Thursday, April 24, 2014

Juicing for Fast Results

by Spencer Ward on February 28, 2012

At one point or another, most fighters and athletes find themselves staring at that large supplement shelf in the vitamin store, feeling confused and unsure about their knowledge of health. Because of the wear and tear boxing can have on an individual, it’s important to stay healthy and nutritionally sound. We all understand that we need vitamins and nutrients in our bodies, but knowing the best product or concoction is often confusing and can be completely stressful when faced with so many choices.

One approach to take that has been gaining popularity is Juicing…no, not that type of Juicing. I’m not even touching that controversy.  We’re talking about real juice from fruits and vegetables. This practice was made most popular by fitness guru, Jack Lalanne and is a great way to increase energy, detoxify your body, and provide it with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Essentially, there are three main reasons why incorporating juicing in into your diet can help you reach optimal performance.

Juicing can assist you in absorbing nutrients. When juicing, you are actually “pre-digesting” the vegetables so that you are receiving most of the nutrients as opposed to plant fiber. Since the majority of people have less-than-optimal digestive functions, this is a great way to “soak up” all the good stuff. Plus, it is a lot easier than preparing an entire meal centered around greens and vegetables.

Juicing allows you to consume tons of produce in an efficient way. There are various recommendations from all the health nuts out there as to how many vegetables you should eat daily. One thing they all have in common is that it’s an overwhelming high amount for an average person. However, with juicing you can easily get a pounds worth of vegetables in a single glass. And, as opposed to eating the vegetables and filling your body with tons of fiber, you are getting right down to business and drinking the concentrated nutrients.

You can get a much wider assortment of produce in your diet. Many people (myself included), stress the importance of eating a large variety of multi-colored fruits and vegetables. Eating the same salad everyday is not good for you and it goes against our natural instincts.  Hundreds of years ago, before agriculture and industrialization, we consumed a variety of produce, not one type.

Now, even though Juicing can be incredibly convenient, it can’t take the place of a healthy diet. We all still need plant fiber, carbs, proteins, etc., but it can be a great supplement to your diet. There are a few more important things to mention for those interested in diving deeper into the subject.

The bulk of your juice should come from vegetables. This is because although juicing fruit can be incredibly tasty, it has a very high sugar content, and will result in a big glass trouble. It’s important that, if you are going to use fruit, that it be used in moderation and as a way of making the juice more palatable. Lemons, limes, cranberries and fresh ginger are all things you can add in small amounts to make the juice taste great. You don’t want to be consuming huge quantities of sugar, even if it comes naturally from fruit

Using Pesticide-free vegetables. This is also necessary to ensure that what you’re getting is juice and nutrients, instead of a big glass of fungicides, insecticides, and poisons meant to kill living organisms. You are going to be spinning your wheels if you choose to juice a bunch of produce that has been laden with chemicals and shipped from China two weeks ago.

Drink your juice fresh. Since vegetables are highly perishable it’s important to drink your juice immediately. It’s more convenient to make a big batch and store for later, but not as effective and could be mildly dangerous.

Above all, listen to your body. If drinking vegetable juice regularly does not make you feel better or even makes you feel worse, then it’s not for you. We are all individuals, with different genetic make-ups and we’re going to respond to things differently.

From a fighter’s perspective, this is a convenient way to stay healthy. You can even add a scoop of your favorite protein powder to your juice and make a super healthy meal replacement with vitamins, minerals, carbs and protein. Just get it all in at once and forget about it. It can make life a little easier for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time and resources planning their meals.

Juicing is just one of the many tools we have available today to help us to stay healthy and ward-off illness. As a fighter, you have to treat your body as a well oiled machine. And like any machine, it can break down if not cared for properly. Diet is often the major downfall in a fighters preparation, which is a shame because with discipline and vigilance, it’s one of the easiest aspects to control. Juicing is a great option to continually provide yourself with the fundamental nourishment that is needed to perform at your best. And if taken advantage of, could yield some terrific results. Who knows, you may end up with some of the best juice money can buy… legally of course.

Spencer Ward is a Nutritionist with the Acupuncture Center in Overland Park KS.

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