A friend of mine is an athlete and every morning he wakes up early and packs his blender full of spinach, frozen berries and some powders and seeds that seem more suitable for my bird feeder than something you’d drink. However, while I’m sluggishly typing away on my computer, he’s lifting weights and hitting a baseball farther than I can see. There’s obviously something awesome about drinking green juice.
Maybe you’re like me and have given a lot of excuses as to why green juice isn’t for you: it’s too expensive to buy the mounds of organic greens that go into each drink. I’d have to go to the grocery store at least twice a week to buy fresh greens and I just don’t have time for that. Vegetable drinks don’t look all that appealing, so they probably taste pretty gross, too.
The Benefits of Green Juice
Here’s a list of reasons why you should be drinking your greens and why a green juice diet trumps any excuses you may have:
1/ Get the Nutrients Your Body Needs – We all know that we need fruits and vegetables for the nutrients they provide, but it can be daunting (and not too appealing) to eat a tray of carrots, spinach and apple slices. You could take a multivitamin, but then you’re missing out on the fiber that helps to cleanse your system. Vitamins also aren’t fully absorbed into your body and what you don’t use you excrete through your urine. Juicing allows you to consume a pile of healthy produce with nutrients that you can easily digest and absorb.
2/ Put Down the Red Bull – Between work, family and other demands of life, we live in a society that is perpetually tired. Here are some crazy statistics about energy drinks:
- Sales of Red Bull exceeded $10.9 billion in the last year in the U.S. alone and has the potential to make $5 trillion on any given year.
- 80% of American adults consume caffeine every day.
- One Monster energy drink has the caffeine equivalent of four cans of Coca Cola.
- The number of emergency room visits due to energy drinks doubled from 10,068 visits in 2007 to 20,783 visits in 2011.
- The average 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 100 milligrams of caffeine in it (Starbucks has 165 milligrams). A healthy adult can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. However, a 10 Hour Energy Shot contains 422 milligrams of caffeine while a 5-hour Energy Extra Strength contains 230 milligrams.
- Too much caffeine can cause restlessness, nervousness, insomnia, and tremors. Dangerous amounts can also trigger seizures and abnormal heart rhythm.
What’s a better option? Green smoothies and green juices. The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are in these juices can give you a boost of long lasting energy without the dangerous side effects. Juices also don’t pose the threat of caffeine and sugar crashes.
3/ Time for a Green Detox – We know that you don’t live in a bubble; maybe you celebrated the fact that it was Friday with a large pepperoni pizza and a pitcher of beer. Hey, life happens, but you may feel bloated and sluggish come Saturday morning when the dog wants to be walked. Green smoothies made with lemon, grapefruit, or garlic have been shown to help the liver purge itself of toxins and function more efficiently.
4/ Stress Buster – Part of the reason why we consume so much caffeine is because there is so much to do and so little time to do it in. Life IS stressful, but that stress can make you more stressed because of the side effects that stress causes. Whew! Chronic stress has been linked to headaches, coronary disease, depression, high blood pressure, ulcers, chronic fatigue, skin conditions, and more. Juicing certain vegetables can help you to manage stress. For example, spinach contains tryptophan (which is notoriously found in turkey) and magnesium which have relaxing properties.
5/ Improved Brain Function – The natural nitrates in beets can increase blood flow to the brain. Sage helps to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory. Flaxseed is an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)—a healthy fat that improves the workings of the cerebral cortex which processes sensory information like touch and taste. Green leafy vegetables (including spinach and romaine lettuce) and cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and cauliflower) slow the rate of cognitive decline. Have a busy day ahead? Drink your veggies to help you think clearly.
Growing Your Greens
Okay so what about those excuses I mentioned early? All of these benefits are great, but if something is too hard for me to commit to, I’m not going to do it. The good thing is that I quickly found that using a ROOT hydroponic gardening system made juicing super easy. I can grow my own nutrient-rich organic greens and they’re ready when I am with no extra trips to the grocery store. From countertop to my juicer, growing greens at home is cheaper than buying them at the store.
Plus, since they’re fresh, they taste better and they have more nutrients in them. Finally, while green juice may look a little out of the ordinary, the greens have a mild flavor and compliment the fruit flavors you already love like apple or orange. There are also thousands of recipes online (Prevention Magazine has a really great list of 10) so you can find what sounds delicious to you. Once you start juicing with greens that you grow with ROOT, you’ll find that you look and feel better. Cheers!