Juicing for good health

JUICING is a great way to get a concentrated form of the minerals and vitamins in fruits and vegetables.

According to Hannah Wong, academy lecturer at RPA Holistic Wellness Academy, the absorption rate is faster than if you were to eat fruits and vegetables.

Wong, who is a nutritionist and dietitian and a member of the Malaysian Dietitians’ Association, says that fruit and vegetable juices are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals.

She says that it’s good to incorporate a glass of combined fruit juices when you’re on a weight reduction diet.

“During that period you would minimise meat consumption and focus more on fruits and vegetables, which we know are low in calories compared to meat.

“In liquid form, the juice is ready to be absorbed so it will really affect the blood glucose,” says Wong.

She mentions that the glycaemic index (GI) of the fruits also matter. Those with a higher GI would have a higher sugar content and is not recommended for diabetes patients.

For example, watermelon is a high GI fruit and is not recommended for diabetes patients.

She recommends juicing vegetables as they are lower in sugar content. She says it is best to mix fruits and veges when juicing. This keeps the GI level low and is more suitable for diabetes patients.

“Nowadays, people are not taking enough fruits and vegetables. So, I recommend that even when you want to do juicing, don’t just put fruits in the juicer; add in the vegetables as well. A mixture of these two is better,” says Wong, who recommends local fruits when juicing.

“I always like local fruits like papaya. On the Internet and in books we have a lot of information about western fruits so we don’t know the value of local fruits which are very high in minerals and vitamins, too. Just because there is not much information and research on local fruits doesn’t mean that the value is lower than apples and oranges,” she adds.

What combination of fruits and vegetables to choose depends on your personal preference, says Wong.

Remember not to add sugar when juicing. If you want it to be naturally sweet, just add a fruit that is sweet such as watermelon or mango. The outcome will be sweet and the sweetness would come from a natural source. If you don’t like a sweet taste, then you can just juice anything without adding any sweet fruits.

Hannah Wong ... those who have kidney problems, should avoid starfruit.
Hannah Wong … those who have kidney problems, should avoid starfruit.

But, juicing is not as straightforward as that. According to Wong, those who have kidney problems, should avoid starfruit. This is because those with kidney problems cannot filter some of the ingredients found in starfruit. Hence, it can be dangerous as it can cause starfruit intoxication.

For those who are keen to juice, Wong says it can be done at home as long as you have a juicer or blender. In fact, blending is a good option as it will give you the fibre as well.

“Fibre helps to slow down the absorption of the sugar so the person drinking it won’t experience a spike in their blood sugar. The sugar is slowly released and won’t affect the blood sugar that much,” says Wong.

You can juice naturally, or if you want, you can add yoghurt, soya milk and chia seeds.

“We encourage people to juice at home because after you have extracted all the minerals and vitamins from the fruits and vegetables, then you should drink it immediately for the best benefits before it oxidises as it is fresh then,” informs Wong.

Detoxing and juicing should not be confused. According to her, there are no laxative side effects when juicing. Basically, if you take juice between meals and not detoxing, it should be beneficial and not create any problems.

For those who are healthy and fit, detoxifying might be an option to reduce weight.

“Some people, no matter what they do, they can’t lose weight. They have tried many things but it seems the effectiveness is just not there. Their metabolism is very slow because there is a lot of toxins in their body. So it’s hard for them to lose weight.

“When you use juice to detox for three days or one week, throughout the juicing you can increase your metabolism,” says Wong.

However, this is not encouraged for those who are ill or weak or have any health problems. Wong explains that there is a list of criteria that you need to meet before you can undergo a detox programme.

If you are in doubt, you should consult your doctor to find out if you are fit to undergo such a programme.

While the RPA Holistic Wellness Academy helps customers who want to detox, it is a detailed programme where customers are firstly assessed for fitness and then are supervised closely.

“We have a programme with a coach to teach them how to do it. You can’t do it alone or at home as it is not safe. If there are any problems, you need to speak to a coach. Here, we have a 10-day detox programme. It’s not juice alone; we incorporate many things in the programme.”

Wong will conduct a juicing workshop on June 27, 2015, where she will share some recipes and conduct a juicing demonstration.

“Juicing is not that easy. You might have the misconception that you just dump everything inside when juicing. You need some knowledge, just like if you want to undergo a detox programme,” concludes Wong, recommending that the elderly have a glass of juice a day.

* Wong’s juicing workshop entitled Simple, Safe & Effective Weight Loss with Juicing will be held on June 27, 2015, from 10am-noon at the Sungai Long Medical Centre Café in Bandar Sungai Long. The fee is RM150 per person and RM100 for those over 60. Early bird special rate of RM100 per person with free health consultation and other goodies last till 1st June 2015.

To register, SMS <JTW>SPACE<NAME>SPACE<CONTACT NUMBER> or call (010) 213-5023 (ask for Theresa or AA Lim).

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