leafy greens would.
Many supplement pills are filled with unnecessary vitamins and additives that are not going to help you get along. With the right serving of green juice, you will get the perfect amount of iron, potassium, and vitamin A.
- Antioxidant Packed - Something that you might not get enough of in your daily life is the right number of antioxidants. Antioxidants, if you didn’t know, have a lot of benefits of their own.
Most importantly, antioxidants protect cells, preventing damage. They do this by preventing excess oxidation of the cells (that’s why it's called an “anti-oxidant”).
This can have a small anti-aging effect and can possibly prevent cancer cells from forming.
- Possibly Aid in Weight Loss - There have been a few studies showing that the regular consumption of green juice can lead to greater weight loss. But there are more than a few factors to consider here.
Doing a green juice “cleanse” may be a good way to drop pounds fast—due to a significant decrease in calories—but it will not be sustainable.
Drinking a green juice every so often when you don’t have the time to cook vegetables at home, however, can be a great way to make your diet more well-rounded, which is shown to sustain and increase weight loss.
- May Be Easier to Digest - As I will mention a few times throughout this article, fiber is a very important part of our diets. A lack of fiber in your diet can lead to constipation and long-term digestive problems.
But, fibrous foods themselves can seem difficult to digest. This is because fiber is not actually digested by the body.
Because of this, eating fibrous foods can leave you feeling fuller, longer, and can give you a “bloated” feeling. Without fiber, though, the intestines cannot remove the other waste that was broken down.
Green juice will not make you bloated, but it’s not a replacement for regular sources of fiber.
- May Strengthen Immune Health - Some studies have shown that the elements in green juice can lead to strengthened immune health.
This isn't super far off, as an increase of certain vitamins and chlorophyll has been shown to have a positive effect on the immune system.
So, while this isn't something that should be definitively stated, getting more greens in your diet certainly can’t hurt.
Why Is Green Juice Green?
As the name suggests, green juice is just a juice that is green. But that green should be obtained primarily from leafy green veggies, like kale, spinach, and celery. The green in this green juice is from the chlorophyll in the veggies.
As you may remember from science class, chlorophyll is what makes plants appear green. It is also the chemical that lets plants convert sunlight into energy.
So, you can see how chlorophyll might be able to provide positive effects to our bodies as it does for plants.
There are benefits to chlorophyll as
well! Increased chlorophyll has been said to help with:
- Skin issues like aging and acne.
- Increasing red blood cells in the body, as is similar in structure to the most important protein component of these cells—hemoglobin.
- Potentially (in a limited amount of studies) treat cancer.
However, the chlorophyll in green juice isn’t a cure-all for skin issues or treating cancer. All of these statements should always be taken with a grain of salt
Why Are Greens Important to Health?
Green juices make a great snack for an
afternoon pick-me-up or pre-workout in the morning. Juices are good because they are a fast and simple way to get some of your recommended intake of fruits and vegetables.
As we all know, vegetables are a very important part of our daily diets. There are reasons for this, though.
Veggies aren’t magic foods; they’re important because they hold tons of antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Though you can supplement your daily vitamins through your morning pill, it’s much simpler (and more effective) to get them through eating well.
This is where green juice comes in. If you are someone who lives a particularly hectic life with not much time to scarf down the nutrients that you need, you can juice instead.
If making veggies with your meals seems too taxing, try adding a green juice to your lunch or dinner as a way to supplement those necessary nutrients.
Is It Better to Drink Your Greens?
The most important distinction to make about green juice is that, unlike un-juiced greens, there is a notable lack of fiber. Fiber is one of the most important parts of your diet, right along with those vitamins and minerals.
The recommended intake for fiber is around 30 grams, which a majority of people are missing from their diets.
Fiber has been mislabeled as bad for your digestion by some in the health community. People with digestive disorders can have issues when it comes to high-fiber foods, but this isn’t the case with most people.
Grains, vegetables, and fruits that contain fiber aren’t going to make a majority of people feel bad after eating them, but they may increase bloating.
Bloating is sometimes a sign of gastrointestinal distress, but also happens naturally when consuming some foods.
If you would like to cut back on that bloating, though, drinking green juice in the place of fibrous veggies is a great way to do so.
Just make sure that you are getting your recommended dose of fiber from somewhere else!
Should You Drink Green Juice Every Day?
The decision to drink green juice every day is totally up to you. While some studies have shown that a regular dose of green juice can lower cholesterol and diabetes, it’s not at all proven.
Drinking green juice as a supplement for your servings of fruits and vegetables is a healthy and safe way to get the nutrients that you need while being a little less effort on your part.
The best thing that green juice can do for you is to increase your servings of fruits and vegetables, though.
It has been shown time and time again that getting the recommended servings of these foods are beneficial to health.
Increased vegetable consumption can lower blood sugar spikes, which can, in turn, prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Fruits and vegetables have vitamins and minerals that are needed to reduce the
chances of various nerve issues.
So, if you are increasing your consumption of veggies and fruits, you are ultimately going to improve your health. That is unless you are supplementing these on top of already eating the recommended servings.
Drinking green juice instead of taking vitamins every day is a good way to supplement them into your diet, but too much can still be a problem.
How Much Green Juice Should You Drink A Day?
If you are trying to supplement the bulk of your daily intake of veggies, you will probably need about two eight-ounce glasses of green juice. More than that may be overkill, though.
So, if you're going to be drinking green juice every day, you should make sure that it is supplementing the vitamins that you would otherwise be getting from eating fruits and vegetables.
Drinking green juice on top of eating the recommended serving of fruits and veggies is not only pretty useless, but it can also possibly be harmful.
Getting too many vitamins and minerals can cause pretty uncomfortable symptoms, like nausea, cramping, hair loss, and other issues.
There are no health problems associated with a regular intake of green juice while also consuming a well-rounded diet. However, green juices should not be used as a replacement for meals.
Why You Shouldn’t Replace Meals with Green Juice
A lot of the hype around green juices and juices, in general, have come from so-called “juice cleanses.” These cleanses involve cutting out all solid food for a period of time—usually from a week to a month—and only consuming fruit and vegetable juice.
Juice cleansing is not recommended by medical professionals. Restricting your diet from solid foods has been shown to produce consistently negative results. First of all, you cannot “cleanse” your body of toxins using certain foods or drinks.
Your liver, kidneys, and intestines already do this naturally. Anything being sold as a cleanse is a marketing gimmick. Don’t fall for it.
Finally, there is no evidence that restricting your diet to only liquids promotes healthy, sustainable weight loss.
In fact, a majority of those who lose weight during a liquid diet is
likely to gain that weight back and then some.
The temporary nature of weight loss by juicing is because there is a severe lack of calories in an all-liquid diet, especially one containing only fruits and vegetables.
Here is a more extensive look into why replacing your meals with green juice is not recommended by doctors:
- Lack of Fiber — A significant lack of fiber in your diet can create problems, like weight gain and blood sugar fluctuations, which can lead to even bigger problems in the future. Problems like diabetes and heart disease are of main concern.
While high-fiber foods technically take more energy to digest, your body knows how to process them. The only thing that a healthy level of fiber will do to your body possibly makes you bloat, which is entirely natural.
- Reduced Calories — Unlike what most diet magazines might be telling you, calories are not evil. To maintain a healthy weight and energy level, you actually need to get a good bit of calories. For adult men, this is 2000 to 2500 calories a day, and for adult women, it’s 1500 to 2000.
These are just the calories that you need to maintain the function of your organs. Green juice will give you almost a third of the number of calories that you need in a meal, which isn’t nearly enough.
While it might result in a smaller weight for a period, it will also likely result in a slower metabolism. So, it won’t help you with weight loss in the long run.
- Limited Macronutrients — Replacing a meal with a green juice is sure to increase your intakes of micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, but it won’t be good for your macros. Macronutrients are the most important parts of our diets.
They include carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Green juices are going to contain a good bit of carbs, but very little protein or fat.
Laying out the details of why we need each of these components in our diets would be a lot to explain in this article. To make it simple: without protein and fat, you are going to have much less energy. That’s why these compounds are essential to our everyday diets!
Is Green Juicing Bad for You?
Drinking green juice isn’t bad for you. A glass of green juice can is packed with chlorophyll, antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients that our bodies thrive off of. Yet, green juice isn’t a cure-all or meal replacement.
Green juices should be consumed in moderation, just like everything else, and should only supplement veggies that you would already be eating.
Green juice is much better than regular fruit juice, but it is better to eat solid green vegetables.
If you have the time to eat your greens whole, that is going to be your best bet. You don’t want to miss out on that digestion-boosting fiber, so don’t try to live off juice alone.
You also definitely shouldn't be drinking a 24-ounce glass of green juice. Make sure that it’s a serving of greens because you can have too much.
If anything, green juice should be a snack between or with meals, adding to a diet that may be lacking in leafy green vegetables. As a supplement, it can be a fantastic addition to a healthy diet.
It can be consumed regularly, but those who are already getting the right amount of fruits and veggies do not need to get even more in the form of green juice. As long as you enjoy your green juice in moderation, you can’t go wrong!