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The 12 Best Vegetables to Juice

Health + Wellness
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By Rachael Link, MS, RD

In recent years, juicing has gained widespread popularity among health-conscious individuals looking for a quick and convenient way to boost their nutrient intake.


However, if you're new to juicing, you may find it difficult to determine which vegetables to choose.

Here are the 12 best vegetables to juice to improve your overall health.

1. Kale

Kale is a versatile leafy green with a mild flavor that pairs well with other fruits and veggies in juices.

This power-packed ingredient is a great source of several key nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K (1).

Raw kale is also especially high in antioxidants, including beta-carotene.

Antioxidants neutralize harmful molecules called free radicals to help protect against conditions like heart disease (2Trusted Source). In fact, drinking kale juice has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors, including LDL (bad) cholesterol.

One study in 32 men with high cholesterol levels found that drinking 5 ounces (150 ml) of kale juice daily for 3 months reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol by 10% and boosted heart-protective HDL cholesterol by 27% (3Trusted Source).

Summary

Kale is high in several important nutrients, including beta-carotene and vitamins A, C, and K. Plus, it has been shown to improve heart disease risk factors.

2. Carrots

Due to their slightly sweet flavor and impressive nutrient profile, carrots are a perfect choice for juicing.

They're low in calories and high in vitamin A, biotin, and potassium (4).

What's more, they're loaded with carotenoids, which are plant pigments that work as powerful antioxidants in your body. These include beta-carotene, lycopene, alpha-carotene, and lutein (5Trusted Source).

Studies show that eating a diet rich in carotenoids may be linked to a lower risk of degenerative eye diseases, heart disease, and certain types of cancer, including of the prostate (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).

The sweetness of carrot juice combines well with other commonly juiced vegetables and fruits, such as citrus fruits, ginger, and beets.

Summary

Carrots are rich in vitamin A, biotin, and potassium. They're also high in carotenoids, which may be linked to a lower risk of eye disease, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

3. Beets

In addition to their vibrant color and earthy flavor, beets add a host of health benefits to your daily juice.

In terms of nutrition, beets are packed with manganese, potassium, and folate (10).

They're also high in nitrates, a type of natural plant compound with powerful health effects.

In fact, studies show that nitrate-rich beetroot juice may improve blood pressure, as well as athletic and mental performance (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).

Not only do beets make a delicious addition to juices but also their leafy green tops — called beet greens — are highly nutritious and can be juiced as well (14).

Summary

Beets are a good source of manganese, potassium, folate, and nitrates, which may help lower blood pressure and improve athletic performance and brain health.

4. Cabbage


Cabbage may not seem like an obvious choice for juicing, but it's a nutritious and delicious ingredient that works well in juices.

Each serving of cabbage is chock full of vitamins K and C, along with other micronutrients like folate, manganese, and vitamin B6 (15).

It's also classified as a cruciferous vegetable and closely related to other veggies like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.

Studies show that eating more cruciferous vegetables is associated with a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and inflammation (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).

Summary

Cabbage is high in vitamins K and C along with many other nutrients. As a cruciferous vegetable, it may help protect against diabetes, heart disease, and inflammation.

5. Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that brings a mild, fresh flavor to smoothies and juices.

It's high in vitamins A and C and delivers a hearty dose of antioxidants like quercetin, kaempferol, and lutein (19, 20Trusted Source).

Spinach is also rich in nitrates, which can benefit heart health (21Trusted Source).

One study in 27 people found that consuming spinach for 7 days significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure (the top and bottom numbers of a reading). High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease (22Trusted Source).

Additionally, some research suggests that spinach juice has significant antacid activity, making it a wise choice for those with acid reflux (23Trusted Source).

Summary

Spinach is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants and nitrates. It may reduce blood pressure and have antacid effects.

6. Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that's been tied to various impressive health benefits.

In particular, it's an excellent source of key micronutrients, such as potassium and vitamins A, B6, and C (24).

It also contains kaempferol, a powerful compound that has been shown to neutralize disease-causing free radicals, decrease inflammation, and reduce cancer cell growth in test-tube studies (25Trusted Source).

What's more, a recent study in 960 people noted that eating one serving per day of green vegetables rich in kaempferol and other antioxidants may slow age-related mental decline (26Trusted Source).

Toss broccoli heads and stems into your juicer for a nutritious addition to your green juice recipe.

Summary

Broccoli is rich in potassium and vitamins A, B6, and C. It also packs several antioxidants like kaempferol, which may decrease cancer growth, inflammation, and mental decline.

7. Parsley

Often dismissed as little more than an herb and garnish for cooking, parsley is a great vegetable to use for juicing.

Fresh parsley is especially rich in vitamins A, K, and C, which may all contribute to its many health benefits (27).

In one study, giving rats with diabetes parsley extract significantly decreased blood sugar and improved blood antioxidant levels, compared with a control group (28Trusted Source).

Another study found that administering parsley extract to rats with drug-induced liver damage increased antioxidant status and preserved liver function (29Trusted Source).

Summary

Parsley contains vitamins K, A, and C. In animal studies, it's been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, improve antioxidant status, and protect liver function.

8. Cucumbers


They're also low in calories yet high in potassium, manganese, and vitamins K and C (30).

Adding cucumbers to your diet can help keep you hydrated, which is crucial to digestive health, kidney function, weight management, and physical performance (31Trusted Source).

In addition, test-tube research shows that cucumber extract may help reduce inflammation in skin cells. This makes cucumber juice an excellent choice after days spent in the sun (32Trusted Source).

Summary

Cucumbers are high in potassium, manganese, and vitamins K and C. They can also help keep you hydrated and may reduce skin inflammation.

9. Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that is packed with key vitamins and minerals.

In fact, each serving contains plenty of vitamins A and C, which are important nutrients that double as antioxidants to help fight cellular damage in your body (33, 34Trusted Source).

Some animal research suggests that Swiss chard may be especially beneficial for those with diabetes (35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source, 37Trusted Source).

In a 45-day study, feeding Swiss chard extract to rats with high blood sugar reduced the elevated levels by increasing antioxidant status and altering the activity of enzymes that control insulin, a blood-sugar-regulating hormone (38Trusted Source).

You can add Swiss chard to just about any juice or use it in place of more common leafy greens, such as kale and spinach.

Summary

Swiss chard is high in vitamins A and C. Animal studies suggest that it may help reduce blood sugar levels and increase antioxidant status.

10. Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is an edible grass that's often considered one of the most popular vegetables for juicing.

It's an incredibly nutrient-dense ingredient and supplies a significant amount of iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper, along with 17 different amino acids — the building blocks of proteins (39Trusted Source).

It also contains chlorophyll, a natural plant pigment with potent anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties (40Trusted Source, 41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source).

What's more, one study in 59 women found that supplementing with wheatgrass powder for 10 weeks significantly reduced triglyceride and cholesterol levels, improving heart health (43Trusted Source).

Wheatgrass juice can be enjoyed on its own as a shot or added to any juice for a nutritional boost.

Summary

Wheatgrass is an edible grass that contains 17 amino acids, along with iron, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and chlorophyll. One study found that it may promote heart health by decreasing triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

11. Celery

Celery juice has started to gain traction in the health world — and for good reason.

In addition to its high water content, celery contains a good amount of vitamins A, K, and C, as well as antioxidants like kaempferol, caffeic acid, and ferulic acid (44, 45Trusted Source).

Animal and test-tube research has found that celery extract may improve heart health by decreasing blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels (46Trusted Source, 47Trusted Source).

One animal study also showed that certain compounds in celery have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which may protect against chronic disease (48Trusted Source, 49Trusted Source).

Many people like to drink celery juice on its own, but it can also be combined with the juice of lemons, apples, ginger, and leafy greens for a tasty beverage.

Summary

Celery contains vitamins A, K, and C, as well as several antioxidants. Animal and test-tube studies show that celery extract may decrease inflammation and reduce blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels.

12. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a kitchen staple and great for using in your juicer.

They're not only low in calories but also brimming with essential nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and folate (50).

Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, a compound that's been tied to a lower risk of prostate cancer, heart attack, and stroke (51Trusted Source, 52Trusted Source, 53Trusted Source).

Drinking tomato juice has also been shown to reduce inflammation, increase metabolism, and improve male fertility (54Trusted Source, 55Trusted Source, 56Trusted Source).

What's more, tomato juice may reduce inflammation associated with exercise, making it a smart choice for athletes (57Trusted Source, 58Trusted Source).

Pair tomatoes with celery, cucumber, and parsley for a refreshing, healthy juice.

Summary

Tomatoes have powerful anti-inflammatory effects and are rich in vitamin C, potassium, folate, and lycopene.

The Bottom Line

You can juice a wide variety of vegetables, each providing a unique set of nutrients and health benefits.

Try mixing and matching veggies from the list above to squeeze different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your diet.

You can also combine these vegetables with fruits to further dial up the flavor and health benefits.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

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By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to get confused about which foods are healthy and which aren't.

You generally want to avoid certain foods if you want to lose weight and prevent chronic illnesses.

In this article, healthy alternatives are mentioned whenever possible.

Here are 20 foods that are generally unhealthy — although most people can eat them in moderation on special occasions without any permanent damage to their health.

1. Sugary Drinks

Added sugar is one of the worst ingredients in the modern diet.

However, some sources of sugar are worse than others, and sugary drinks are particularly harmful.

When you drink liquid calories, your brain doesn't appear to register them as food. Thus, you may end up drastically increasing your total calorie intake (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).

When consumed in large amounts, sugar can drive insulin resistance and is strongly linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It's also associated with various serious conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).

Some people believe that sugary drinks are the most fattening aspect of the modern diet — and drinking them in large amounts can drive fat gain and obesity (7Trusted Source, 8, 9Trusted Source).

Alternatives

Drink water, soda water, coffee, or tea instead. Adding a slice of lemon to water or soda water can provide a burst of flavor.

2. Most Pizzas

Pizza is one of the world's most popular junk foods.

Most commercial pizzas are made with unhealthy ingredients, including highly refined dough and heavily processed meat. Pizza also tends to be extremely high in calories.

Alternatives

Some restaurants offer healthier ingredients. Homemade pizzas can also be very healthy, as long as you choose wholesome ingredients.

3. White Bread

Most commercial breads are unhealthy if eaten in large amounts, as they're made from refined wheat, which is low in fiber and essential nutrients and may lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar (10).

Alternatives

For people who can tolerate gluten, Ezekiel bread is an excellent choice. Whole-grain bread is also healthier than white bread.

If you have problems with gluten or carbs, then here are 15 recipes for breads that are both gluten-free and low in carbs.

4. Most Fruit Juices

Fruit juice is often assumed to be healthy.

While juice contains some antioxidants and vitamin C, it also packs high amounts of liquid sugar.

In fact, fruit juice harbors just as much sugar as sugary drinks like Coke or Pepsi — and sometimes even more (11Trusted Source).

Alternatives

Some fruit juices have been shown to have health benefits despite their sugar content, such as pomegranate and blueberry juices.

However, these should be considered occasional supplements, not an everyday part of your diet.

5. Sweetened Breakfast Cereals

Breakfast cereals are processed cereal grains, such as wheat, oats, rice, and corn.

They're especially popular among children and frequently eaten with milk.

To make them more palatable, the grains are roasted, shredded, pulped, rolled, or flaked. They're generally high in added sugar.

The main downside of most breakfast cereals is their high added sugar content. Some are so sweet that they could even be compared to candy.

Alternatives

Choose breakfast cereals that are high in fiber and low in added sugar. Even better, make your own oat porridge from scratch.

6. Fried, Grilled or Broiled Food

Frying, grilling, and broiling are among the unhealthiest cooking methods.

Foods cooked in these ways are often highly palatable and calorie-dense. Several types of unhealthy chemical compounds also form when food is cooked under high heat.

These include acrylamides, acrolein, heterocyclic amines, oxysterols, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and advanced glycation end products (AGEs) (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).

Many chemicals formed during high-heat cooking have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and heart disease (18Trusted Source, 19, 20Trusted Source).

Alternatives

To improve your health, choose milder and healthier cooking methods, such as boiling, stewing, blanching, and steaming.

7. Pastries, Cookies and Cakes

Most pastries, cookies, and cakes are unhealthy if eaten in excess.

Packaged versions are generally made with refined sugar, refined wheat flour, and added fats. Shortening, which may be high in unhealthy trans fats, is sometimes added.

These treats might be tasty, but they have almost no essential nutrients, copious calories, and many preservatives.

Alternatives

If you can't stay away from dessert, spring for Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, or dark chocolate.

8. French Fries and Potato Chips

Whole, white potatoes are very healthy.

However, the same cannot be said of French fries and potato chips.

These foods are very high in calories, and it's easy to eat excessive amounts. Several studies link French fries and potato chips to weight gain (21Trusted Source, 22).

These foods may also contain large amounts of acrylamides, which are carcinogenic substances that form when potatoes are fried, baked, or roasted (23, 24Trusted Source).

Alternatives

Potatoes are best consumed boiled, not fried. If you need something crunchy to replace potato chips, try baby carrots or nuts.

9. Gluten-Free Junk Foods

About one-third of the U.S. population actively tries to avoid gluten (25).

Yet, people often replace healthy, gluten-containing foods with processed junk foods that happen to be gluten-free.

These gluten-free replacement products are often high in sugar and refined grains like corn starch or tapioca starch. These ingredients may trigger rapid spikes in blood sugar and are low in essential nutrients.

Alternatives

Choose foods that are naturally gluten-free, such as unprocessed plant and animal foods.

10. Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is a sweetener that's often marketed as healthy.

However, it's highly refined and extremely high in fructose. High amounts of fructose from added sweeteners can be absolutely disastrous for health (26Trusted Source).

In fact, agave nectar is even higher in fructose than many other sweeteners.

Whereas table sugar is 50% fructose and high-fructose corn syrup around 55%, agave nectar is 85% fructose (27Trusted Source).

Alternatives

Stevia and erythritol are healthy, natural, and calorie-free alternatives.

11. Low-Fat Yogurt

Yogurt can be incredibly healthy.

Nonetheless, most yogurts found in the grocery store are bad for you.

They're often low in fat but loaded with sugar to compensate for the flavor that fat provides. Put simply, most yogurt has had its healthy, natural fats replaced with an unhealthy ingredient.

Additionally, many yogurts don't provide probiotic bacteria as generally believed. They're often pasteurized, which kills most of their bacteria.

Alternatives

Choose regular, full-fat yogurt that contains live or active cultures (probiotics). If possible, buy varieties from grass-fed cows.

12. Low-Carb Junk Foods

Low-carb diets are very popular.

While you can eat plenty of whole foods on such a diet, you should watch out for processed low-carb replacement products. These include low-carb candy bars and meal replacements.

These foods are often highly processed and packed with additives.

Alternatives

If you're on a low-carb diet, aim for foods that are naturally low in carbs, which include eggs, seafood, and leafy greens.

13. Ice Cream

Ice cream may be delicious, but it's loaded with sugar.

This dairy product is also high in calories and easy to overeat. If you eat it as a dessert, you're usually piling it on top of your normal calorie intake.

Alternatives

It's possible to opt for healthier brands or make your own ice cream using fresh fruit and less sugar.

14. Candy Bars

Candy bars are incredibly unhealthy.

They're high in sugar, refined wheat flour, and processed fats while also very low in essential nutrients.

What's more, these treats will leave you hungry because of the way that your body metabolizes these sugar bombs.

Alternatives

Eat fruit or a piece of quality dark chocolate instead.

15. Processed Meat

Even though unprocessed meat can be healthy and nutritious, the same is not true for processed meats.

Studies show that people who eat processed meats have a higher risk of many serious ailments, including colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease (28, 29Trusted Source).

Most of these studies are observational in nature, meaning that they can't prove that processed meat is to blame. However, the statistical link is strong and consistent between studies.

Alternatives

If you want to eat bacon, sausages, or pepperoni, try to buy from local butchers who don't add many unhealthy ingredients.

16. Processed Cheese

Cheese is healthy in moderation.

It's loaded with nutrients, and a single slice packs all the nutrients as a glass of milk.

Still, processed cheese products are nothing like regular cheese. They're mostly made with filler ingredients that are engineered to have a cheese-like appearance and texture.

Make sure to read labels to confirm that your cheese contains dairy and few artificial ingredients.

Alternatives

Eat real cheese instead. Healthy types include feta, mozzarella, and cottage cheeses. Many vegan cheese alternatives can also be good choices.

17. Most Fast Food Meals

Generally speaking, fast-food chains serve junk food.

Most of their offerings are mass-produced and low in nutrients.

Despite their low prices, fast foods may contribute to disease risk and harm your general wellness. You should especially watch out for fried items.

Alternatives

As a result of mounting pressure, many fast-food chains have started offering healthy options.

18. High-Calorie Coffee Drinks

Coffee is loaded with antioxidants and offers many benefits.

Notably, coffee drinkers have a lower risk of serious diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and Parkinson's (30Trusted Source, 31).

At the same time, the creamers, syrups, additives, and sugars that are frequently added to coffee are highly unhealthy.

These products are just as harmful as any other sugar-sweetened beverage.

Alternatives

Drink plain coffee instead. You can add small amounts of heavy cream or full-fat milk if you desire.

19. Anything With Added Sugar or Refined Grains

It's important to avoid — or at least limit — foods that contain added sugar, refined grains, and artificial trans fats.

These are some of the unhealthiest but most common ingredients in the modern diet. Thus, the importance of reading labels cannot be overstated.

This even applies to so-called health foods.

Alternatives

Aim for nutrient-dense, whole foods, such as fresh fruits and whole grains.

20. Most Highly Processed Foods

The simplest way to eat healthy and lose weight is to avoid processed foods as much as possible.

Processed goods are often packaged and loaded with excess salt or sugar.

Alternatives

When you're shopping, make sure to read food labels. Try to load up your cart with plenty of veggies and other whole foods.

The Bottom Line

Though the Western diet packs plenty of junk food, you can maintain a healthy diet if you steer clear of the processed, high-sugar items mentioned above.

If you focus on whole foods, you'll be well on your way to feeling better and reclaiming your health.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

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