According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, only 1 in 10 Adults in America get enough fruits or vegetables per day.
Juicing is one way to help increase your vegetable intake. We take a look at the most nutritious vegetables to juice along with the best fruits and vegetables to juice together.
Beetroot is a good source of folate, manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C. Beetroots are also low in calories and make a wonderful addition to carrot juice or citrus juices.
You can juice beetroot raw and with the skin on, if desired. Cut off tops of the beetroots before juicing. If leaving the skin on, make sure you wash your beetroots thoroughly before juicing.
Beetroot can be quite potent when juiced and can make your urine and feces pink or red if consumed in large quantities. Keep this in mind if drinking beetroot juice as a part of your juice diet and don’t be surprised if this happens.
Cabbage has a high water content, making it an excellent base for your juice. High in vitamins C and K, cabbage is good for bone health and immune system boosting.
Cabbage has also been linked to improving gut health including stomach ulcers and helping with constipation. You juice cabbage raw, after washing and removing the outer leaves. Cabbage is also very low in calories and can benefit heart health.
Carrots are an excellent choice when you need to add some sweetness to your juice. Full of vitamins A and C carrots are also good for your skin and your immune system. They’re not as high in sugar as oranges and tastes marvelous when combined with ginger.
You can juice carrots with the skins on, or peeled. It is personal preference. Cut the tops and bottoms off the carrots before juicing. If leaving the skins on, make sure you wash your carrots well before juicing.
Celery is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C & Vitamin K as well as potassium and manganese. Eating celery can assist with regulation of blood pressure, brain and nerve function and help with the clotting factors of your blood. Celery is also fat free and low in sugar.
Celery is best juiced raw. Cut off the bottom of the stalks and juice the celery stalks leaves and all. Be sure to wash your celery before you juice it.
Recommended Reading for more benefits of Celery juice:
Cucumbers have a high water content and are regularly used as a base for many vegetable juices. They add a sweetness to your juice and can balance out stronger flavored vegetables. Cucumbers are also a good source of Vitamin A, C and K and like celery, contain potassium and manganese.
Cucumbers should be juiced raw and unpeeled. Cucumbers come in many varieties. All are suitable for juicing, after you wash them first.
Dandelion greens have large amounts of Vitamin K, in fact, one 125ml serving of dandelion greens contains over 500% of the recommended dietary intake of vitamin K.
Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that assists with body with its blood clotting factors, regulating blood calcium levels and bone metabolism.
Dandelion greens are also a good source of vitamin C, iron, vitamins B1 and B2, calcium, magnesium, folacin and potassium.
When buying dandelion greens, look for greens without yellow flowers. Rinse under clean water before juicing and juice the leaves raw.
We all know Kale is a super food and was destined to make this list.
Kale is a thick, chewy, leafy green that you may wonder how on earth you could possibly juice. But with the right juicer, you can extract those B Vitamins, Folate and antioxidants from kale and enjoy the health benefits in a delicious juice.
Kale is often found in green juices and pairs well with cucumber and celery. Kale is also delicious with more tart fruits such as apples and pineapples.
If Kale isn’t readily available or not within your budget to buy, you can replace kale with swiss chard in juices (more about this below). Kale is available in different varieties, all of which are suitable for juicing. Kale also works well in smoothies.
Sweet potato contains more beta-carotene than carrots. This wonderful vitamin converts to vitamin A in the body and is very beneficial for your skin. Sweet potato also helps to regulate blood sugar and the adrenal glands.
We are such big fans of the health benefits of sweet potato we devoted an entire blog post just to this vegetable. You can read it here, along with some yummy sweet potato juice recipes.
It is important to remember however, not to juice grapefruit and sweet potato together. Grapefruit impairs the body’s ability to properly access the Vitamin A from sweet potatoes. It’s fine to eat these foods at separate times, but for the maximum health benefits of sweet potato juice, do not mix it with grapefruit.
Swiss chard is high in magnesium, iron and potassium. It is also an excellent source of beta carotene, antioxidants and will give your vitamin C levels a boost.
Swiss Chard pairs well with apples, pears and lemons or lime juice. Swiss Chard can also be used as a replacement for Kale in juices and tends to yield more juice than kale.
Swiss Chard is available in a variety of colored stalks. Juice the swiss chard raw, including the leaves and stems. As always, make sure you wash your swiss chard well before juicing.
Is it a fruit, or is it a vegetable? Either way, tomatoes probably have more health benefits than you realize.
Like carrots and sweet potatoes, tomatoes are high in beta-carotene. This study, discusses how high consumption of beta-carotene has been linked to the prevention of tumor development in cancer patients.
Interestingly, a more recent study in Vietnam showed that the risk of prostate cancer decreased with an increased intake of lycopene, tomatoes and carrots. Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, which also gives the tomatoes their red color.
Tomatoes have a high water content and are wonderful to juice. Wash tomatoes before juicing and juice raw. There is no need to cook or peel tomatoes before juicing.
Zucchini has a high water content and also makes a great base for vegetable juices. Zucchini is fat free, sugar free, salt free and is a good source of vitamin C.
To juice zucchini, wash the zucchini thoroughly in clean water. Do not peel the zucchini. Many of the nutrients are in the skin and you want to leave the skin on to maximize the health benefits of the zucchini. Cut off the top and bottom of the zucchini before juicing.
Juice the zucchini raw. There is no need to cook zucchini before juicing. When choosing zucchini for juicing, look for smooth glossy skins for the freshest produce. Smaller zucchinis will also have less seeds than larger ones. There are several varieties of zucchini as pictured above. All zucchinis are suitable for juicing.
What are the 5 Groups of Vegetables?
Vegetables are categorized into 5 main groups. They are:
Dark Green Vegetables
As the name suggests, dark green vegetables are those that are green in color. Vegetables in this category include brocolli, kale, swiss chard, spinach, rocket, mustard greens, dark green leafy lettuces, mesclun and romaine lettuce.
Red and Orange Vegetables
Also as the name suggests, red and orange vegetables are those that are primarily red and orange in color. Red and orange vegetables include bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut and acorn squash, red peppers and pumpkin.
Starchy vegetables include white potatoes, corn, parsnips, yams, taro, green peas and water chestnuts. You will usually not find juice recipes that include starchy vegetables either because they cannot be juiced or do not contain as many health benefits as non starchy vegetables, leafy green vegetables or other vegetables.
Please note white potato cannot be eaten raw and must never be juiced.
There is a long list of vegetables that fall into the other category. The most common are artichoke, beetroot, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, iceberg lettuce, green peppers, celery, cucumber (also can be considered a fruit), zucchini, red cabbage, radish and turnips.
Green peppers, beetroot, celery, cucumber, zucchini and cabbage are excellent choices for juices.
Beans and Peas
Legumes, such as beans and peas are included in the vegetable group due to their high nutrient content. This is the mature form of the legume however, not the common green bean, green lima beans or green peas.
Foods that fall into the Beans and Peas vegetable group are black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, split peas and lentils. These foods are available dried, canned or frozen.
Foods in the Beans and Peas category are generally not juiced.
When is the Best Time to Drink Vegetable Juice?
Many health experts suggest drinking vegetable juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, for maximum absorption of the nutrients.
We also suggest enjoying fresh vegetable juice whenever you feel like it, but more importantly, enjoy the juice straight away after you have made it.
Fresh juices can be stored in the fridge for 24 to 72 hours post juicing, however, the longer you leave the juice, the less health benefits it has. Leaving juices to sit for long periods of time can cause oxidation to occur, destroying beneficial nutrients in the juice.
Whenever you choose to juice vegetables, make sure you drink the vegetable juice straight away.