It’s a no-brainer that homemade juices are healthier than sugar-laden store-bought varieties, but turns out, the juicer you pick could make your fruit and vegetable concoctions even more nutritious. Traditional juicers, or centrifugal models, use fast-spinning blades to tear apart produce, but the process adds some heat and exposes ingredients to air, two things that cut down on how many nutrients make their way into your glass. But now, masticating or “cold-pressed” juicers, like the Bella NutriPro ($250, nutriprojuicer.com), are becoming more popular. These machines extract juice by pressing and grinding fruits and vegetables without adding heat, hence the term “cold-pressed.”
To learn more about the advantages of these high-tech machines, we chatted with nutritionist and healthy cooking expert Robyn Youkilis, who set the record straight on nutrient retention, getting the most juice for your money, and some unique ingredients to try in your next glass of freshly pressed juice.
Men’s Fitness: In terms of nutrition and getting the most out of your fruits and vegetables, what are the benefits of using a masticating juicer over a centrifugal machine?
Robyn Youkilis: A masticating juicer has several advantages:
- Juice retains more nutrients because fruits and vegetables aren’t shredded with blades, which exposes the produce to air and speeds up oxidation.
- You get more juice from your produce. A centrifugal juicer doesn't extract as much juice ounce per ounce, and therefore using a masticating model can save you money on produce.
- When using a masticating model, the juice you end up with retains more pulp. Because of this, pressed juices have more fiber and even a little protein.
MF: Are there any cons?
RY: The only potential con would be a thicker consistency. Because you end up with a bit more pulp, you end up with a thicker juice. Some people prefer their juice this way, and those who are used to a thinner juice can easily strain it.
MF: What are the biggest advantages to purchasing a juicer?
RY: You definitely save money and you control the quality of the ingredients, as you can chose organic produce or fruits and vegetables from a local farmers’ market. You also have your very own "reset" button at home. This can be incredibly helpful after vacations, indulgent weekends or when you’re feeling a bit under the weather.
MF: What ingredients do you recommend most for making juices? Are there ingredients we should keep in mind that aren't fruits or veggies?
RY: Definitely focus on getting a good amount of dark, leafy greens, like kale, spinach, dandelion greens, and romaine lettuce. Those are what our bodies need most but are lacking in our diets. I like to add additional ingredients, like real coconut water and even cinnamon. Ginger is definitely another one to focus on. It has a ton of health benefits such as reducing inflammation in the body (this is especially good after workouts), getting your digestive system moving, and even fending off illness. I also like using fresh herbs such a mint (amazing with grapefruit and greens) and basil, which adds a unique and delicious flavor.
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