To understand antioxidants we must first understand the role they play in our body. Oxygen supports our life, and "oxidizes" or "burns" food to create energy and heat for our bodies. However certain types of altered oxygen molecules called "Free Radicals" which are ever-present in our bodies, will damage our own cells and even our DNA, causing degeneration and diseases such as cancer. A physical example of this is when you cut open an apple, the oxygen turns it brown. For years chefs have known to sprinkle lemon juice on fruit salad to prevent the apples from browning. You can achieve the same principle in the body by ingesting antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that react easily with oxygen and thus protect neighbouring compounds from damaging reactions with oxygen. It is as simple as consuming more fruits and vegetables. If you haven't experienced homemade juicing, now is the time to start. Check out the amazing Young and Raw website for recipes and guidance.
Tips to remember when juicing:
- Fresh juice should only be consumed on an empty stomach. Drinking juice on an empty stomach allows the vitamins and minerals in the juice to go straight to your bloodstream. Having fiber or a meal already in your stomach prevents your body from quickly absorbing the nutrients from the juice. A good general rule of thumb to follow is to wait at least 2 hours after a meal to drink a green juice and wait 20 mins after drinking a green juice to consume a meal.
- Consume the juice fresh and within 15 mins of making it. As soon as your freshly made green juice gets exposed to air, its live enzymes begin to degrade, therefore decreasing the nutritional content.
- Sweet fruits and vegetables like watermelon, apples, pears, and carrots are very nutritious when consumed whole, but if you consume too many of them juiced, the amount of sugar and fructose you are adding to your diet could be over the top.
- Juice isn’t a meal replacement, rather it is a meal enhancer or snack. Juicing is nature’s vitamin pill and should be consumed like a supplement within 20 mins before a complete meal.
Written by Stephanie Vantanajal B.Ed