The idea of drinking your greens has gone from being an exclusive trend in health communities to a national obsession. From the hippest café to the most humble kitchen, green juice is kicking up a storm.
So what is it about green juice that we all love so much? Well, to start it’s packed full of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. On top of that, green juices can be as delicious, as nutritious, and as simple as you want them to be – it all depends on which vegetables you choose to use.
You can experiment with a whole range of green veggies and fruit, but some of the most popular and nutritious include kale, spinach, celery and wheatgrass – each of which offer their own unique superfood health benefits.
Some people are put off by the prospect of chomping on a celery stick, with its stringy texture and watery taste. That’s where juicing comes in – the perfect way to unlock all that goodness locked away in inside.
Rich in natural sodium, celery juice makes the perfect post-workout drink for a healthy dose of electrolytes. On top of that, it’s also packed full of carotenoids such as lutein, which keep your eyes healthy and may also help prevent the onset of certain cancers.
Wheatgrass is brimming with chlorophyll, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients, making it one of the most powerful superfoods on the planet. For years, natural health advocates have been shouting about the health benefits of wheatgrass – claims backed up by studies that have proven this superfood to be a useful treatment for a number of conditions, including ulcerative colitis.
Whether you down a shot of wheatgrass or combine it with other green veg in your morning juice, your body will thank you.
Of all the green vegetables, kale is king. This leafy superfood is loaded with vitamins, nutrients and beneficial compounds, making it the perfect addition to your green juice.
A single cup of cooked kale contains 53.3 mg of vitamin C and 885 mcg of retinol A equivalent, or 17,707 International Units of vitamin A, according to figures from Medical News Today. Both vitamins are important for healthy immune function, while vitamin A also plays a vital role in the healthy growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair and helps maintain good eyesight.
Vitamin C meanwhile, is required to help build and maintain collagen, the key protein in the structure of hair, bones and skin. The vitamin also helps with iron absorption - another nutrient that can be found in abundance in kale.
There’s a reason Popeye is such a fan of spinach: this nutrient-dense leafy green vegetable contains high levels of chlorophyll and carotenoids such as beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. As well as containing anti-cancerous and anti-inflammatory properties, these phytochemicals are essential for healthy eyes.
Even a small serving of spinach juice packs a nutrient punch, so make sure you include a handful or two in your next green juice.
For that extra healthkick in your green juice, consider adding a super supplement like Chlorella.
This freshwater algae boasts a particularly high concentration of chlorophyll and is rich in other phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, potassium and B-vitamins.
Research suggests that using the supplement on a daily basis may help reduce high blood pressure and enhance immune function. But chlorella’s benefits don’t stop there. While further studies are required, many frequent users of chlorella state that they take the supplement in order to help detoxify their body, for example from the effects of heavy metals or radiation.
There are a couple of things to look out for when buying chlorella. Firstly, check its origins - the plant is native to Japan so there is some contention over whether or not crops grown there are at risk of contamination from radiation following the Fukushima incident.
Secondly, humans aren’t able to access the health benefits of chlorella unless its tough cellular structure is broken into, so make sure you only buy chlorella with ‘cracked cell walls’ and look out for organic low-temperature-extracted forms too to ensure maximum health benefits.
Mean Green Inspiration
Kale makes for a delicious and nutrient-dense juice, but for a refreshing twist try juicing it alongside some green apples, a few sprigs of mint and some lemon zest. The end result is as refreshing as it is healthy. The perfect morning pick-me-up.
Celery is a versatile vegetable to juice, but we love it combined with cucumber, ginger, spinach and a small amount of pineapple for added sweetness. Packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients, not only will this combo help fight against illnesses, but it’ll help your body in the recovery period too.
The flavour of wheatgrass certainly takes a bit of getting used to, so it’s always a good idea to juice it with other superfoods to reduce the bitterness. Adding a dash of carrot juice gives a little extra sweetness, as does mixing it in with the juice of an apple and a few sprigs of mint. Serve over ice and you have a refreshing drink that packs a nutrient punch.
How does a super-healthy and naturally sugar-free glass of lemonade sound? Good, right? Well it’s a lot easier to whizz up than you might think. Just juice eight cups of spinach, two lemons (skin removed), one pear and two green apples. Serve with ice and there you have it – lemonade that’s actually good for you. Delicious.