Five fruit and veg a day is no longer enough – according to the latest research we need to eat at least seven portions for optimal health.
Getting that amount can reduce the risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively.
Vegetables play an even stronger role than fruit. But that’s a lot of fresh produce to get down!
Fortunately health experts say that you’re allowed to get at least one portion per day from juice, so here are 7 heavenly vegetable juices to help cleanse your body and mind.
Beetroot juice is one of the richest dietary sources of antioxidants and nitrates that are increasingly associated with a beneficial impact on blood flow and blood pressure. A recent study found that six days of beet juice enhanced overall heart function and physical performance during exercise.
A cup of spinach delivers 181% of your Vitamin K and it’s also high in Vitamin A, folate and manganese. It’s rich in antioxidants and while it doesn’t contain quite the levels of iron that Popeye thought, a 100g serving will still give you a quarter of your day’s RDA of iron and 10% of your calcium. Perhaps surprising for a leaf vegetable, it’s also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Romaine and other lettuces are great to juice and taste a lot more delicious that you might expect. Romaine is a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron and potassium. One 85g serving has over 100% of your daily Vitamin K needs and 150% of your Vitamin A.
Carrot juice is naturally sweet, tasty and wonderfully rehydrating. Packed with Vitamin A, one cup of carrot juice will give you 340% of your RDA. It’s also a great source of potassium and Vitamins C and E. Its high levels of carotenoids have been associated with lower cancer rates.
Celery stems are also vitamin rich and laboratory studies indicate that butyl phthalide, a chemical in celery, may help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol. Celery is also a natural laxative that helps reduce constipation – more gently and with a lot less sugar than prune juice. Research also suggests it can lower blood pressure.
Start your day with a large “Virgin Bloody Mary” – fresh tomato juice with a dash of lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce – and drink to your own good health. Tomato juice contains the antioxidant lycopene which research suggests may protect against prostate cancer, breast cancer, atherosclerosis, and coronary artery disease.
Fennel is in the celery, carrot and parsley family, and being related to herbs such as coriander, anise and dill it’s a wonderfully aromatic plant. The now extinct giant fennel, silphium, was worth its weight in silver in ancient times. Common fennel is widely used to reduce flatulence and is said to drive away fleas.
If you find vegetable juice a bit challenging by itself, feel free to mix it with a fresh fruit juice such as apple or grape. Bear in mind you will be increasing your sugar intake.
Alternatively, consider making a fresh, gazpacho-style chilled soup. You’ll still get all the benefits but you can eat it with a spoon.