JUICES & NUTRITION -Importance Of Fruits And Vegetables

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Many people go through various efforts to stay fit, maintain good health, and ensure their longevity. Examples of these practices include engaging in rigorous physical fitness training, eating a balanced and healthy diet, maintaining ideal weight and employing an effective stress management procedure. It is also important to stop smoking, reduce alcohol intake and avoid the use of prohibited substances.
A person's health is a very important aspect of his life - " health is wealth". For most human beings, staying fit and healthy is parallel to being wealthy, for a person's everyday life is influenced mainly by the state of his mind and body, especially by the presence and absence of certain diseases.
Poor health can be caused by a host of different factors, such as poor eating habits, lack of exercise, stress and excessive smoking and alcohol intake. Unbalanced intake of nutrients, for one, may cause excessive or deficient nutrient intake, which will definitely affect the body's normal functions. These nutrients are necessary for a person's growth, metabolism and other functions. There are six main nutrients that are needed by the human body in different amounts to perform its various processes. These are:
  • carbohydrates,
  • proteins and
  • fats, or nutrients that are known to provide energy to the body; and
  • minerals,
  • vitamins, and
  • water, or those nutrients that support the body's metabolism.
Water, the last nutrient in the list, is sometimes called the forgotten nutrient, but it is considered the most important. Water is necessary for the body's growth and metabolic processes. It runs through the blood and lymphatic system, carries oxygen and distributes nutrients to the cells and rids the body of toxins and wastes in the form of urine and sweat. If water and its other liquid substitutes were not present in the human diet, food digestion, nutrient absorption and waste excretion would be impossible.
The human body is made up of two-thirds water. It needs eight to ten glasses of water or caffeine- and alcohol- free liquids to replace the water it loses during the day. The body's need for water is satisfied by the intake of other drinking liquids free from caffeine and alcohol, such as juices; fruits and vegetables, which are made of 80 to 95% water; meat products, which are made of 50% water; and cereals like rice and oats, which can contain as much as 35% water.
Fruit juices have been scientifically proven to give certain health benefits, provided that they are taken in moderation. Nutritionists also suggest that fruit juices should be taken in their pure state and people should only drink 100% fruit juice. Cranberry juice is believed to prevent urinary tract infections; grape juice is believed to lower the chances of blood clots in the heart; and orange juice is believed to prevent stroke and reduce the risk of heart attacks.
Though these popular beliefs have no scientific basis to their therapeutic claims, most scientists say that many fruit juices are indeed healthy to drink. Pure orange juice, for example, is very rich in Vitamin C, potassium, and folic acid. Other fruit juices that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and anthocyanins (water soluble pigments found in plants which act as antioxidants) include grape juice (purple), pomegranate juice and cranberry juice. It is believed that juices that are made from fruits with rich colours such as grapes, pomegranates, cranberries and blueberries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. New juices from blackcurrants and Tahitian noni have also found their way into the international market.
Recent scientific studies have also claimed that the antioxidants found in most fruits and vegetable juices can help lower a person's risks of developing Alzheimer's disease. Antioxidants are naturally occurring substances found in most plants and have the potential to help combat heart diseases and fight cancer.
Freshly squeezed juices from fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of minerals and vitamins that catalyse chemical reactions occurring in the body. These enzymes also produce the energy needed for digestion, absorption, and conversion of food into body tissues. An increased intake of fruit and vegetable juices ensures that the body will efficiently absorb more minerals and vitamins.
Another helpful benefit of fruits and fruit juices is their ability to promote detoxification in the human body. Fruits help to cleanse the body, especially those with high acid levels. Tomatoes, pineapples, and citruses such as oranges, red grapefruits, and lemons are known for their detoxifying properties. While these fruits promote cleansing, they still provide the body with a high boost of Vitamin C!
Unfortunately, there are many people who do not eat sufficient quantities of fruit and other fresh produce on a daily basis - or even on a regular basis. This can lead to a lack of nutrients in the body that can have widespread ramifications on the whole body and your health.
The ever-increasing number of people who are suffering from malnutrition has lead to the establishment of a set of guidelines regarding the necessary quantities of different food groups that should be eaten on a daily basis.
The fruit group provides you with many great things for the body.  Fruits have a lot of vitamins like vitamin A (especially apricots and cantaloupe) and vitamin C (especially citrus fruits like, oranges and grapefruits).  These two vitamins help heal cuts, assist night vision and create beautiful skin. They are also high in fibre.  Fibre helps the stomach digest food and may help to reduce cancer. Most fruits have little fat.
          What is in this group:
                   *Fresh fruit
                   *100% fruit juices
                   *Dried fruit, like raisins or prunes
                   *Frozen fruit
                   *Canned fruit
       Servings per day: 2-4 
The vegetable group, like the fruit group, also has a lot of vitamin A, vitamin C and fibre. They too are low in fat, except for avocados and olives.  They are still healthy to eat, just do not eat too many.  When looking for vegetables, remember that the deeper/darker the colour of the vegetable, the more healthy it is.  For example when picking out lettuce it is better to go for Red lettuce than Iceberg lettuce.
          What is in this group:
                   *Fresh vegetables
                   *100% vegetable juices
                   *Vegetables processed into other foods, like salsas
                   *Frozen vegetables
                   *Canned vegetables
       Servings per day: 3-5 
There is a source from which you can obtain nutrients to help prevent the onset of mild cases of malnutrition, which is too often not thought of as a source of the necessary nutrients - and that is juice. There is an equation that states that a glass of fresh fruit juice is the equivalent of a serving of fruit. Juice cannot completely replace whole fruit within your diets, but it can augment the amount of nutrients that you provide for your body through eating fruit. It is possible to create a large batch of fresh fruit juice in the juicer in the morning and have that as a drink throughout the day. This practice can help to top up the nutrients in the body through the day as they get used up.

Raw food and fresh juices have remarkable cleansing and regenerating effects on the entire system, as they retain all their nutrients which might get destroyed while processing and cooking. And of course, it is very important to keep track of our natural vitamin intake. A rule of thumb is to eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, especially those high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, beta-carotene, and fibre. In general, a serving is 1 small piece of fruit, half a cup of cooked or canned fruits and vegetables, or 1 cup raw.

In today's world, pollution and chemicals come at us from all angles; our water contains toxic levels of metals and chlorine; our produce is tainted with pesticides; and our meat and meat products are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. It is small wonder that so many of us fall prey to chronic ailments and disease. So much so, that conditions like allergies, PMS, and migraines have become as common as a cold or the flu.
In order to live a healthy and vibrant life in today's modern, fast-paced world, it has become absolutely critical to eat consciously; including as much whole, unrefined, unprocessed grains, meats, and produce as possible; supplement the diet with vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids; get plenty of rest and relaxation; reduce health-eroding emotions like anger, resentment, and fear; eat biodynamic or organic whenever possible; and include plenty of antioxidants in the form of dark, leafy greens and fruits and vegetables.
All of these components are necessary in the building of optimum health and success, as well as combating and preventing illness and disease.
Most Westerners do not get even close to their recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables, and juicing is an easy way to accomplish just that. Extracting fresh juice from raw fruits and vegetables and drinking it right away, allows many of the vital nutrients and enzymes to remain intact. And, since enzymes act as catalysts in almost every bodily function, juicing plays a significant role in the fight against free radicals. It allows nutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, and trace amounts of essential fatty acids to enter the body in a more bioactive form than supplements. In other words, the body is better able to absorb all of the nutritional value of the fruits and vegetables when they are juiced.
Juicing is also a better way to get your vitamins and minerals, because all of the phytonutrients, soluble fibre and many other complex compounds that exist in the natural fruit, also exist in its juice; whereas, each nutrient is individually extracted when it is in supplement form. Since all nutrients work symbiotically with one another, with each enhancing or balancing the other, drinking freshly extracted vegetable juice allows you to get the nutrients in combinations that exist in the food when it is in its natural state.
Additionally, juicing provides a lot of soluble fibre; therefore, the nutrients that are contained in the insoluble fibre of a fruit or vegetable are released so that the body can make use of them. When fruits or vegetables are eaten whole, these nutrients would not be available to the body, as they would be contained within the indigestible fibre. Since fibre is such an important factor in the elimination of waste and toxins from the body, and keeping the colon and bowel cleansed, a high fibre diet is highly recommended for optimum health and wellness. Soluble fibre, as well as aiding in the body's elimination and detoxification processes, is also the fibre that has been found to lower levels of cholesterol.
Most of the bottled juices that are available in supermarkets, and even health food stores, have been pasteurized in an effort to eliminate harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, the process of pasteurizing includes subjecting fresh juices to extremely high temperatures. There are valuable and fragile enzymes, phytonutrients and other nutritional compounds that are destroyed with the addition of heat. Cooking, refining and processing food strips it of its maximum nutritional value.
Freshly extracted fruit and vegetable juice also provides another, major key nutrient: water. Everyday factors like caffeine, over-the-counter medications, salt, cigarette smoking, and alcohol all act to dehydrate the body. These factors, combined with the fact that most Westerners do not consume nearly enough water just to reach the basic daily intake, never mind compensate for what's lost, can contribute to ill health. Since fresh juices contain ample amounts of this vital substance, this is yet another reason that juicing could be such an important addition to an overall optimum health and wellness plan.
The benefits of juicing are many, while the downsides are few to nil. In a culture where the number of people who get their daily requirements of fruits and vegetables is dismally low, juicing should be an absolute necessity and priority, making you full of vitality, increased energy, and a great enthusiasm for fresh juice.

One of the most grave problems that society is facing is the degradation in quality of many foods and beverages and the inclusion of many additives that are harmful to the body. This can include the water that we drink and many of the meals we buy from stores when we're in a hurry.

Most people eat a larger than required amount of starch each day and a smaller than required amount of fruit and vegetables each day. The importance of a balanced diet has always been stressed, but many people who eat three regular meals each day believe that they are eating a balanced meal. This is not always the case, since it is the contents of the individual meals that will determine whether or not a person is following a balanced diet. If a person is aware of the fact that their diet is not balanced, then this is the first step towards healthy eating, but many people are not aware of this fact. The people that are aware of this may not be aware of what steps they can take in order to rectify this and how easy it is to change your dieting habits. There are many items that can help you in this process and one of the most useful is a household juicer.
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