Juicing as Medicinal Alternative: Can It Save You Money and a Doctor's Visit?

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Well, it's the fall--the season of sniffling and achoos. The days of shorts and flip flops have now become days with scarves and boots. Unfortunately, for most people, this change in season also comes equipped with the colds and sinus headaches. While our bodies are adjusting to the new weather and to whatever fun, new allergens are floating around in the air, we're still forced to go on living our daily lives as normal. But there is a way to assist with, and even prevent catching, the common cold that does not include a trip to the doctor. Juicing!

When we're sick with a cold, we are not attractive. Our bodies become mucous factories, we're sneezing every 30 seconds and our throats feel like we swallowed spicy golf balls. I won't continue with the details, but I'm sure most people can agree that during this time, eating is not our favorite thing to do. For some, lovely side effects like post-nasal drip can cause their appetites to diminish easily. For others, appetites are still present, but sore throats or loss of taste make eating a boring, painful debacle (not to mention the whole can't-breathe-through-your-nose thing). These reasons are just a few that make juicing a popular thing to do while sick, but it's important to note that juicing is also a beneficial habit to adopt when feeling healthy.

"Juicing is a great way to boost the immune system in general," says Dr. Barbara Rosinsky, a chiropractor at Wantagh Woods Chiropractic and Wellness in New York. "By juicing foods that are high in vitamins A and C on a daily basis, you will be giving your immune system power to prevent and fight off colds."

For those who have never juiced before, here are a few basic pointers:

1. Make sure your fresh juice contains a mixture of vegetables and fruits. Too much fruit can lead to too much sugar, and even though it's natural, sugar has a tendency to "feed" colds.

2. Juicing machines can be a bit pricey (ranging anywhere from $100 to $600), but they're completely worth it when compared to the price of purchasing fresh juices each day (depending on contents and size, fresh juices at juice bars can range from $4 to $15, sometimes even higher).

3. When purchasing your own fruits and vegetables, go with organic. There is obviously no cooking involved with juicing, so what you see is what you get. The more sustainable, the better.

4. Do your research with recipe combinations. If you don't have much time to experiment, you want to make sure that your juice actually tastes good and serves a proper purpose with your health. The list below will also provide insight on some foods that can help with the common cold.

5. Be creative. Yes, carrots and beets alone are great in a juice, but some people enjoy adding items like ginger, garlic, or chia seeds for a health boost and some added flavor.

The following is a list of eight foods that, when combined, provide high amounts of Vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, as well as other health-boosting nutrients like manganese, folate, magnesium, and calcium.

  • Orange. Fresh-squeezed orange juice is probably the most commonly-known type of juice to drink when dealing with a cold. Its levels of Vitamin C are high, which makes it a great cold preventer as well. Just remember to keep in mind that oranges are fruits, and fruits contain natural sugars that can make colds worse when ingested in high amounts. One or two glasses of fresh orange juice per day should be enough to reap the benefits without any consequences.
  • Beets. Beets are another Vitamin C-filled food. They are also high in manganese, which is a powerful antioxidant. According to the George Mateljan Foundation's website, whfoods.org, "If you are a person who thinks about exposure to toxins and wants to give your body as much detox support as possible, beets are a food that belongs in your diet."
  • Spinach. Spinach is filled with vitamins and nutrients that are vital to our health. It contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that assist with other bodily functions, like our cardiovascular system. Spinach is also high in calcium, magnesium and vitamin K, which are all beneficial for bone health. For those who use dairy products to gain adequate calcium, spinach is a great substitute when sick, because dairy is not recommended when dealing with congested sinuses.
  • Carrots. The antioxidant power of carotenoids in carrots is commonly known and widely-studied. Health.com tells it best: "Orange fruits and vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, are rich in beta-carotene. When we eat these foods, our bodies convert this organic compound into vitamin A, which is essential for maintaining a strong immune system. Vitamin A is especially important for areas that go haywire when we catch a cold: it keeps the mucous membranes that line our nose and throat—one of the body's first lines of defense—healthy and functioning properly."
  • Broccoli. Because of the large amounts of vitamins A and K contained in broccoli, it is a vital food when it comes to absorbing adequate amounts of vitamin D successfully. A large percentage of the population is known to be vitamin D-deficient, and studies have even found correlations between vitamin D deficiency and various autoimmune diseases. That being said, vitamin D is crucial to immune health and, in order for it to be properly absorbed, the body needs ample amounts of vitamins A and K to keep vitamin D metabolism in balance. Broccoli is also a supporter in our body's detoxification process by aiding in the elimination of unwanted toxins.
  • Garlic. For health purposes, garlic is known to be more beneficial in its raw, uncooked form, which makes it perfect for juicing. When cooked, the heat destroys some of its beneficial healing properties. Garlic cloves contain a sulphur compound called allicin, which, according to WholeLiving.com, is a "natural weapon against infection." Raw garlic is also a natural antioxidant.
  • Lemon. Lemons are full of vitamin C and are also known to decrease the strength of the cold and flu virus in the body. Lemon also reduces phlegm, and, for this reason, lemon juice is commonly combined with honey in tea or hot water to soothe the throat.
  • Ginger. Ginger is very helpful when sick because it aids with stomach ailments. If your cold is plaguing you with nausea or upset stomach, adding ginger to your fresh juice will help ease the stomach pain and make it easier for you to eat. Grated ginger can also be steamed and inhaled to help with clearing the nasal passages.

Happy juicing!

--Written by Ciara Larkin for MainStreet

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