All about juicing

Even before the workshop started, a 47-year-old participant lamented: “I started juicing after reading the health benefits online, but later, I was told that the juices have high sugar content and are a bad idea. Now I’m really confused.”

She was not the only one who had heard such conflicting messages.

While juicing is a simple process of extracting liquids from ingredients and separating pulp from liquids, best practices to maximise juicing benefits are an inexact science.

At a workshop held at Mount Elizabeth Hospital on 16 May, accredited nutritionist Ms Pauline Sim spoke to an audience of about 50 people on the nutritional facts behind juicing.

Refuting trendy juice-based diets that had claimed to “detox” one’s body, Ms Sim warned that juices should only play a supplementary role.

Juices do not have much fibre which play an important role in keeping regular bowel habit.  Also, most fruits and vegetable juices lack many important nutrients such as proteins, calcium and iron.

Ms Sim added: “Juices are a great way to get nutrients into your body especially for fussy eaters who don’t consume a healthy and balanced diet.”

Juices are also a good source of nutrients for those who have issues swallowing solid foods or are on cancer treatment needing extra nutrients.

During the two-hour workshop organised by CanHOPE, Ms Sim also shared juicing techniques and the pros and cons of various machine types.

While the common and affordable centrifugal blenders might be easily found in electrical stores, she pointed out how such machines would release high amounts of heat during the juicing process, destroying heat-sensitive nutrients.

Also, these machines would incorporate large amounts of air during the juicing process, leading to premature oxidisation even before juices are ready for consumption.

Other juicing machines employing masticating and triturating techniques retain nutrients better in juices but they are generally slower and more expensive.

For those who are looking to make a personal cup of juice at home, Ms Sim recommended manual “cold presses” – a technique where fruits are placed on a sharp porous tip before being pressed, allowing juices to pool in a container below.

This way, nutrients would be better retained due to the lack of friction or heat in the process. Also, some pulp would be retained in the resulting juice, adding to fibre intake. The storage of juices was also discussed during the workshop.

Touching on the topic of the handling of ingredients, the crowd bursts into a lively discussion on how best to clean ingredients before tossing them into juicing machines, sharing many do-it-yourself techniques such as using salt to scrub pesticides off fruits and vegetables.

Parkway Cancer Centre’s Dietitian, Ms Chloe Ong, was also present to answer questions about cancer nutrition raised by the participants.

Wrapping up, Ms Sim summarised saying: “While juicing can be beneficial for cancer patients, an all-juice diet is not nutritionally complete. It is best paired with an overall balanced diet.”

By Kelvin Zhuang & Gary Goh

POSTED IN Nutrition
TAGS cancer diet & nutrition, healthy food & cooking, seminar & workshop