There are very few fruit or vegetables that can’t be used in juices and smoothies, and although the idea of eating portions of parsnips and pineapple together might not fill you with enthusiasm this combination works surprisingly well as a juice.
However, there are a few firm favourites that appear time and time again, and the following is a round-up of some of the best fruit and vegetables to make the healthiest juices and smoothies!
Note : Buy organic fruit and vegetables whenever possible to avoid residual pesticides and wash or scrub them thoroughly before use to remove dirt and germs.
Bananas are especially useful in smoothies because they help to create a thick, smooth, tasty drink. Bananas can be peeled, sliced and frozen overnight to make a cool drink the next day. They are full of carbohydrates and an ideal energy booster or quick snack.
Not only are apples full of antioxidants, but they have a naturally sweet flavour that complements sour and savoury ingredients really well.
Use apples unpeeled or juice them whole, including the pips, to gain the maximum nutritional benefit-the antioxidant quercetin, for example, is found only in the skin.
The fresher the apple the more vitamin C it will contain.
Both beneficial and delicious, strawberries are a good source of vitamin C, calcium and potassium. To make the most of this universal favourite freeze the fruits when in season and add them to smoothies all year round.
These are one of the best sources of vitamin C, and also one of the most popular mixers in juices and smoothies. Some recipes suggest that you remove the skin but leave some of the pith attached to the segments to increase the vitamin content of your drinks.
Pears are delicious in juices. Not only do they combine well with other fruits and vegetables, but they are also ideal for children because they rarely cause an allergic reaction.
They are full of vitamin C, potassium and beta carotene and a quick source of energy.
It is believed that tomatoes may help lower the risk of certain cancers, and this is attributed to the lycopene they contain. They are also high in vitamin C and fibre. Adding tomatoes to savoury juices boosts their nutrient content and makes them colourful.
This fruit can be a boon if you suffer from stomach upsets because of its antioxidant qualities. It is also a good source of vitamin C.
Avocados are full of protein and are fillingand nutritious. They are rich in vitamin E, which is beneficial to the skin and helps maintain healthy circulation.
Eat avocados as soon as they are ripe as they start to lose important antioxidants as they ripen. Cut them and remove skin and stones at the very last minute to avoid discolouration.
Both fresh and dried apricots can be used, in juices and smoothies. Dried apcots tend to be much sweeter than the fresh fruit but they have a high beta-carotene and potassium content.
If you suffer from urinary infections, cranberry juice could be the answer. The fruits are rich in vitamin C and potassium, and they are delicious in juices, adding a bittersweet flavour and vibrant colour.
Live yogurt is a valuable source of calcium and vitamin D. It helps to maintain good health, because it contains cultures with health-giving properties. Including yogurt in a smoothie is a good way of giving a child who doesn’t like milk a calcium boost.
Rich in vitamin C and full of antioxidants, blackberries are good for building a healthy immune system. The fresh fruit freezes well and can be added to smoothies all year round.
A mango will add an exotic flavour to drink and the fruit also contains a high level of vitamin C, fibre and potassium. It is a great fruit to keep on your shopping list!
Yielding large amounts of juice, watermelons are a great antioxidant, detaxing and diuretic fruits. They are also a firm favourite with children because of their mild, sweet flavour.
Renowned in many traditional diets as an immunity booster, ginger helps to fight bugs with its high levels of zinc. It is also said to be settling for the stomach and is particularly useful for mothers-to-be who are suffering from morning sickness.
Carrots are great energy food and are an aid to good digestion because of their fibre content; they are also full of beta-carotene and alpha-carotene, and are delicious in both fruit and vegetable juices.
Some people recoil at the idea of spinach in a drink, but, as the saying goes, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Rich in iron and beta-carotene, spinach is great for vegetarians.
Beetroot is a great source of folic acid and fibre. Surprisingly perhaps, it is delicious when combined with citrus fruits, making a tangy and colourful juice.
Celery is a great cleanser and is rich in phyto- nutrients. A few sticks of celery produce a good yield of juice, and it is much more easily digested as juice than in its raw state.
Soya is rich in protein and calcium. It makes an excellent alternative to dairy products for those who are lactose-intolerant, and it helps to lower cholesterol levels. It is also useful for controlling the symptoms of the menopause.
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