Embrace the health benefits of juicing

Staying away from junk food isn’t always easy. Fast food outlets specialise in catering for eyes, nose and taste buds rather than well-being. Therein lies the fastest route to your wallet.

My advice is to scrutinise processed foods – don’t get taken in by the wholesome images on the packaging. Check labels carefully to see whether the food actually contains the suggested nutritious items or is made mostly from artificial ingredients and fillers.

Some manufacturers replace E-numbers with the full chemical name of the food additive in order to make their product appear more wholesome than it really is. Best of all, forsake ‘junk’ and treat yourself to a big, green leafy salad every day.

Here’s how

Make a base of organic green salad leaves and top with whatever fresh vegetables are to hand, for example grated carrots, courgettes, chopped tomatoes, spring onions, olives, avocado, red or yellow peppers. Make it as colourful as a rainbow. Then add some protein such as sliced egg, hummus, pieces of fish or chicken and finally, splash on some dressing. Those who regularly eat salads and raw vegetables have higher levels of key nutrients promoting health and reducing the risk of obesity, heart disease and other chronic degenerative illnesses.

If you don’t enjoy eating salads or vegetables, you can drink them. Instead of your usual glass of plain orange, try juicing an apple with a few chunks of raw carrot and beetroot.

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Check out the flat flush green smoothie here. It's detoxifying and antioxidant-rich!

Vegetable juicing offers an efficient method of extracting sugars, starches, proteins and enzymes in a concentrated form that is easy to consume and absorb. For your efforts you receive an instant energy and immune booster which looks glorious and tastes delicious. Whizz up different combinations of ingredients and create your own unique blends – fresh, additive- free and unpasteurised.

Apple and carrot are good bases and can be mixed with all other fruit and vegetables. Try celery, spinach, pepper, watercress, sweet potato, cucumber, tomato or parsnip. Avoid large quantities of fruit or carrot juices, however, as they upset blood sugar levels and contribute to weight gain. Always dilute your juices with water as they are so highly concentrated.

Support local organic farms as non-organic fruit, salad and vegetables may be contaminated with pesticide residues. A report has found that the use of pesticides rose by 6.5% between 2005 and 2010.

We are assured that minute levels of pesticides present no health risk to consumers, but only a small selection of produce are tested at any one time. There is also concern about long- term low doses and the cumulative effects of all residues.

Play safe by scrubbing all fresh produce thoroughly under running water to remove not only traces of chemicals but any dirt and bacteria. Discard outer leaves of leafy vegetables and eat a variety of foods from different sources to reduce exposure to any single pesticide.

Tip: Lettuce may have sedative effects. Wild lettuce was used as a traditional herbal remedy to induce sleep and calm restlessness and anxiety. To improve sleep, juice some fresh organic lettuce to make up a small cup and flavour with a few drops of lemon juice.

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Read these fibre-rich breakfast ideas here. They help you feel full for longer and are great for digestion

Make your own green energy juice

Start your day off with a hydrating and super nutritious green juice (Serves 2).

Ingredients
2 cups of water
3 carrots, peeled
2 stalks celery, washed
1 turnip, peeled
A couple of handfuls of spinach, washed
A handful of parsley

Method
Run all the ingredients through the juice extractor and dilute with water, depending on how strong you like your veggie juice.

For a great healthy read, see the book: 49 Ways to Eat Yourself Well, available at a discounted rate here. It is packed full of motivational and practical ideas, the book offers handy tips on how to incorporate the 49 foods into your diet, as well as easy, tasty recipes so that you can put what you’ve learned into practice the same day!

Do you think juicing helps to improve your health? Join the conversation below.