A Guide to Fresh Juice: The Elixir of Life

Whether store-bought or homemade, drinking freshly pressed or spun juice is a great way to get your daily servings of fruit and veggies.

Many Cayman establishments sell fresh juices; you can even get them delivered right to your door. It’s also never been easier to make your own juices at home, thanks to plenty of high-quality residential juicers now on the market.

Drinking freshly made juices has a myriad of reported health benefits too, including the ability to remove toxins from the body; improve immunity; aid in weight loss; provide more energy during the day; and make your skin glow; to name just a few. But is there such a thing as too much juice, and are fruit juices as healthy as green juices?

Andrea Hill, a Cayman-based holistic nutrition educator believes that juicing allows people to consume a healthier quantity of veggies in an efficient manner. “It’s amazing how much you can pack in just an eight-ounce serving,” she says. However, she does not recommend drinking a daily juice for all individuals, despite its nutritional merits. For instance, she says that a diabetic trying to regulate blood sugar spikes would likely not be advised to include juices in their daily diet, especially if they are juicing high-sugar fruits and veggies like pineapple, grapes, carrots, and beets.

“This is not to say that juicing may not benefit others,” Andrea says. “Vegetable juicing is certainly an easy way to reach your daily target of vegetables in an easy-to-digest way. It can also benefit those individuals suffering with chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, as well as inflammatory and auto-immune conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, allergies, thyroid disease, and lupus, to name a few.”

For those with impaired digestion, Andrea believes that juicing helps to break down (or pre-digest) vegetables into an easy-to-absorb manner.

Andrea recommends drinking green juices, not fruit juices. “This is important because if your juice contains too many fruits it will be both higher in calories and sugar (fructose). It is certainly fine to add a small kiwi fruit, apple, or handful of berries to give your juice some flavor, but the bulk of that juice should be from organic, green vegetables,” Andrea says.

She recommends incorporating kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, lemon, apple and fresh ginger into your juices if your goal is to cleanse and detoxify the body.

“All of these ingredients are rich in vitamins, alkalizing minerals, and antioxidants. Ginger adds a bit of flavor kick and also adds warming benefits, which are great for inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Lemon helps to cleanse the body and enhance the immune-boosting properties of the rest of the ingredients; it also adds a light flavor boost,” she says.

Juicers – the breakdown

There are many brands of juicers on the market today, so shopping for one can be quite confusing to customers.

There are two types of residential juicers typically used for juicing: masticating juicers, also called “cold-pressed juicers,” and centrifugal juicers. There are pros and cons to each.

Masticating juicers grind and knead the fruit or veggies until the juice is released; the produce is crushed and pressed (hence the name “cold-pressed”), which keeps the nutrients intact.

These juicers are less noisy than centrifugal juicers but they do utilize a slower process for extracting juice; and if you plan on juicing mostly leafy veggies like kale, spinach and wheatgrass, masticating juicers are ideal because they require less produce and create a higher juice yield.

Although these juicers are typically more expensive then centrifugal juicers, they are easier to clean afterward, requiring only a thorough rinsing after removing the unused fruit or veggies that could not be pressed into juice.

Another bonus of masticating juicers is that juice can be stored in the fridge for up to 72 hours without compromising its nutrient density.

Masticating juicers are becoming increasingly more popular; two Cayman establishments that use them exclusively are Jessie’s Juice Bar and Island Naturals Café.

Lachie and Jess Hewitt opened Jessie’s Juice Bar, located in Camana Bay, over three years ago. They have a simple philosophy: let your food be your medicine, not your demise.

“There’s juice, and then there’s cold-pressed juice. Cold-pressed juices contain more vitamins, minerals and enzymes than those made with a traditional centrifugal machine,” Lachie explains. “It’s all in the method, as the fresh fruit and vegetables are, as the name suggests, “pressed” so the maximum amount of nectar is extracted from the pulp and fiber, leaving a raw and fresh juice.”

Jessie’s Juices’ top-selling juices include Green Party (leafy greens like kale and herbs such as parsley, cilantro, basil, mint, and cucumber and celery); Pink Ginger (beet, carrot, pineapple, apple, ginger); and Frisky Sour (grapefruit, orange, lemon/lime).

Lachie believes one of the key components of a great juice is the balance of flavor. “Sure you can put a whole lot of great things in a blender or juicer but if there was something that would encourage people to juice it would be if it tasted great as well!”

Lindsay Allen opened Island Naturals Café in 2012, located on Earth Close Drive off West Bay Road.

All of Island Naturals’ juices are made from a cold-press juicer; their top-selling juices are Ginger Beet (beet, green apple, watermelon, ginger and lemon); Green Supreme (spinach, celery, cucumber, sweet apple, ginger and lemon); and Pineapple Orange (pineapple and orange).

Lindsay believes that juicing is an easy way to virtually guarantee you will reach your daily target of veggies.

“Almost every health authority recommends that we get six to eight servings of vegetables and fruits per day but very few of us actually get that,” she says. “Many people eat the same vegetable salads every day. This violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to a certain food, but with juicing, you can juice a wide variety of vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole.”

If you are short on time or are looking for a less expensive option, then a centrifugal juicer is a great alternative to masticating juices. A centrifugal juicer chops up the fruit or veggies with a flat cutting blade (much like a blender) while spinning the produce at a very high speed to separate the juice from the pulp.

Many models on the market have a pulp ejector feature which saves time by not having to stop and remove the accumulated pulp. The process is also faster than masticating juicers, and you can put whole fruits or veggies down the chute without needing to chop beforehand.

Centrifugal juicers are a great option if you are interested in juicing a wide variety of fruits or veggies, or are budget-conscious. They are especially good for beginners who are new to juicing and juice for the fun of it (so, for example, maybe you don’t want to make a daily juice but rather have them as a weekend treat).

Easy to use and assemble, they do need a thorough cleaning after each use; however, they are noisy and produce a lot of foam or froth, and they’re also not as effective for leafy greens, such as kale and wheatgrass. It is recommended that these juices be consumed right away and should not be stored for more than a few hours due to rapid oxidation.