Eating vegetables lowers your risk for heart disease and certain types of cancers. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t eat enough vegetables to take advantage of these benefits. Juicing your vegetables may be a viable way to get in the amount recommended to stave off chronic disease. It does, however, have disadvantages when compared to eating your vegetables whole.
Benefits of Vegetables
In addition to being low in fat and calories, vegetables are rich sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Carrots and sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, which is important for normal vision and immune function. Vitamin C, an antioxidant, protects your body from the damage of free radicals. Red peppers and broccoli are good sources. Potassium-rich foods, such as beet greens and spinach, help maintain normal blood pressure and healthy bones. The fiber found in vegetables helps to prevent constipation and lowers your risk for heart disease and colorectal cancer, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the World Cancer Research Fund.
The amount of vegetables you should eat every day depends on your age, gender and physical activity habits, according to the USDA. For women over 19 years old, aim for 2 ½ cups of vegetables daily. If you engage in more than 30 minutes of physical activity a day, you may be able to fit in more vegetables without overshooting calorie recommendations.
Benefits of Juicing Your Vegetables
If you are not getting in the recommended servings of vegetables daily, juicing them provides a quick and easy way to increase your intake. Freshly extracted vegetable juice provides the same vitamins and minerals that whole vegetables contain. You may actually get more of these nutrients by consuming the juice. For example, you likely would not eat 2 ½ cups of whole vegetables in one sitting. You can, however, drink the juice extracted from 2 ½ cups of whole vegetables rather quickly. Unlike with whole veggies, you can add small amounts of fruit and other foods to your vegetable juice to improve the flavor. If you don’t like vegetables, creative juice recipes may be the only way you get them in.
Drawbacks of Juicing Your Vegetables
Drinking your vegetables as juice instead of eating them whole may allow you to consume more calories without realizing it. Chewing your food stimulates digestive enzymes and expands your stomach, making you feel full and less likely to take in excess calories, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Juicing your vegetables separates the fiber from the resulting juice. Unless you consume the remaining fibrous material, or pulp, you're missing out on this valuable nutrient.
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center: Potassium
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center: Vitamin A
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center: Vitamin C
- U.S. Department of Agriculture ChooseMyPlate.gov: Why Is it Important to Eat Vegetables?
- World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research: Colorectal Cancer Report 2010 Summary
- U.S. Department of Agriculture ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Many Vegetables are Needed Daily or Weekly?
Amy Long Carrera is a registered dietitian in Los Angeles who has been writing since 2007 for such publications as The Insider, On the Other Side and Arthritis Today. She is a certified nutrition support clinician and her writing employs current research to provide evidence-based nutrition information. Carrera holds a master of science degree in nutrition from California State University, Northridge.