By Melissa Hutsell
Squeeze out disease with a daily regimen of fruit and vegetable blends both delicious and nutritious. These tasty aliments will guarantee that you’re getting your daily dose of fruits and veggies, naturally, while promoting better digestive health, and healthier immune systems. So take your pick, and start juicing San Joaquin. All you’ll need is a few of your favorite ingredients, a blender or juicer, and an appetite. Bottoms up!
Andrea Chapin, RD, CNSC with Lodi Health, says dietary guidelines for Americans recommend at least two cups of fruit, and two and a half cups of vegetables daily for health and disease prevention. “If you fall short of the minimum recommendation, drinking fruit and vegetable juice is one way to get them in.”
Fruit juices or smoothies may be the tastiest of all, as a glass can satisfy your sweet cravings while filling you up and boosting your energy levels. Andrea recommends purchasing 100 percent juice with no added sugar. Or, you can make your own! But remember, “Juicing machines extract the juice and leave behind the pulp, which has healthy fiber. When juicing fruits and vegetables at home, save the pulp! Add it back into the juice, or save it for cooking or baking (i.e. add to muffin/pancake batter, broth, rice, pasta). Better yet – blend a smoothie and reap the superior benefits of the whole nutrient package.” To avoid using pre-made sugary fruit juices, aim for the healthy, more natural options such as:
- Water (preferably filtered): This will not affect the taste of your fruits. Water-rich fruits like watermelon or kiwis make for great juices!
- Milk: There are plenty of low-fat options such as skim milk or almond milk which make for great flavor!
- Coconut Water: This is ideal for tropical tastes.
- Fruit Juice: fresh squeezed juices, like grapefruit or orange, offer a kick of citrusy flavor.
- Green Tea: This supplements the flavor of just about any fruit wonderfully.
Blueberries, blackberries, pears or apples are packed with anti-oxidants and free-radical fighting agents. For extra sweetness, opt for natural sweeteners such as agave, honey or vanilla extract. You can even add yogurt for a smooth finish that’s packed with probiotics.
Veggies aren’t just meant for your plates! Carrots make a great juice base that is still sweet, says Andrea, “You can make your juice or smoothie more balanced by adding protein. Some good sources are low-fat or nonfat milk, Greek yogurt, flaxseed, or nut butters.” Leafy greens such as kale, spinach or wheatgrass offer protein and iron in addition to many vitamins. Chose organic or pesticide free products! To spice up your blends, add avocado or herbs like parsley, cilantro, lemons and limes, ginger and cranberries, which offer high contents of phytonutrients and antioxidants.
Andrea warns that strictly juicing can backfire, so instead, enjoy your fruit and veggies juices as a supplement to meals to ensure you’re getting your daily dose.
For more information or to find a nutritionist, visit eatright.org/find-an-expert
Lodi Memorial Hospital