Those of you who follow my blog, Daily Juicer, will know that I advocate drinking more vegetable juice than fruit juice – vegetable juice daily, and fruit juices for special occasions or maybe weekends. This is for the simple reason that fruits contain more sugars than veggies do, and it is not natural for our bodies to deal with large amounts of sugar on a regular basis. Of course, fruits – even though they have been bred sweeter and sweeter since their early domestication – still contain many excellent nutrients, minerals, vitamins and enzymes.
So what kind of juicer recipes should you be making in your daily juice-drinking habit? Surely all vegetables, and fruits, will benefit you in some way – we are all vaguely aware that vegetables and fruits contain vitamins, minerals and enzymes, and many other compounds and macro-nutrients, many of which scientists cannot yet fully explain. Yet they all benefit us, and you can tailor your daily glass of juice to best meet your personal requirements at this point in time.
There are vegetables which will help with general health. All people can benefit from these juice ingredients. For the best basic juice recipe in my humble opinion, use celery. Celery is first and foremost an excellent source of fibre. The fibre in celery is not, as many may think, the stringy bits in celery which are so unpalatable! Fibre found in celery and other vegetables is soluble, and you won’t even notice it. But, as well all know, fibre is important for our digestion. Even though fibre is not a nutrient which contributes to the building of our cells, we require it in our diet so that our digestive systems can extract as much goodness from our food as possible, as we digest our food.
After fibre, some of the most pronounced nutritional benefits of celery juice are Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B1, and to a lesser extent, B2 and B5. The B Vitamins are notoriously hard to get into a modern diet, so making celery the base of our most commonly used best juice recipes is a great way to get those B vitamins into your body.
Vitamin C follows closely behind in terms of how much you are getting in your juice. The amount of Vitamin C from celery juice compared favourably to many fruits which we commonly associate with vitamin C, like oranges. Of course, oranges do still contain vitamin C, and not to be a broken record, but once again with oranges we have the higher-sugar-content problem.
Polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) are another great find in the humble celery plant. You may or may not have heard of polyphenols – they are an antioxidant which forms a defense against cancer – but the best sources of polyphenols are red wine, celery, strawberries and carrots. Celery is arguably the best source since red wine is alcoholic, strawberries are seasonal and carrots are fairly high GI (available sugar content).
Next on the list of celery benefits includes folic acid. Folic acid is something that all women of childbearing age should get enough of. A lack of folic acid has been linked to a higher chance of having a child with a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. A store of folic acid should be in the body before the child is even conceived, as a baby’s spine develops within the first 12 weeks, so all women who may possibly become pregnant should ensure that they obtain enough folic acid, just in case. Folic acid also guards against heart attacks and osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and depression, so it’s important that everyone gets enough of this important acid.
Potassium and calcium are two minerals which are obtained easily from celery juice. Potassium is a vital mineral in our bodies, supporting the bones, nervous system, heart and respiratory system. Calicum is vital for our bones, teeth, blood, heart and nervous system – getting enough calcium can help guard against osteoporosis, celiac disease, rickets, PMS and high blood pressure. And that’s right – calcium can be obtained from celery – rebutting the myth that milk is the only source of calcium. (In actual fact, it’s debatable whether the calcium in milk is very well absorbed at all – at very least, it’s thought that the natural fats in milk are required by the body to help absorb the calcium in the milk – thus making low-fat milk a poor source of calcium!)
Celery leaves, if you choose to juice them, contain a great amount of Vitamin A. However, pregnant women should avoid celery seeds.
So what does celery taste like as a juice? You will find it tastes slightly salty, and of course quite “green”. If the greenness of the taste bothers you, you may find that drinking celery juice through a straw helps. Somehow the way your tongue curls around the straw makes the juice taste less green. Also, the saltiness may initially bother new celery-juice drinkers – but persist – after a few days, you won’t find the taste nearly as surprising anymore. In fact, the saltiness comes from the natural soluble mineral salts found in natural celery juice – and they are excellent for hydration, as of course your body requires both water and essential salts.
Anyway, that’s enough Laurie ranting for one day – I hope I have inspired you to go and juice some celery and get into it. If you only have a few sticks of celery in the fridge or cooler, then throw a few carrots and maybe an apple or a beetroot in the juicer machine too, and provide even more nutrient-packed juicy goodness. Remember – any juice is better than no juice! Happy juicing!