Carrot Juice Nutritional Benefits.
PhytochemicalsMany claims about plants and health have not been tested in clinical double-blind tests or by other traditional means. Should we believe them? The universal acceptance of the benefits of plant phytochemicals-substances found in plants that might play a role in preventive health-might at least nudge us toward the willingness to accept the possibility that plants have benefits.
Some of the research on phytochemicals is funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which has launched a multimillion-dollar project to find, isolate, and study phytochemicals. The result of this and similar research is an ever-increasing wealth of data that points to the possible positive effect of fruits and vegetables on our health.
For example, research has shown that broccoli contains a substance, sulforaphane, that may prevent, even cure, breast cancer. Citrus fruits contain limone, which increases the activity of enzymes that eliminate carcinogens. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and similar vegetables contain indoles, which might lower the risk of breast cancer. Currently in the news is genistein, a substance found in soy beans which may block tumor growth, and lycopene, a component of tomatoes which has been linked to reduced risk of prostate cancer.
One of the results of this research is that the NCI recommends that we eat five servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits a day.
JuicingJuicing adds to the benefits of carrots. Because juicing removes the fiber, the important nutrients and phytochemicals found in carrots and other plants are absorbed more easily by our bodies-sometimes within minutes-without too much effort on the part of the digestive system. As well, more of the nutrients are absorbed; fiber is not present to escort some of them out of the body.
How healthy is juicing? A handbook distributed by the United States Department of Agriculture lists the following riches in one glass of juice from one-half pound of fresh carrots: 12 g of protein, 18 g of carbohydrates, 69 mg of calcium, 1.3 mg of iron, 635 mg of potassium, 20,460 International Units (IUs) of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, 15 mg of vitamin C, and small amounts of the B vitamins.
Fresh fruit and vegetable juices also are rich in enzymes. Enzymes spark the hundreds of thousands of chemical reactions that occur throughout the body; they are essential for the digestion and absorption of food, for conversion of foodstuffs into body tissue, and for the production of energy at the cellular level. In fact, enzymes are essential for most of the building and rebuilding that goes on in our bodies every day. Without enzymes, and the sparks they provide, we would be helpless: a bag of bones, unable to walk, talk, blink, or breathe. When foods are cooked, enzymes can be destroyed; that is why raw foods and juices are so important to us. They provide us with an excellent source of all-important enzymes.
Juicing provides another substance that is essential for good health-water. Water is essential in the digestion and transportation of food, in the elimination of waste, in the lubrication of joints, in the regulation of body temperature, and in cellular processes; all physiological functions rely on water in one way or another. Most health professionals recommend that we drink eight glasses of water per day.
It is important that we drink good water. Many of the fluids that we do drink-coffee, tea, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, artificially flavored drinks, and even tap water-contain substances that are harmful and might require additional water for our bodies to eliminate. Fruit and vegetable juices provide natural water straight from nature. Be sure to use purified or filtered water with AIM Just Carrots ™.
Q & ACan I take too much beta carotene? Beta carotene is nontoxic and does not appear to affect health apart from strengthening the immune system. This in unlike synthetic vitamin A supplements, which can be toxic in large doses. People who take exceptionally large quantities of beta carotene may experience a change in skin tone known as carotenemia. This condition gives the skin a golden tone and is not harmful.
Are the carrots in Just Carrots organically grown? Because of varying regulations and environmental conditions, it is difficult to define "organic." Wind can blow chemicals from far away and acid raid can affect the soil of a field. Some states stipulate that no chemical products could have been used for two years on the field, and other states say three years, for the crop to qualify as organic. The carrots for Just Carrots are tested for pesticides and herbicides to ensure that Just Carrots is residue-free.
What can you tell me about the processing used for Just Carrots? Just Carrots uses a special three-step process. In this process, beneficial heat-sensitive enzymes are not destroyed. This has been validated by testing the enzyme activity of Just Carrots when reconstituted in water.
Just Carrots does not taste exactly like carrot juice. Why? This is because the process does alter the taste. As stated above, we use this process to ensure that the carrots' nutrients remain intact. We feel that it is better to have a slightly different (but good!) taste and more nutrients than the same taste as carrot juice and fewer nutrients.
Haven't some studies indicated that beta carotene is bad for you? Some of the media has mistakenly linked beta carotene to cancer. This is because, in the National Cancer Institute's CARET study, beta carotene did not prevent cancer. However, this is not the whole story. The 14,254 participants in the study were smokers or former smokers and 4,060 had been exposed to asbestos on the job-two major causes of lung cancer. The smokers and former smokers had smoked at least a pack a day for 20 years or the equivalent. The other participants had extensive occupational asbestos exposure for 15 years. In other words, the participants in the study were in a very high-risk group for cancer. Also keep in mind that the vitamin A and beta carotene used in the study were in the form of synthetic supplements, and in the many epidemiological studies that show positive results, these vitamins were in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables.
What this test probably shows is that beta carotene did not prevent smokers and those exposed to asbestos from developing lung cancer; by the time they started taking beta carotene, they were probably well along the road to lung cancer. Some health practitioners caution that smokers should not use synthetic beta carotene.
We also should consider the years of positive results of beta carotene tests; the many human studies that show that beta carotene might, along with other substances found in plants, protect against tumors and heart disease; and the National Cancer Institute's advice that, for those who wish to reduce their risk of cancer, it is prudent to adopt a low-fat diet containing plenty of fruits, vegetables, and grains. In other words, use natural products.
Blauer, Stephen. The Juicing Book.Garden City Park, NY: Avery Publishing Group. 1989.
Passwater, Richard A., Ph.D. Beta-Carotene.New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, Inc. 1984.
Passwater, Richard A., Ph.D. Beta-Carotene and Other Carotenoids.New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, Inc. 1996.
Walker, N.W., D.Sc. Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices.Prescott, AZ: Norwalk Press. 1970.