Going on a juice diet for weight loss is fairly common. But while that is often a drastic and temporary measure to lose weight quickly, there is another way to get lasting benefits from juices. Including the right juices in your diet, and having them at the right time can help you boost your nutrition and lose weight in a more sustained manner.
Juicing done the right way includes consumption of the fruit/vegetable fibres as well. This ensures that you are satiated and get an instant surge of energy.
How much to drink
It is ideal to drink juices on an empty stomach and before meals to avoid interfering with the digestion process. “In the morning, the body is still recovering from overnight detoxification and it’s ideal to have juice as the first meal of the day,” says Dr Deepti Bagree, nutritionist and Head of Department-Healthcare at Holistic Living Concepts. She recommends that one consume juices of different fruits 2-3 times a day to get benefits of various fruits.
Start with a 200ml glass of juice. Initially, the juice may flush toxins and you will feel the urge to urinate often. “When the body gets used to it, you may increase the juice intake to about 250-300 ml,” says integrative nutritionist Payal Kothari.
She suggests drinking a tall glass of a vegetable+fruit juice as a breakfast or evening snack replacement. “This brings the calorie intake to almost ½ at both the meals. It can be a great swap for toast butter and packs in lots of vitamins and minerals. The fibre keeps you full for a longer time, so you stay away from junk food. And juices are alkaline, which helps in weight loss,” says Kothari.
Fruit or juice?
Fruits are loaded with fibres which promote digestion, which can get strained out while juicing. Juices also lack fats, minerals and proteins, and don’t give steady energy. So, eating the whole fruit is a better option than drinking juices. “Fibre acts like a broom for our colon and intestines. So, it is definitely wiser to eat the fruit instead of juice. Juice without fibre also raises your blood sugar levels and creates a sugar rush which lasts for a short period, causing mood swings whereas a fruit will not have any sugar spike unless eaten in excess,” says Kothari.
And while juices restrict the number of calories you consume, they also make you hungry more often. “It can lead you to drink too many glasses of juice which can actually increase overall calorific value,” says Dr Bagree, who suggests that vegetable juices are better options to prevent a sugar spike.
For best results, pair juices with a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, proteins, good fats and fibres.
10 of the best juices to have
* Amla and Aloe Vera juice: Amla is rich in vitamin C, enhances food absorption and boosts the brain. Aloe vera is good for the skin and boosts digestion and the immune system. “Amla and aloe vera juice is an immune-boosting drink, packed with antioxidants and nutrients that soothe the digestive tract,” says Dr Bagree.
* Cranberry juice: Cranberry juice is rich in benefits. Studies have shown how it can lower the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke. It can also stop the spread of bacterial infections. “Cranberry juice is rich in antioxidants and it’s an absolute must for urinary tract issues,” says Dr Bagree.
* Pineapple juice: Pineapples are rich in the enzyme Bromelain and aid digestion. They are also a good source of fibre and Vitamin C. “Bromelain helps reduces inflammation and is excellent for the respiratory tract,” says Dr Bagree.
* Pomegranate juice: Pomegranates are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and cancer-busting antioxidants. Studies also claim that they protect muscles and improve endurance. “Rich in Vitamin C and iron, this juice can help improve haemoglobin levels and control diarrhoea,” says Dr Bagree.
* Carrot and beetroot juice: Most of the vegetable juices are rich in insoluble fibres which makes them excellent remedies for constipation. “Carrot is a rich source of beta-carotene that is important to maintain eye health and beetroot is good for improving haemoglobin levels and the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood,” says Dr Bagree.
Kothari shares recipes for some healthy juices:
* Powerhouse smoothie:
Ingredients: 1/2 bowl spinach, 1/4 bowl basil, 1/4 avocado, 3 tbsp coconut milk, 1/4 lemon soaked chia seeds
Method: Blend these ingredients together for a quick burst of energy in the morning or evening, or have as a post-workout meal with a scoop of protein powder.
Benefits: Rich in iron, vitamin B, vitamin C and good fats
* Breakfast replacement juice
Ingredients: ½ bowl of beetroot, ½ bowl of pumpkin, 1 orange. Blend them together.
Benefits: Rich in haemoglobin, high in fibre, low in calories, rich in calcium, and magnesium.
* Daily detox
Ingredients: Pani puri juice, 1 bowl of coriander leaves, 1/2 bowl of mint leaves, 1 cucumber, 1/4 green chilli, rock salt, 1 amla. Blend them all together.
Benefits: Blend all the ingredients and enjoy a glass of pani puri packed with phytonutrients, vitamin C, vitamin B, antioxidants.
* Kale detox
Ingredients: 1 bowl of kale, 1 green apple, 1 tbs spirulina powder, 4-5 wedges of ginger. Blend them together.
Benefits: High in Vitamin C, proteins, Vitamin K, carotenoids and fibres
* Carrot apple energy booster pre-workout juice
Ingredients: 1 carrot, 1 apple, 1/2 tbs cur-cumin blend
Benefits: High in pantothenic acid, folate potassium, iron, and beta-carotenes