What happens to your body when you drink juice?
There is no denying that drinking homemade juice made from 100% fresh fruits and vegetables can be life-changing. But what really happens to our body when we drink juice?
Juicing comes with many health benefits, especially when combined with a plant-based lifestyle. Juicing can help increase our intake of fruits and vegetables. These are fundamental foods that provide our body with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
To understand what happens to our body when you drink juice, first, we’ll take a quick look at how the body processes what we consume.
How do we digest food?
When we eat food, digestion starts taking place. Digestion is the process by which our body breaks down the food to extract the nutrients it needs for growth, cell repair and energy.
Digestion actually starts in the mouth. Chewing starts breaking down the food, while the salivary glands produce saliva, which contains enzymes that begin breaking down the carbohydrates (or sugar and starches).
The mucus lubricates the food and gets it ready to be swallowed. Once swallowed, the food moves down to the stomach where protein digestion starts. The acids in our stomach continue to break down the food further.
The digested food makes its way to the small intestine where more break down of carbohydrates, protein and starches take place. The small intestine absorbs most of the nutrients pushing them into our bloodstream. Our blood then delivers the nutrients to our organs and cells of the body.
During the digestive process, the liver breaks down fat while the pancreas helps with the breakdown of fats, protein and carbohydrates.
Lastly comes the elimination process that gets rid of waste and toxins through the rectum.
How is juice digested?
Juicing takes away some of the digestion processes since it contains no solids for the body to break down. Basically, the juicing machine does the chewing for you.
This means that when you drink fresh juice (fruits and vegetables in liquid form), the absorption of nutrients happens very quickly.
A few minutes after drinking the juice, our body is hit with a myriad of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These nutrients have specific purposes and are essential for a healthy body.
The healthiest juices are the ones made mostly out of vegetables. Fruits should be used sparingly to help with the taste. Aim for packing in lots of vegetables, and add just a little bit of fruit for the sweetness. The reason I’m saying this is because most fruits are high in sugars.
Whole fruits are packed with fibre. This fibre increases the digestion time, slowing down the release and absorption of the sugars by the body. But when the fruit is juiced, the insoluble fibre is discarded, and the sugars are absorbed more rapidly.
Too much fruit juice will cause a spike in blood sugar levels, and the pancreas will need to produce insulin to stabilize the blood sugar levels. Over time, the pancreas could get worn out and not produce enough insulin, eventually leading to type 2 diabetes.
Saturated fat, mostly found in animal products, hinders the absorption of blood sugars by the muscles. This leaves sugar in the blood, which our pancreas tries to adjust by producing more insulin. This could lead to insulin resistance, that can cause type 2 diabetes and other health complications.
That’s why a healthy diet, with little or no animal products, is the preferred diet combined with juicing for a boost in nutrients.
Which is the best juice?
The ideal juice is made with mostly vegetables, especially loads of dark leafy greens like kale and spinach. Add just a small amount of fruit for taste and extra vitamins. Spices like ginger and turmeric should be added as they are packed with health benefits.
Juicing the right ingredients will give you a nice energy boost, without the highs and lows of too many sugars. But more importantly, it will replenish your body with precious vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
What are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds that our bodies need to sustain life and growth. Without them, our bodies cannot function properly. Our bodies are not able to create most of the vitamins, so we need to get them from the foods we eat and a healthy diet. Not getting enough vitamins will result in different types of vitamin deficiency-related diseases.
There are thirteen known types of vitamins, and each one of them serves different purposes for our bodies.
What are minerals?
Just like vitamins, minerals are also crucial for the proper functioning of our bodies. Minerals are solid substances found mostly in water, rocks and soil, but they can also be found in small quantities in the foods we eat. Some examples of essential minerals are calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and zinc.
Minerals are split into two categories; the macrominerals and trace minerals. The macrominerals are needed in the body in relatively large quantities, whereas trace minerals are required in small amounts. Both categories are vital for the building of bones, formation of red blood cells, proper function of muscles and nervous system, to name a few.
So minerals are essential for a healthy body.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are compounds that combat free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules produced in our bodies as a result of the foods we eat or pollution of the environment we live in. The amount of antioxidants in our body needs to outnumber the free radicals to maintain a healthy body. Free radicals cause cell deterioration, various illnesses like cancer, and they speed up our natural ageing process.
Our bodies and proper nutrition create antioxidants to ward off toxic free radicals.
Our bodies depend on vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for proper health, growth, strength and cell repair. These nutrients are found mainly in plants. About 90% of Americans today do not reach the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables.
So drinking 100% fresh juice is a great way to help the body absorb quickly and restock these nutrients.