The Best Juices and Juicers for Health and Beauty

Public interest in health, beauty, and fitness has been on the rise in the United States for decades, and the ever growing popularity of “juicing” has been riding the coattails of this trend since the very first Jack Lalanne power juicer. Fresh pressed fruit and vegetable juice has been found to have many health benefits, and in light of this, the market has become flooded with an array of juicers and blenders which vary in style and price. The toughest part may just be choosing the right one do get the job done.

Now to get down to business and talk a little more about what kind of juice (or smoothie) to drink and what kind of juicer (or blender) to use to get it. Let’s first talk briefly about some key nutrients and where to find them.

Vitamin A (beta carotene)
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Found in leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and chard; oranges, and of course-carrots!

Some roles of vitamin A plays in the body are vision support, bone health, immune support, and it promotes healthy skin.

Vitamin E (tocopherol)

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Best sources come from nut butters and vegetable oils such as safflower oil, olive oil, peanut butter, and almond butter.

The major role that vitamin E plays in the body is as an antioxidant, which is important to fight free radicals. Free radicals are known to be cancer causing, so fighting them is important!

Vitamin K

Found mainly in leafy greens and many other vegetables.

The major role Vitamin K plays in the body is for the synthesis of blood clotting proteins. It is also needed for healthy bone formation.

Phytochemicals

Phytochemicals are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and nut butters.

In plants, phytochemicals help to provide color and flavor, and they also help to protect plants from insects, microbes, and oxidation. In humans, they have been linked to: reduced cancer risk, reduced heart disease, reduced macular degeneration, reduced stroke and hypertension, reduced diabetes, and reduced symptoms of menopause. Phytochemicals are all around healthy for the entire body!

In addition to the above mentioned nutrients, there are many more vitamins and minerals found in the common fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains which a person can consume in juice or a smoothie. I want to briefly mention that, along with it’s many nutrients, juice is commonly known to be high in the sugar known as fructose. The problem with this is that without the fiber and pulp of the fruit itself, the human body may not use the sugar as efficiently as a fuel, consequently having some adverse health effects. Consuming a whole fruit is more nutritionally beneficial than consuming only the juice of the fruit. Fruits are loaded with fiber that can help to slow the absorption of fructose. They also have a high water content that helps to dilute the sugars. This is not to say, however, that fresh pressed fruit and vegetable juice is always going to be a predator to your health.

Juicing a combination of both fruits and vegetables is key to getting a wide range of nutrients. And consuming not only fresh pressed juice but also freshly blended smoothies is an even better way to get the nutrients your body needs daily. Furthermore, the blending of whole fruits and vegetables can ensure that the majority of fiber remains intact, therefore slowing down the fructose absorption as I mentioned above. Another perk of blending up a fruit and vegetable smoothie is that you can add ingredients such as ground flax seeds, chia seeds, or a high protein greek yogurt to get some extra nutrients.

If a juicer is what you’re after, there are several types to choose from. One common type is called a centrifugal juicer. The centrifugal juicer is a high speed juicer that shreds the fruits and veggies and spins it to separate the juice from the pulp. Another popular type of juicer is called a masticating juicer. This one is a slow speed juicer with a bit more versatility and the capability to extract more nutrients from fruits and veggies than the centrifugal version. In fact, the masticating juicer is the best choice when it comes to extracting juice from any leafy vegetable. The centrifugal juicer is a great choice for juicing produce like apples, pears, ginger, and carrots. The masticating type of juicer tends to cost a bit more money, as well.

Some important questions to ask yourself when deciding on a fruit and veggie extracting machine are:

Do I want juice or smoothies?

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What types of fruits and vegetables do I want to consume?

Do I want to add nut butter, seeds, yogurt, or cottage cheese to my fruits and veggies?

How much do I want to spend?

Now for a quick glimpse at just a few good choices for both juicers and blenders.

Juicers

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Black & Decker brand centrifugal juicer, approximately $35. This is a good, very basic juicer without any bells and whistles. A good choice for a first time juicer who wants to test the waters before investing in something more expensive.

Hamilton Beach brand centrifugal juicer, approximately $60. Another good, basic juicer, with a few more bells and whistles than the Black & Decker. Easy to clean, aside from the blade, which can be a bit more tedious.

Omega brand masticating juicer, approximately $300. Very versatile machine. In addition to juicing, it does an array of other tasks, including acting as a pasta extruder. There are cheaper versions of masticating juicers out there, but the Omega brand is known to be one of the best so I had to mention it.

Blenders

 

Nutri ninja brand blender, the single serving blender can be found for approximately $70. The whole kitchen system, which includes single serving blenders, a tall multi serving blender, and a food processor attachment can be found for approximately $150.

Nutri bullet brand blender, perhaps the original of it’s kind, can be found for approximately $80 for a single serving blender.

Both blenders are great for adequately blending all kinds of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts and nut butters, along with extra protein rich foods such as cottage cheese, plain greek yogurt, or a non-dairy yogurt like soy or coconut milk yogurt.

Whether you choose a juicer or a blender, I’d like to leave you with a few simple, healthy, and delicious recipes to try for both! These are all for single serving smoothies or juices so they would need to be doubled if making for more than one person.

Tropical Greens & Seeds Smoothie (for a blender)

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A large handful of spinach

1/2 cup pineapple and/or mango (fresh OR frozen)

1/2 banana

1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (or sub a flavored yogurt, if you desire)

1 Tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

1/4 cup ice (approximately 4 cubes)

Splash of orange juice or water or blending

Blend until smooth

Kale Mint Smoothie (for a blender)

A large handful of kale

1 pear

A small handful of fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup yogurt of choice (this is optional altogether, but I prefer plain greek yogurt)

1/4 cup ice (approximately 4 cubes)

Splash apple juice or water for blending

Blend until smooth

Berry Almond Butter Smoothie (for a blender)

A large handful of spinach

1/2 cup berries of choice (fresh OR frozen)

1/2 cup almond butter (or nut butter of choice)

1 Tablespoon flax seeds, ground or whole

1/4 cup milk or milk alternative (vanilla almond milk is awesome)

1/4 cup ice (approximately 4 cubes)

Carrot Orange Ginger (for a juicer)

3-4 medium carrots

1 medium orange, peeled

1/2-1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

Juice, shake or stir, enjoy!

Apple Cucumber (for a juicer)

1 medium apple

1/2 cucumber

1/2 lemon

Juice, shake or stir, enjoy!

There you have it, a brief insight to the world of juicing and blending, and the tools for which to do them! While either choice does take an investment of time (and a bit of money), your body will feel nourished from the inside out. And with the addition of a well-rounded diet and a bit of exercise, your daily juice or smoothie will have you glowing in no time at all!

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