What exactly is in some of the common fruit and vegetables we eat and juice? What are their benefits? Read on!
APPLES have a high mineral and vitamin content: iron, calcium, potassium, silicon and phosphorus; vitamins A, B complex, and C. Apples stimulate appetite, soothe the intestines and reduce constipation. They also cleanse the liver and gallbladder (softening gallstones), help with nausea, improve the flora in the colon and inhibit the growth of disease-producing bacteria in the digestive tract. All varieties of apples have the same healing properties. Great to juice or eat raw.
APRICOTS contain potassium, iron, cobalt, vitamin A (carotene) and B12. They are easy to digest when fully ripened. Apricots can be juiced (but add water as the juice is very thick) or added to smoothies.
ARTICHOKE (GLOBE) is beneficial to the liver and gall bladder. It contains manganese, phosphorus, iron, zinc and vitamins A, B complex and C. It also contains inulin – a carbohydrate that can be eaten safely by diabetics. Lightly steam or grate and add to salads. Not suitable for juicing or smoothies.
ASPARAGUS contains vitamins A, C and B complex and the minerals iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and chlorophyll. Asparagus helps with liver function, breaks up oxalic acid crystals in the kidneys and enhances the action of the urinary tract. It promotes normal bowel function and helps with constipation and diarrhoea. A few stalks can be added to your vegetable juice, but if you prefer just steam them lightly and add to salads.
Note: too much asparagus can irritate the urinary tract if you have kidney problems – eat with moderation!
AVOCADOS are best used in smoothies or eaten raw. They are regarded as a complete food because of their vitamin and mineral content and are easily digested. They contain iron, copper, sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, vitamins B complex, C, E, amino acids and folic acid.
BANANAS are very nutritious, rich in fibre and easily digested. They contain the minerals calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and vitamins A, B complex and C. Best eaten raw when they have fully ripened: look for some brown specks on the skin to indicate ripeness. Bananas aren’t suitable for juicing, so should only be added to smoothies.
BEANS (GREEN) contain vitamins A, B complex, C, pectin, potassium and chlorophyll. A cup of beans daily has been found to assist with the regulation of insulin. Juice a handful, eat raw or lightly steam.
BEETROOT is a blood builder and tonic, particularly beneficial to the liver. Contains magnesium, manganese, sodium, potassium and vitamins A, B complex and C. It is easily digested and may be grated and eaten raw, steamed, baked or juiced (not suitable for smoothies).
Note: avoid consuming large amounts of beetroot juice at once, as it is very concentrated. Juice a small amount with other vegetables such as cucumber, carrot or celery and always add plenty of water.
BITTER MELON is a green, cucumber shaped vegetable, mostly used in Asian cuisine and in Chinese Medicine. Scientists have discovered it holds an important key in the treatment of type II diabetes. A small amount may be juiced and added to other vegetable juices such as celery, carrot or apple. We have written about these findings in A tonne of bitter melon produces sweet results for diabetes.
BLACKBERRIES contain iron, natural sugars and oils, pectin, vitamin A, C, and E, potassium, calcium, iron and malic acid. They are a highly nutritious food due to their iron and vitamin content. May be added to smoothies, juiced or eaten raw.
BLUEBERRIES contain potassium, and calcium, vitamins B, C and beta-carotene. Blueberries are a great blood cleanser and may be juiced with other fruits, added to smoothies or eaten raw.
BROCCOLI has a high sulphur content, also contains potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, chlorophyll and vitamins A, B, C, E and K. May be juiced, lightly steamed or broken into small pieces and added to salads. This vegetable is reported to have many health and healing properties, particularly when juiced (if you are brave enough) – other vegetables such as carrot, cucumber or celery may be added to make it more palatable.
CABBAGE juice is beneficial in eliminating waste products from the body and helps soothe stomach ulcers due to its vitamin U content. Contains minerals, chlorine, potassium, sodium, iron and vitamins A, B, C, U and K. May be juiced alone or added to other vegetables. If you have an ulcer or digestive problems, 1/2 a cup of cabbage juice (with added water) before every meal for a few weeks may provide some relief.
CARROT is an anti-oxidant and general cleanser. Contains many minerals including iron, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and sulphur, also vitamins A, B and C. Excellent as a juice or eaten raw.
CAULIFLOWER is an excellent blood purifier and considered useful in supporting the urinary tract. It may be broken into small pieces and added to salads or lightly steamed – not suitable for juices or smoothies. Contains potassium, iron, sulphur, zinc, calcium and phosphorus, also vitamins A, B and C.
CELERY is a highly alkaline food and very cleansing to the body. Contains potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium and phosphorus and the vitamins A, B complex and C. Great juiced alone or added to other vegetables such as carrot and cucumber.
CITRUS FRUIT such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits contain high levels of vitamin C making them a valuable antioxidant. They also contain magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and sodium. Juice them with the rind on. Lemons also contain high levels of vitamins C and bioflavonoids, iron, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Citrus fruit are a powerful blood purifier and liver cleanser. Drink a glass of diluted lemon juice first thing in the morning to cleanse the liver (sip slowly!). Lemon juice also relieves sore throats and helps when you feel a cold coming on.
CORIANDER helps lower high cholesterol levels, soothes mouth ulcers, assists with digestion, skin problems and blood sugar balance. Coriander seeds contain an array of phytonutrients and are an excellent source of dietary fibre and iron, magnesium and manganese. Put a few stalks through your juicer and add to other vegetable juices.
CRANBERRY contains minerals magnesium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, sodium, potassium and sulphur. Highly regarded for its antiseptic properties in healing urinary tract infections. As cranberries are not always readily available in Australia, look for an organic juice without any artificial colours, sugar or flavourings.
CUCUMBER is regarded as a diuretic and eliminator of uric acid. It contains potassium, silicon, sulphur, phosphorus, calcium and manganese and vitamins A, B complex and C. May be juiced alone or added to other vegetable combinations. Great for the skin, hair and nails as well and very cooling in summer.
DANDELION contains iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, calcium, silica and sodium. It is beneficial as a blood and liver cleanser and a digestive aid. The fresh leaves can be juiced and added to other vegetables, eaten raw, added to salads or lightly steamed. Dandelion tea can be made from the root or leaves – steep these in hot water for a few minutes and drink. This tea is a popular coffee substitute – and it tastes great with nut milk!
FENNEL can be used as a digestive aid as it stimulates the flow of bile. Juice can be extracted from the leaves and added to other vegetable juices. You can also blend the leaves at high speed with olive oil and leave to infuse overnight to make a fragrant fennel oil. The bulb can be shredded and added to salads, lightly steamed or cut into pieces and baked.
FIGS are a highly alkaline and nutritious fruit. Best eaten raw or added to smoothies (they’re not suitable for juicing). They contain iron, sodium potassium, calcium and manganese, also vitamins A, B complex and C.
GARLIC contains the minerals magnesium, potassium, chromium, iron, selenium, zinc, sulphur and vitamins A, B1 and C. Garlic will help rid the body of excess mucous and enhance the immune system. Generally garlic is too strong to add to juices, so steam lightly or add to soups, casseroles or bake whole cloves in the oven. Aioli is also a convenient way to eat garlic: it goes wonderfully well with steamed or roasted vegetables.
GRAPES assist in the elimination of acid from the body and support liver function. They are regarded as a powerful antioxidant: they contain iron, calcium and vitamin C. Eat raw or juice.
KALE is a great source of chlorophyll, calcium, iron and vitamin A. A few leaves can be added to other vegetables juices to benefit the stomach and digestive system.
KIWI FRUIT is high in fibre and vitamin C, E and potassium. May be juiced when peeled (although it does not yield much juice). Or add to other fruit to juice, such as apple, cranberry or orange. It also works well blended with pawpaw or peaches, and a little orange juice for a thicker concoction!
LETTUCE is one of the best sources of iron and chlorophyll. It also contains the minerals magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iodine, sulphur and zinc, along with vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E. Eat raw or juice with other vegetables. Do not cook as it loses its mineral content.
MANGO contains calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus, also vitamins B, C and beta-carotene. It helps with digestion and soothes the intestines. Eat raw or add to a smoothie.
PARSLEY is a blood builder and cleanser. High in chlorophyll, it contains enzymes and the minerals iodine, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, phosphorus. Also vitamins A, B complex and C. Eat raw or juice a couple of sprigs with other vegetable juices. You can also make parsley tea by steeping a few sprigs in hot water for a few minutes.
PAWPAW contains the enzyme papain which assists in digesting animal proteins. Contains the minerals sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamins A, C and beta-carotene. Eat raw or juice with other fruits.
PEACHES contain the minerals magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron and phosphorus and vitamins B, C and beta-carotene. Eat raw or add to smoothies.
PEARS are helpful to those suffering digestive problems such as constipation and contain the minerals magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorous and vitamins B and C. Eat raw, add to fruit salads, lightly steam or juice. Pears also work well with other fruits in smoothies.
PERSIMMONS tonify the spleen and pancreas. Juice a small amount and add to other fruit such as pineapple, peaches, strawberries, pawpaw.
PINEAPPLE contains the enzyme bromelain, a powerful digestive aid. Also contains the minerals iron, calcium, sulphur, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iodine and vitamins A, B complex and C. Must be eaten when ripe and fresh. Eat raw, add to fruit salads or juice with pawpaw for a powerful enzyme-packed drink.
POMEGRANATES help destroy worms in the intestinal track. They strengthens gums and soothe ulcers in the mouth and throat. They are rich in antioxidants and can keep bad cholesterol from oxidising. Eat the seeds raw or juice a small amount or the seeds and drink a few times a day. Organic pomegranate juice is available in most health food stores in Australia. We have written about the health benefits of pomegranates and their powerful nutrients.
POTATO juiced with the skin left on is soothing to an acid stomach and may be grated with raw apple to relieve the symptoms of nausea. Serve steamed or baked — always leave the skin on as it contains many nutrients, and its protein content is found in a layer immediately under the skin Potatoes contain the minerals iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese and sulphur and vitamins A, B complex, C, and D. If you suffer from acid reflux after a meal, juice an organic potato (scrub to remove the dirt and leave the skin on), add the same amount of water and sip slowly. This will quickly relieve the burning sensation and discomfort.
PRUNES help relieve constipation and reduce gas. They are difficult to juice but there are many good organic ready-made juices available. A few prunes may be added to a breakfast fruit salad. They contain the minerals potassium, calcium, iron and phosphorus and vitamins B, C and beta-carotene.
PUMPKIN is high in vitamin A and contains the minerals silicon, potassium iron, chlorine and sulphur. Pumpkin helps balance blood sugar. Steam or bake pumpkin with the skin on ,or juice a small amount and add to other vegetables such as celery, cucumber or cabbage. Not suitable for smoothies.
RADISHES are an excellent liver cleanser. There are several varieties of radish – daikon, red, white or chinese radish. Daikon is a powerful liver cleanser but only small amounts should be juiced and added to other vegetables. All the varieties may be eaten raw.
SPINACH is high in iron and contains other minerals such as calcium, potassium, iodine and sulphur and vitamins A, B, C, K, folic acid and beta-carotene. High in chlorophyll, it builds blood and the vitamin A content helps in the treatment of night blindness. It may be juiced and added to other vegetable combinations, lightly steamed (no more than one minute) or added raw to salads.
STRAWBERRIES may be eaten before a meal to help with poor digestion. They contain vitamins B, C and beta-carotene and the minerals calcium, potassium and iron. Eat raw or juice with other fruits. Works well in smoothies too!
TOMATOES cleanse the liver and purify the bloodstream. Contain vitamins B, C, K and a carotene called Lycopene. May be juiced alone or added to other vegetable juices.
WATERMELON is beneficial in summer to cool the body and reduce thirst. Contains the minerals potassium, calcium, iron and vitamins B, C and beta-carotene. Other melons like green melon and cantaloupe can also be juiced, but remember to add water as they make a thicker juice.
Now you can enjoy delicious juices or smoothies, and revel in the knowledge of how good they are for you!