All News & Blogs
By Susan M. Selasky
Detroit Free Press
A tall glass of kale?
It might sound strange, but there is a growing number of people who are drinking their daily quota of vegetables and fruits--and say their health is better for it.
Known as juicing, the concept is simple: Extract the juices of nutrient-rich fruits and veggies, and drink it. The practice is fast becoming a $5 billion industry in the U.S., according to Barron's, and is only expected to grow.
Fans of juicing say they think the body absorbs nutrients better from raw juices and gets a boost of energy.
Especially popular right now are green juices--made with dark leafy greens such as kale, chard and spinach.
Though fruits are used to sweeten these juices, they are done so sparingly.
Amy Pierce, 41, of Sterling Heights, Mich., began juicing a year ago. She credits Joe Cross' 2010 documentary "Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead," which chronicles how juicing helped him lose weight and get healthy.
"I never thought much about juicing before that [documentary]," Pierce says. "And I didn't know if I wanted to invest in it--you can spend thousands on juicers."
Pierce, who follows a plant-based diet, bought a second-hand Jack LaLanne juicer and juices at least three times a week.
She sticks mainly to one green juice, using kale, red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cucumber, lemon, and orange or red grapefruit.
"It's that smoothness you get from the juicers," Pierce says. "[The juice] is very clean-tasting and smooth, and I really like that."
Home juice extractors aren't cheap.
An average one can cost $70; higher-end models cost as much as $400 or more. But the price hasn't dampened sales, sales, by and large, have grown 70 percent in the last few years.
Registered dietitian Rebecca Da Silva of Beaumont's Weight Control Center in Royal Oak, Mich., says she has seen increased interest in juicing.
"Used effectively to help get in more fruits and vegetables, it's an acceptable way," Da Silva says. "Juicing fruits has been around forever, but more people are now juicing vegetables with their fruit."
But, she cautioned, you can get in a lot of calories if you over do it, especially with fruits.
"You should be mindful of the fruits you are putting in the juices," Da Silva says. "The fruits, with their natural sugar, can add more calories."
And, Da Silva says, you need to be mindful if the juicer you use extracts only the juice.
"If you're using a juicer that takes some of the pulp out, you are losing out on some of the nutritional value," she says. "Some of the fiber is in the skin and some in the flesh, and most of the pulp gives you fiber."
The downside to fresh, raw juices: They are not pasteurized. They have no preservatives and should be consumed soon after they're made for both nutritional value and food safety issues.
KALE GREEN JUICE
Start to finish: 15 minutes
1 bunch of kale
Directions: 1. Clean, wash veggies and fruit. 2. Process in a juice extractor. Recipe tested by: Susan M. Selasky for the Detroit Free Press.
Juice extractors are kitchen appliances that extract juice from whole fruits and vegetables. The pulp and skin can contain key nutrients as well as fiber. For home use, there are two kinds of juice extractors that work differently: centrifugal and masticating juicers. Both look about the same. CENTRIFUGAL: This is the most common type of juicer sold at kitchen stores and big box retailers. It's the most affordable. Once you feed in the vegetables or fruit, it shreds and spins very fast so that the pulp and bits of fruit and vegetables are caught by a strainer or filter and the juice spins out. Centrifugal juicers can be loud. And, because they are fast, they heat up, which can affect the nutritional value of the juice. MASTICATING: These juicers have an auger that crushes or grinds the fruit and vegetables. They are then pressed against a filter or strainer. Masticating juicers run slower so they don't heat up and destroy the nutrients in the juice. These are known to create pulp that's drier than that left by centrifugal models. WANT TO BUY ONE?
In "America's Test Kitchen: The TV Companion Cookbook 2013" (America's Test Kitchen, $34.95), editors rated The Breville Juice Fountain Plus centrifugal machine, $149.99, as a highly recommended juicer.