If you're trying to get healthy, the best option is to eat more fruits and vegetables. However, getting more nutritious ingredients into your diet can be a pretty big hassle, particularly if you don't have a ton of time to prep and cook your food. Fortunately, juicing is a quick and easy way to incorporate fruits and veggies, but where do you start?
One option is to use high-quality recipes and recommendations from top health professionals. If you've ever paid attention to daytime TV in the past 15 years or so, you should be familiar with the name Dr. Oz. He has tons of ideas on how to get healthy, and one of them is the ultimate green juice (or smoothie) recipe.
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So, we decided to take a closer look at what's in this recipe and what it can do for your body. Here's what we discovered.
Who is Dr. Oz?
Doctor Mehmet Oz is one of the most prolific medical personnel in the world. Since getting his start as a celebrity on Oprah, he has become a widespread conduit for all things health-related. But, unlike Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz actually has a medical degree and practices medicine at New York Presbyterian - Columbia Medical Center.
Dr. Oz's specialty is cardiology, but his show has tackled a wide array of health-related issues, from gut bacteria to weight loss to dieting. With such a renowned pedigree, it's no wonder that he's developed a green juice recipe. In case his doctorate and TV shows aren't enough of a resume, he also has nine Emmy awards.
What is Juicing?
If you're not involved in the world of juicing, it may seem a bit complicated. However, all it takes to become a certified juicer is an electric juicing machine and a passion for healthy foods.
Technically speaking, you don't need an electric juicer, but it really helps. You can choose from three kinds: centrifugal, masticating, and triturating. If you're in a hurry, a centrifugal juicer works similarly to a blender. However, it doesn't have as high of a yield, so you can leave a lot of wet pulp on the table (literally, depending on how much of a hurry you're in).
Masticating juicers can extract more liquid from your ingredients, particularly if you're working with leafy greens. Spoiler alert: Dr Oz's green juice recipe uses spinach, so it might help to have a masticating juicer on hand.
If you really want to become the ultimate juice master, we recommend a triturating juicer. The only difference between this type and a masticating model is that it uses two gears instead of one (and costs more as well).
Another point to consider is juice cleansing and detox diets. Green drinks like this one are often touted as miracle cures, but no juice cleanse can undo years of unhealthy eating. Overall, green juice is an easy way to add more nutrients to your diet, but don't expect any magic elixirs.
Dr Oz's Green Juice Recipe
Before we dive into the various health benefits you can get from this green drink, let's give you the full recipe upfront. One thing to point out about this recipe is that it is designed for women experiencing perimenopause, which is when their bodies start transitioning into menopause. This juice is supposed to help with fatigue and other symptoms related to the condition. However, everyone can benefit from this green juice recipe because it's so healthy.
Dr Oz's Green Drink
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 bunch parsley
- 2 medium apples quartered
- 3 stalks of celery
- 1 cucumber peeled
- 1 inch piece of ginger root
- ½ lemon peeled
- ½ lime peeled
- Just extract all the liquid from each food and mix everything together. For juicing, you will need to slice or chop each fruit and vegetable beforehand. Otherwise, it's much harder to get a substantial juice yield. Some ingredients like ginger and spinach will be a challenge, particularly if you use a centrifugal juicer. However, you can just add a few extra pieces to ensure that you get enough liquid.
Juicing or Smoothie - Which is Better?
Another thing to point out about this recipe is that it's actually a green smoothie, not green juice. If you're unfamiliar with the primary differences between these two options, let us illuminate you.
- Machinery - If you don't have a juicer but have a blender instead, making this into a smoothie is much easier. Also, vice versa if you have a juicer and no blender. If you're not sure about becoming a juicing fanatic, you may not want to invest in a whole new machine.
- Dietary Fiber - The most significant difference between blending and juicing is the lack of fiber in natural cold-pressed juice. Since you're left with a lot of pulp afterward, you're not absorbing as much fiber as you would in a smoothie. As we'll see later on, dietary fiber is kind of a big deal. That said, you can reuse the pulp in different ways, or you can just toss it into your beverage.
- Cleanup - Since everything gets mixed together in a blender, you only have to wash out the pitcher afterward. In a juicer, even if you reuse the pulp, the cleanup process is a bit more involved.
Overall, choose the best method that works for your needs. As long as you follow the recipe and drink your fresh fruits and veggies, that's what matters.
Why is Dr Oz's Green Juice Recipe So Healthy?
Green juice (or green smoothies) are some of the best nutrient-dense beverages available. While fresh fruit juice may be more appealing because of its sugar content, green juice can yield far more health benefits. Let's break down this recipe, ingredient by ingredient, to see why it's so valuable for your body.
Spinach and Other Leafy Greens
If Popeye is to be believed, a hefty dose of spinach is enough to turn even the meekest man into a titanic fighting machine. While these cartoons are pretty hyperbolic, they illustrate at least some of the power of spinach (and other leafy greens like kale).
Two components make spinach so healthy - iron and flavonoids. In case you weren't aware, iron is necessary for your blood to carry oxygen to your lungs and other organs. So, without iron, you could experience a wide array of health problems (most notably anemia). Since leafy greens are full of iron, they can help your blood work more efficiently.
Flavonoids are also highly potent because they act as anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. If you were wondering, oxidants (aka free radicals) can make it more likely for your body to develop cancer cells. So, more antioxidants in your system can help prevent cancer from developing.
On top of flavonoids and iron, spinach is also high in vitamins C, E, and A. Overall, getting enough vitamins is necessary for all of your bodily functions, so every bit you can get helps.
For many years, parsley was always seen as a garnish, not an essential ingredient. However, salad bars and buffets of yore had it all wrong - parsley is actually kind of a superfood. First of all, it's low in calories and high in fiber (relatively speaking), meaning that you can eat fistfuls of the stuff and feel somewhat full.
Parsley is also bursting with vitamins A, C, and K. In fact, ½ cup of chopped parsley has over five times the amount of vitamin K you need in a day. Vitamin K helps regulate your blood and bone health, so it's kind of important.
Since parsley is a leafy green, it also has flavonoids and antioxidants. The vegetable also contains carotenoids, which help reduce the risk of various diseases. If you want to lower your chances of eye disease and cancer, you should pay attention to your carotenoid intake.
As we all know, an apple a day can keep the doctor away. However, this isn't just a clever rhyme developed by Big Apple to sell more Granny Smiths and Red Delicious varieties. Apples are probably one of the healthiest fruits you can eat for these reasons:
- Dietary Fiber - As we mentioned, fiber is a pretty big deal. Unfortunately, you remove a lot of the fiber from apples when you juice them, which is why we highly recommend reusing the pulp somehow (pro tip: it works great for muffins and other baked goods). Fiber helps regulate your blood sugar and digestion, so adding more of it to your diet can go a long way.
- Phytochemicals - More research is being done on this ingredient, but early evidence suggests that phytochemicals are pretty powerful. As with flavonoids and antioxidants, they can help prevent various diseases like cancer. Most of the phytochemicals you can find in apples are contained in the skin. So, try to incorporate that as much as possible when juicing.
- Vitamin C - You should be aware that vitamin C helps boost your immune system. The vitamin is a highly potent antioxidant, which repels free radicals so that they don't damage your cells. While oranges and other citrus fruits have more vitamin C, apples have quite a bit as well.
Although celery is mostly water, it's packed pretty full of other nutrients as well. Also, since hydration is such an integral part of your overall health, getting more water in your diet is always a good thing.
Beyond hydrating your organs and skin, celery juice can help with cardiovascular health. The vegetable aids your heart in a couple of different ways. First, it can help relax your arteries, making it easier for blood to flow through your body. Second, it contains potassium and magnesium.
Potassium is vital because it can counteract the effects of eating too much salt. As you may be aware, a high salt intake can cause increased blood pressure as your body tries to flush it out of your system. So, eating potassium can make it easier to rinse that salt, putting less of a strain on your heart.
As with celery, cucumbers are fresh and hydrating because of their high water content. So, if you're struggling to drink as much water as possible in a day, adding some cucumbers to your diet can work wonders.
This fresh vegetable also contains a lot of antioxidants, including beta carotene, molybdenum, and flavonoids. Beta carotene is essential for making vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes and skin healthy and rejuvenated. While noshing on some cucumbers won't help serious eye diseases like cataracts or glaucoma, doing so can help keep these conditions at bay.
Cucumbers are also a primary reason why this green juice recipe works for perimenopause. The vegetables are high in lignans, which are precursors to phytoestrogens. Since a lack of estrogen partially causes perimenopause, lignans can help stabilize the effects of the condition. Studies have shown that phytoestrogens help reduce the severity of hot flashes.
Ginger Root Juice
If you're familiar with Eastern medicine at all, you know that ginger root is a potent ingredient in many alternative treatments. It turns out that there is plenty of scientific evidence to back up the idea of ginger as a superfood after all. Ginger is potent for several reasons, including:
- Antioxidants - Protect your cells against free radicals and oxidative damage.
- Gastrointestinal Aid - Ginger root stays in the stomach and helps regulate your digestive system. The root can also help with nausea.
- Anti-Inflammatory - Inflammation can trigger a wide array of symptoms, from sore joints and muscles. Ginger extract can calm these conditions and help prevent them in the future.
While orange juice is much easier to make, lemon juice also has plenty of nutritional benefits. Firstly, it contains lots of vitamin C, which is ideal for your immune system. Second, citric acid can help with digestion, as the acid breaks down other foods that may be sitting in your gut. If you feel bloated or blocked, an ounce of lemon juice can often relieve the pressure.
Ideally, you can ingest some of the lemon peel as well as the rest of the juice. As with all fruits, lemons have tons of phytonutrients and polyphenols inside their skin. While you can't exactly drink the peel, you can chew on it or chop it and add it to other foods (i.e., baked goods).
Also, as a side note, lemons have so much vitamin C that they were issued to sailors during the age of sailing to prevent scurvy. The practice was so common that it was known as the lemon law. While we don't have to worry as much about scurvy in the modern era, this law illustrates the power of the lemon.
Last but not least, lime juice is another vital source of vitamins and nutrients. This fruit is not as potent as lemons, but it can still offer plenty of benefits. Limes contain flavonoids, antioxidants, and citric acid—everything your body needs. Again, try to incorporate the rind as much as possible when juicing your limes.
Alternate Ingredient Options
While this green juice is super healthy, there are a few ways to make it better, particularly if you're not into green beverages. Here are some alternative ingredients that can work.
- Green Tea - Steep a bag of green tea into the beverage for a few minutes. Doing so will add extra nutrients, including phytonutrient enzymes, which can help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Chia Seed - These seeds can add a little crunch to the drink, making it a bit more pleasurable overall. Plus, chia seeds have fiber, phosphorous, and calcium.
- Almond Butter - If you're making a green smoothie, a dab of almond butter can add some creaminess and crunchiness to the mix. Be sure to use organic almond butter if possible to avoid artificial sweeteners. If nut butter is too thick, you can add a cup of almond milk instead to get the same nutrients.
- Coconut Oil - Another way to add creaminess and a little sweetness to the beverage is to add a dab of coconut oil. Since this oil has a lot of fat, don't add too much.
Bottom Line: Green Juice is Super Healthy
While Dr Oz's green juice recipe is highly potent, it's far from the only option available. Once you get a taste of green juice, you should sample as many recipes as possible. With so many healthy ingredients out there, you can let your creativity flourish. Let's get juicing!