Originally published in November 2003 icon
Which Juicer | What to Juice
Juicing is an integral part of many complementary cancer treatments, with some approaches - like the Gerson Therapy - based completely around hourly vegetable juices. Juicing has also taken off generally as a great addition to the diet of anyone who wants to stay healthy and prevent disease. There are many books available on the subject and juice bars have sprung up in major cities.
So what is the big deal about juice? Well, we know that a healthy diet involves a high proportion of fruit and vegetables. Even the Government is behind that, with its "five portions a day" promotion, generally seen to be a bare minimum, and certainly insufficient for someone with cancer. Juicing is simply the most practical way to optimise your intake of vegetables and fruit to a level that you could not possibly munch your way through. Taking an extreme example, Max Gerson, says in his book, A Cancer Therapy that in a year an average patient on his regime would consume 1800 lbs of carrots; 1300 lbs of apples; 145 heads of red cabbage; 400 lettuces; 125 lbs of green peppers etc. Juicing is the only feasible way to do it!
Juicing delivers a whole range of
Juicing delivers a whole range of nutrients, many of which have a proven healing value in the treatment of cancer. To begin with there are phytochemicals that researchers are only now discovering provide the hard evidence behind what Max Gerson believed fifty years ago. For instance broccoli has been found to contain a substance that can prevent breast cancer; citrus fruits contain substances that help the body remove carcinogens; and other vegetables from carrots to kale are chock full of cancer-preventing phytochemicals.
Chlorophyll, another magical ingredient in green vegetables, has a structure similar to haemoglobin that helps transport oxygen in the blood - and oxygen is the scourge of cancer cells. The darker, leafy green vegetables that contain this are great to juice, but often need an apple or something a little sweeter thrown in to make them palatable. Wheatgrass juice is a great source of chlorophyll.., very fashionable at the moment. It is made from sprouted wheat berries and usually grown in trays. The plants are around 6'- 8" tall, and take just ten days to grow in warm conditions. The cut "grass" needs a special machine for juicing, so if you want to try it, make sure the juicer you buy can handle wheatgrass. Said to be a complete food, wheatgrass is a source of beta-carotene and the B vitamins, plus C, E, H and K and is said to contain 90 different minerals and 19 amino acids. It has "more iron than spinach, more protein than meat, fish, eggs, beans or dairy," according to one supplier. It is a very concentrated substance, and small amounts are recommended, at least at first. A single "shot" of one or two ounces is a good way to start. It is also rather an acquired taste, and benefits from being mixed or "chased" by other, less bitter juices.
Drinking freshly prepared juice means your body gets all the benefit of the natural goodness
Freshly prepared juice is a great source of enzymes, the catalysts in the zillions of chemical reactions that take place in our bodies daily. They are critical for most of our metabolic activities, yet when we cook vegetables they get destroyed by the heat. Drinking freshly prepared juice means your body gets all the benefit of the natural goodness. On top of all this there are the vitamins and minerals delivered to your cells. Carrot juice has large quantities of beta-carotene, for instance, an important compound that the body changes into Vitamin A, important for strengthening the immune system. Beta-carotene is also a potent antioxidant.
Many of the nutrients in vegetables are trapped in the fibres, so, when you eat a carrot, you can only assimilate a tiny percentage of the available beta carotene, but when a carrot is juiced and the fibre removed, nearly all of it can be assimilated. Many people with cancer have a compromised intestine from decades of bad diet, and it is difficult for their bodies to absorb all the nutrients from simply eating vegetables. Juicing does some of the digesting work for you.
Finally, juices contain water - essential for health and healing; most of us don't consume enough of it. We drink coffee, alcohol and fizzy drinks when we get thirsty, but they are diuretics that actually require extra water for our bodies to eliminate them.
Juicers can vary in price from under twenty pounds to well over 1000 for the top of the range Norwalk. For serious juicing you will need something a bit more robust than the ordinary household models.
A good juicer will get almost twice as much juice from your vegetables than an inferior model
Although these are fine for occasional juicing they don't have the power for sustained daily juicing, and are said to only get 20% of the vitamins, minerals and enzymes out of the produce juiced. When making your selection, consider ease of use. If the machine is complicated to dismantle and fiddly to clean then the chances of your using it are reduced. Then there is the question of volume. A good juicer will get almost twice as much juice from your vegetables than an inferior model, and if you are doing daily juicing that can add up to a substantial amount of money.
There is also the issue of operation. All juicers were not created equal in this respect. Some are centrifugal in that they spin and thus introduce oxygen into the juice. This creates oxidation which reduces the nutrition available in the juice. Masticating juicers work by mashing the vegetables on a rotating blade, and these produce a superior juice because there is less oxidation and the enzymes are intact. High juicing therapies like Gerson recommend a masticating juicer.
If you plan to make juicing a regular part of your eating programme, reliability is important. The more expensive machines are guaranteed for up to ten years and are heavy, solid, durable pieces of equipment compared from the more flimsy high street store versions.
The Champion or the Norwalk are recommended by the Gerson organisation. Both have a hydraulic press that squashes the pulp to release the juice, leaving you with a very dry pulp and a high yield of juice.
Once you are equipped with your juicer, then it is simply a question of picking what to juice. Choose organic vegetables and fruit wherever possible, and make sure you wash them well. Don't peel the vegetables (like beetroot or carrot) because a lot of the goodness is in the skin.
It is also recommended that you use ingredients that are local and grown in season - rather than imported. A papaya and mango smoothie might sound wonderful but often these exotic, imported fruits are picked unripe for shipping with a much lower vitamin and enzyme content. Vitamin and minerals accumulate in the fruit in the last five days of ripening.
Carrot and apple is a favourite for people with cancer, although the carrots have a high glycaemic index and therefore can be quite sugar-heavy for those with diabetes or sugar problems. It's delicious, however, and recommended by Chris Woollams in his latest book, The Tree of Life. Max Gerson recommended carrot and apple juice 50 years ago, and now science is proving what a good choice that was. Not only is the beta-carotene a powerful anti-cancer agent, but alpha-carotene has been discovered to be just as effective.
A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health in 2000 involving 124,207 people over ten years discovered that participants who never smoked and who ate the most alpha-carotene had a 63% lower incidence of lung cancer. Retinoic acid has also come under scrutiny in recent times. This is a product of Vitamin A which has been found to reverse the growth-promoting effects of oncogenes, the mutated genetic material that induces cancer.
Research by the University of Minneapolis is now providing evidence why the apple is the perfect partner for the carrot in the fight against cancer. Research by the University of Minneapolis has discovered that the skin of the apple contains quercitin, one of the most powerful antioxidants. Quercitin can inhibit tumour growth and keep cancer cells from spreading.
Did Max Gerson know all that back in the 1950s? Or did he just witness the results that science is now bearing out?
Green juice is the other mainstay of the Gerson approach, and is recommended for everyone as a way of packing in the nutrition. One recipe to try is lettuce (around half a head - not iceberg); a quarter of a green pepper; a chunk of red cabbage; some watercress and parsley and an apple to sweeten it up. This is packed with vitamins and phytochemicals, and a great daily booster. Then there all the "extras" you can add to increase your vitality and boost your body's defences - such as flax oil, fresh seeds ground in a coffee grinder, spirulina, chlorella, ginger or garlic.
Finally, there is the issue of when to drink it. To maximise nutrition it is really best to consume the juice immediately, but if you absolutely have to juice and run, get the best from the juice by limiting the amount of oxygen and light that gets at it - so an airtight vacuum flask can sometimes work (with the juice of a lemon to help preserve it).
For information on purchasing a juicer, check out www.ukjuicers.com