I recently got a juicer for Christmas and I confess, darlings, I’m in love. I had been considering a juicer for quite some time now. Mostly I wanted it because one of my favorite things to do is purchase over-priced juice at my local juice bar. It’s delicious AND it’s good for me? Sign me up!
I was nervous about the investment because juicers have a tendency to be very expensive. And they sound kind of scary. Have you ever seen a juicer rip through a carrot? It’s intense.
Then, right as Christmas was approaching, Bon Appetit posted a link on Facebook about an affordable and awesome juicer. For only $100 and about 9″ of my limited counter space, I could have a Breville Compact Juicer of my very own. In honor of my upcoming new year’s resolutions to be more healthy and active I decided to request sneakers and a shiny new juicer for Christmas presents from my folks.
I have no regrets.
Having a juicer makes drinking your vegetables a lot easier, but you can definitely juice with a blender and a strainer at home. It’s a little more labor intensive, but if you have some time to kill on a Sunday you can make yourself some juice servings for the week. (If you discover a passion for juice you had no idea lived inside of you, the juicer is totally worth the expense.)
With that in mind, I thought I would give you a little insider knowledge on some of the best veggies to incorporate into your juice routine for maximum nutrition.
If you’ve seen an episode of Popeye, chances are you have an inkling that spinach is good for you. Spinach is extremely rich in iron as well as many essential vitamins. If you need an additional source of Vitamins A, C, or K, spinach will be a great choice for your juices. The best part about juicing spinach or adding it to smoothies is it’s mild flavor doesn’t distract from or compete with the other ingredients.
Kale and other vegetables in the brassica family (think broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts) are also ridiculously healthy. There’s a reason everyone wants you to eat more of it. In addition to containing loads of Vitamins C and K (do you see a trend with the dark, leafy greens?), it’s high in beta-carotene, an important antioxidant that is converted to Vitamin A in your body. Kale also contains loads of minerals your body needs like iron, calcium, and potassium. Dinosaur kale is my favorite, and not just because I love dinosaurs. Its flavor is a little stronger than spinach, but is still barely noticeable in your beverage.
Carrots have always been one of my favorite vegetables, though I’ve progressed a bit from only eating them boiled and slathered in butter. Carrots are great for juicing because they are inexpensive, plentiful all year, and add a delicious sweet flavor to juices. Most notably, carrots are high in Vitamin A which is essential for the health of your eyes. They are also high in beta-carotene and B-complex vitamins like folic acid which assist in your bodies metabolic processes. Also, it’s really fun to drink bright orange juice. And yes, if you consume too many of them, you will turn orange.
Beets are another root vegetable that gives juice an awesome sweet, earthy flavor (and incredible pink hue!). Like carrots, they’re relatively inexpensive and available throughout the year. Beets are particularly known for a compound called glycine betaine that lowers homocysteine levels in the blood. In plain old English, that means beets are really good at keeping your heart healthy. They are a rich source of Vitamins A and C as well as B-complex vitamins. You’ll get particular benefits from juicing beets because raw beets contain high levels of folates that they lose as they’re cooked.
Red cabbage may not sound like something you immediately want to juice, but trust me, you’ll want to give it a try. The flavor is not overwhelming when you combine it with other ingredients like apple and ginger and, like beets, you’ll end up with an awesome pink juice. Red cabbage is full of various antioxidants and is particularly high in Vitamins C and K. While not as high as the other vegetables above, red cabbage also contains important minerals like manganese, potassium, and iron.
Do you have a favorite juice recipe? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @litdarling