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Juicy Secrets

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Adding fresh juices to your diet is a delicious adventure

Adding fresh juices to your diet is a delicious adventure. Youthful skin and a healthy body go together! Beauty and fitness both begin on the inside.

Thousands of enzymes have been discovered in the human body. They're required by every cell and determine everything from muscle contractions and nerve conduction to skin repair and the excretion of toxins. Without enzymes, there is no digestion or assimilation of nutrients from food.

Metabolic enzymes are produced from the endocrine glands using the food we eat as raw material. They build, repair and maintain the functions of every organ, tissue and cell. Our quality of health and our appearance depend on these enzymatic actions. They help keep us fit and beautiful! Even breathing requires special enzymes that convert oxygen and nitrogen into different usable substances and to exchange carbon dioxide.

Enzymes found in food only work if they're "live" and if correct minerals and vitamins are also present. Cooked and processed foods lose their natural enzyme content and the body has to supply all the enzymes for digestion. Eventually, this depletes our body's supply.

Dr Edward Howell, enzyme researcher and author of Enzyme Nutrition, explains that "with heavy withdrawals of enzymes needed to digest an almost all-cooked diet, it's not hard to see how we would become metabolically enzyme-poor. Heavy withdrawals and skimpy deposits of enzymes lead to eventual bankruptcy."

There's no better way to obtain these nutrients together than by consuming live (uncooked) plant foods and fresh juices. Consuming fresh, raw fruit and vegetable juices on their own are great for the energy demands of everyday and sports activities. Taken with meals, they help digest our foods. By reducing the amount of labour the body must perform for digestion, we liberate extra energy for our cells and everything they do. Live juices conserve our internal enzyme supply but pasteurized fruit juices don't have any enzymes and deplete ours.

Carrot Quota

Few of us consume our quota of two fruit and three vegetable servings each day and few of us eat five carrots at one sitting. However, we could drink the enzyme equivalent in a 454 millilitre (16-ounce) glass of carrot juice!

Juices are assimilated in minutes for instant energy and cell regeneration. Made with or without pulp in juicers and blenders, they provide a concentrated combination of live enzymes, minerals, vitamins and the antioxidant flavonoids, carotenoids, phytochemicals, polyphenols, chlorophyll and more. They're also one of the finest ways to supply your body with water, which makes up between 45 and 65 percent of adult body weight.

A 454 ml glass of carrot juice contains five grams of protein, a respectable 35 milligrams of vitamin C and 100,000 IU of beta-carotene carotenoid, a non-toxic vitamin A precursor only converted into the vitamin as needed.

There are 500 or more carotenoids in food plants, especially dark green and orange ones like kale, dandelion, spinach, yellow squashes, yams, carrots and apricots. Research shows carotenoid levels in tissues are critical in determining life span. Skin that is dry, rough, scaly, pimpled or bumpy will benefit from carotenes. Carrot juice gives the skin a satiny look.

Cleanse the Kidneys, Clear the Skin

Other flavonoids or plant pigments are powerful antioxidants essential in holding tissues together. They include the red to blue colours of blueberries, blackberries, cherries, grapes, hawthorne and other berries. Broken capillaries (bruises) or reddish spots benefit from the bioflavonoids in the white inner rind of grapefruit, orange and green pepper. They strengthen the blood vessel walls. Anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins come from the flavonoids found in fruit skin and are loaded with "vitamin P."

As the skin goes, so go the kidneys. Carrots, cucumbers and beets cleanse the kidneys. Juice from the beet root and leaf is high in usable iron and is one of the best juices to build blood count quickly and give the complexion a fresh, childlike, natural glow.

B vitamins support the demands of both exercise and beauty. Nutritional yeast and leafy greens are good natural sources of these vitamins to add to juices. Green foods supplements are rich in these as well as other nutrients, including beta-carotene, protein and chlorphyll, which activates enzymes. It deodorizes, too!

Deterioration of the skin and collagen from poor nutrition is almost identical to that from aging. It's partly a lack of vitamin C. Juice green peppers, parsley, watercress, kiwi, oranges, cabbage, grapefruit, spinach and rose hips to get this vitamin fast.

Phytochemicals are more recently discovered plant antioxidants and may play a role in protecting plants (and us!) from too much sunlight. Some are sulphur compounds, found in cabbage family vegetables and garlic among others. They're good cancer-fighters and help skin and hair thrive. Tomatoes have an estimated 10,000 phytochemicals.

When you juice, it's wise to use a variety of plant sources, including garlic. This will ensure a balance of the energizing and externally beneficial nutrients while avoiding excess sugars, as may occur with carrot and fruit juices alone.

If you add water, avoid fluoridated sources found in cities like Calgary and Toronto. Even one part per million causes a breakdown of collagen, the main protein building block of the body and skin.

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