In recent years, juicing has pretty much become synonymous with weight loss and detox. Going on a juice cleanse before bikini season or after an overly indulgent holiday binge is now commonplace. But juicing is not just for cleansing, detoxing, and dropping pounds in record time; it can also be a powerful way to improve gut health while loading up on bioavailable vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The trick is knowing what to put in our juices, as not all fresh fruits and vegetables are designed to optimize gut health. This post is about the best way to juice for autoimmune warriors and people with gut health issues.
5 TIPS TO JUICE FOR GUT HEALTH
There are a few basic things to keep in mind when juicing. Sometimes, too much of a good thing can be… well, just too much. As a health coach, I see some clients getting blind-sided by their efforts to jump on a healthy trend without knowing enough information. And don’t you hate it when you try your hardest to be healthier but then end up with unwanted side-effects, like bloating, gas, or even weight gain? Knowledge and balance are always key, especially when juicing with pre-existing gut problems. Here are 5 tips for the best way to juice your way to gut health:
KEEP THE SUGAR LOWModeration is paramount when it comes to some of the most popular ingredients, such as the ubiquitous carrots, beets, and apples. Although loaded with many health benefits, they are also high in sugar content. I know what you’re thinking: but it’s natural sugar! Yes, but it is still sugar and in excess not ideal for gut health because it ends up fermenting and feeding bad gut bacteria, increasing the chance of gut dysbiosis (a condition in which there is an imbalance of the microbes within our intestines). Being prone to SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) and Leaky Gut myself (you can read more about it in this post), I have learned that juicing fewer sweet ingredients and adding more savory, tart, and spicy ones can help maintain and restore balance. So, limit high-sugar ingredients, such as mango, carrots, beets, apples, oranges, pineapple, and pears.
GO GREENPut more green stuff into your juice. Add celery, spinach, kale, and cucumber. If you have a sweet tooth, this step will happen gradually, as some of the ingredients are an acquired taste. However, like any addiction, sugar cravings decrease when we starve them. Adding more greens to every juice while reducing sweet fruits and vegetables will work overtime. I promise!
ADD GINGER & LEMONGinger and lemon or even lime will give your juice a refreshing boost that goes beyond the taste. Ginger is a popular superfood that promotes good digestion, lowers the risk of infections, inflammation and inhibits the growth of bacteria. One more important virtue of Ginger Root is linked to its prokinetic properties, which promote proper function of our Migrating Motor Complex (MMC), the cleaning mechanism in our digestive system. A deficient MMC is the most common root cause of recurrent SIBO.
Lemon also promotes good digestion, is a great source of vitamin C and phytonutrients, helps with weight loss, and most importantly prevents the formation of kidney stones and promotes liver health.
ADD APPLE CIDER VINEGAROh, the wonders of ACV never cease! This is one of those ingredients that keeps showing up as a miracle helper and with good reason. Of course, we are not all the same on this planet, but as a health coach and an autoimmune warrior, I keep witnessing the crucial benefits of this inexpensive natural powerhouse (for more information, read this post). Adding a teaspoon to your juice might help with digestion and the elimination of pathogens and bad bacteria in your GI tract. Plus, the precious acetic acid in apple cider vinegar reduces insulin resistance and liver fat storage. It’s also a powerful ally in the battle against stubborn belly fat.
ADD HERBS & SPICESFresh herbs? Yes, please! My 2 favorite green herbs to juice are Parsley and Mint. They are both loaded with health benefits and add so much fresh flavor! According to Healthline half a cup of Parsley will supply antioxidants like flavonoids and carotenoids plus hefty amounts of vitamin C, A, and K. Parsley supports bone health, heart health, eyesight, and helps fight cancer. All that goodness for tons of flavor and a negligible amount of calories. Mint is the queen of gut-friendly herbs. It improves IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which autoimmune warriors like myself are very familiar with, unfortunately. It also helps with digestion issues and bad breath.
WHAT ABOUT CELERY JUICE?
Your gut-healthy juice doesn’t need to be complicated. If you are not a veteran juicer, you might want to start with just a couple of ingredients. Actually, you can even start with one ingredient: celery. If you are wondering why celery exactly, check out the advice from Medical Medium. He has founded a veritable Celery Juice movement, which I eventually joined on and off, albeit with a grain of salt (no, I did not add salt to my juice; I mean metaphorically). You might be wondering: what does celery juice have to do with gut health? I’ll quote Medical Medium himself to answer that question. After all, he’s the celery juice authority out there: “People are healing from all kinds of acute and chronic illnesses, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, eczema, psoriasis, acne, SIBO, constipation, chronic fatigue syndrome, blood sugar issues, migraines, acid reflux, high blood pressure, addictions, adrenal issues, gout, allergies, autoimmune conditions, and countless others, from drinking plain celery juice daily.” Did I mention I have SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, psoriasis, and vitiligo? I’m like the poster child for juicing celery to improve gut health and autoimmune conditions. If you are on a gut health journey, consider giving it a try. What have you got to lose? Toxins. Am I right? Just make sure that you juice and drink celery the right way. Here is my post about why, how and when to do drink celery juice.
BONUS TIP: GET A JUICER THAT’S EASY TO USE
I know I’m supposed to say that a healthy juice must be extracted with a cold press juicer, or nothing at all. Once upon a time, I had a cold press juicer, so I’m familiar with how slow the process can be. I even had to chop the vegetables beforehand and feed the juicer like it was a baby bird. And then the clean-up was quite a pain as well. That resulted in me dreading the juicing process like it was a heavy chore. Eventually, I started doing it less and less until I almost stopped altogether. So, a couple of years ago I decided to switch to something user-friendly that would allow me to juice more often and enthusiastically. This is my juicer now It’s not cold press, but supposedly it has cold spin technology that does not increase the temperature significantly. That means that you still get pure enough, raw enough, unadulterated juice. That’s all good, but the main reason why I love this appliance so much is that it has a wide mouth, and I can fit in whole beets, whole apples, whole lemons, huge carrots… No more chopping and feeding. And the clean-up is very quick and easy. It takes me seconds to make a whole carafe of juice. The only prepping I have is washing the food. Maybe my juicer is not the perfect one, at least according to the experts and juice purists, but I think sometimes it’s better done than perfect. Watch how fast and easy it is to make juice with this puppy. I can shove whole lemons and a ginger root as big as my hand into this beast. That’s why I love it!
TO MY GUT HEALTH AND YOURS!
In the end, no matter what you end up juicing, you will absorb more nutrients. That is the most important thing: juicing makes nutrients more bioavailable to your body. Most of us are busy and on-the-go-go-go throughout the day. Even with the best intentions and prepped meals, we often end up eating empty calories and processed food. Starting the day with something fresh, whole and nutrient-dense like juice can only brighten up your morning and get you off to a good start. I’m sharing this recipe with you because it’s a great gateway to greener and less sugary juices. I believe it’s nicely balanced to provide your palate with just enough sweetness, adding the green of the celery and cucumber, plus the zing of the lemon and ginger. The fewer sweet ingredients you’ll use, the less you’ll crave sugary fruits and vegetables, priming your palate for healthier foods and drinks. It’s a process… Cin cin, food lovers. Bottoms up!
Juice for Gut Health
- 1 Apple small (half if big)
- 3 Carrots medium
- 1/2 Beet
- 1 Lemon small
- 1 Cucumber medium
- 4 Celery sticks
- ½ cup Parsley
- Fresh Ginger as much as you like
- 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar Organic, Raw, w/ the Mother (optional)
- Insert all the ingredients except the Apple Cider Vinegar into your juice extractor and juice away!
- Stir in some ACV at the end
- Drink up and enjoy! To your Gut Health!
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