Why juicing is the perfect spring cleanse
It’s no coincidence the phrase ‘spring clean’ is part of our mainstream vernacular. There’s something magical about this time of year that makes us want to lighten up (literally and metaphorically), shake off winter comfort food cravings, and embrace the supermarket fruit and vegetables section.
Our appetites wane slightly, we have the urge to exercise more, and our bodies intuitively want to shake off excess weight. In a nutshell, it's the ideal time to embrace nutrient-packed juices or, better still, consult with a trusted medical professional about embarking on a juice cleanse regimen.
It's widely known that many of us need to up our game when it comes to fruit and vegetable intake. Even if you are eating the recommended number of servings, how many of those are raw, meaning you’re getting the most nutrient-rich bang for your buck?
Freshly made cold pressed juices are the simplest solution. Even if you already follow a plant-based diet, you’ll quickly feel the benefits of supercharging your consumption of enzymes, phytonutrients and living water into your body this way. Research done from 2014 to 2015 at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, found that a three-day organic juice cleanse improved the healthy balance of gastrointestinal microflora. That leads to boosted immunity, improved digestion, and reduction of harmful free radicals in the body. Study participants also reported feeling significant boost in energy up to two weeks later and an average weight loss of two kilograms. In short, juicing supercharges your body and helps set you on a healthy path for the warmer months.
So, what should we be juicing?
Just as spring is the perfect season to cleanse, the fruit and vegetables that traditionally appear in spring and summer are perfect for juicing. Plant-based foods that are at their peak in the spring provide us the best vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, living waters, sun light, and energy we need for our health coming out of winter, says Gary Dowse, aka The Juice Chef. “In springtime, you don’t need pears to moisten the lungs like you do in autumn. You don’t need root vegetables, with all their rich earthy minerals, like you do in winter, and you don’t need the cooling effect of watermelon on the brain like you do in summer.”
Spring is the season of new growth, he says, when we start to see green again on trees and in our gardens after the barren chill of winter. And in that vein, it’s also the ideal time to embrace green juices, which contain ingredients seasonal to spring and packing the energy punch we all need this time of year. “Think sprouts, leafy greens, and herbs (like parsley and basil) as well as any green vegetables that grow above the ground, like celery, cucumber and zucchini,” Gary says. “All these green foods provide us with minerals like sodium and potassium to help us move our bodies more, and an important green nutrient known as chlorophyll helps us get our blood pumping.”
Chlorophyll is a powerful plant-based nutrient, often referred to as a plant’s blood, that helps them absorb energy from sunlight and is what gives them their green colour. When consumed, it is a powerful anti-inflammatory, helps the body detoxify, fights oxidative stress, protects the liver, boosts the immune system, boosts energy levels, and may even have anti-ageing properties.
Eating and juicing green herbs and vegetables is one of the best ways to get more chlorophyll into your diet. A cold press juicer is the best machine to extract the maximum amount of green juice and allows you to store the juice in the fridge for up to three days without loss of nutrients.
While there are plenty of ‘liquid chlorophyll’ supplements available in health food stores, and even supermarkets, they don’t actually contain chlorophyll. Rather, they feature a compound called chlorophyllin, a semi-synthetic mixture of sodium copper salts isolated from chlorophyll. The bottom line: always opt for fresh over supplements. “You’ll soon see how it outperforms the man-made versions,” agrees Gary. Foods with the highest chlorophyll content ideal for juicing in spring include broccoli, brussel sprouts, celery, coriander, parsley, spinach, silver beet, and the hero of the chlorophyll world thanks to its high concentration, wheatgrass.
What about the other colours in the rainbow?
Gentle warming foods like fennel and cabbage are also good for spring as they help you make the transition from the colder months into the warmer season, says Gary. Both are high in folate, potassium, and vitamin C, which are great for heart health and our immune systems.
Once spring settles in and we have more warmth in the air as we head towards summer, we should start to introduce the orange and deep red colour foods like rockmelon, carrot, beetroot, and cherries to our juices, says Gary, as they will take your energy up another notch. Red and orange vegetables are high in antioxidants, including vitamins A and C, great for anti-inflammation and anti-ageing.
Sound great? We agree. See you in the supermarket organics section!
Chef Tip from Gary Dowse: “Juicing greens with some apples or pineapple with half a lemon or lime will make your green juice taste great and encourage you to drink more.”
This chart highlights the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices that best eaten or juiced during Australia’s spring months. Those marked with * are best in the early months of spring.
Spring Juicing (September - November)
|herbs & spices||basil
Written with the generous assistance of Gary Dowse for endota Spa.