The Biggest Mistake You're Making with Your Juice

Juicing has swept the world as a viable means of boosting health, extending life and just plain making mornings more delicious. But many people, in their pursuit of greater health, are working against themselves by making a simple mistake: buying low-quality ingredients.

Buying underripe or wilted produce, buying produce from far away and prioritizing superficial labels over actual nutritional value are all errors in judging the worth of produce. Because plain and simple, some are worth more than others.

For instance, the debate about whether or not organic ingredients actually contain more nutritive value has been raging for decades. Increasingly, research points to yes. A recent meta-study indicates that organically grown crops have fewer residual pesticides and higher concentrations of antioxidants. (1)

That’s not to say all your ingredients need to be organic. In fact, there’s evidence that buying local is a good idea, beyond the obvious environmental benefits. That’s because even if a piece of produce isn’t organic, there’s less time for produce to lose its nutrient value on long trips. Plus, it’s more likely the fruit or veggie will be picked at its peak ripeness and sit in packaging if it comes from a nearby farm. (2) So in many cases, buying conventional but not organic ingredients is a better idea, which is why it's good to buy from a local juice supplier. Even if your ingredients come from further away, this is often worth it if they're grow to peak ripeness and shipped in ideal conditions, so that when they're juiced fresh and maintain all the nutrients and enzymes  

When picking your produce – or juices where all the work has been done for you – look for fruits and vegetables with high nutritional value. Organic is great, but local is very important too. Don’t buy underripe produce, even if a recipe calls for it, because immature fruit hasn’t developed a lot of the nutrients that lead to health benefits. So next time you pull out your juicer or head to the health-food store, keep these tips in mind.

(1) Barański M, et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. Br J Nutr. 2014;112(5):794-811. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24968103. 8.18.2017.

(3) “Is Local More Nutritious?” It Depends. The Center for Health and the Global Environment. http://www.chgeharvard.org/sites/default/files/resources/local_nutrition.pdf. 8.18.2017.

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