In praise of green juices

Last Updated : 21 September 2012, 13:39 IST
Last Updated : 21 September 2012, 13:39 IST

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That glass of green vegetable juice may look deceptively plain. But it contains a concoction of health benefits. Go for it, says Sangeeta Sen.

That Sunday morning, after walking down the vast sandy stretches of Puri’s sea beach, I felt it was the perfect excuse to halt in front of a small beach-side juice stall and quench my thirst.

The juice vendor, immediately swung into action and offered me a tall glass of some chilled fresh green cucumber juice. Every sip of this juice made me feel refreshed and rejuvenated. In fact, it had left its own signature mark in terms of taste and health values.

Interestingly, I later learnt that the early Russian herbalists looked upon the green cucumber juice as an ingredient for detoxifying the body. On the other hand, in the 18th century, the Greek physicians recommended it for refuelling the body with essential fluids.

Backing these observations, recent health theories have proved that a very high water content of 96 per cent in the cucumber juice keeps the body hydrated on hot summer days. Besides, the natural diuretic properties help detoxify the body. Also, the presence of the erepsin enzyme in the juice uplifts the energy levels.

Then, a high quantity of Vitamin A (approximately 109 units) promotes a good eyesight; while a reasonable Vitamin C (around 3 milligrams) strengthens the immune system. In addition, a silica content of approximately 0.38 micrograms leads to a proper working of the muscles and a fair potassium electrolyte level (about 147 milligrams) reduces blood pressure.

In fact, the preparation of a typical green cucumber juice packed with enormous health benefits would require three cucumbers, peeled, sliced into medium-sized pieces and ¼ cup cold water. Blend the cucumbers to a pulpy liquid mixture. Subsequently, place it on a thin strainer set over a bowl. Using a flat spatula, gently mash it and stir until all the green cucumber juice separates out. Finally, pour it into glasses.

There’s also the cabbage juice that was recommended by the early Roman physicians for healing stomach ulcers. In fact, according to recent medical studies, the abundance of amino acid glutamine in the juice, indeed, cures stomach ulcers.

Furthermore, the juice has a high potassium level (approximately 607 milligrams) that regulates the body’s fluid balance as well as a sufficient amount of Vitamin C (around 130 milligrams) that bolsters the immune system. Also, there are minerals like calcium (approximately 193 milligrams) in the juice that strengthens the bones and teeth. There is even a sufficient dietary fiber of 2 grams that helps cut down the risk of prostrate and colon cancers.

Preparing a powerful green cabbage juice would require 100 gms cabbage, chopped into blender-sized pieces and 2 cups water. Blend everything to form a fine liquid pulp. With a thin strainer placed over a jug, strain it until all the fresh cabbage juice separates out. Add ¼ cup anti oxidant rich apple juice. Stir and then, pour it over ice cubes in glasses.

In yet another instance, people in the Yazd province of ancient Persia drank the ‘ispanai’, or the green spinach juice, for preventing kidney stone problems. Recent scientific investigations point out that the high oxalic acid content of the juice prevents kidney ailments.

Also, this juice provides one with a fairly high level of minerals like iron (around 6 milligrams) that controls anaemia. The spinach juice even has a high Vitamin K content (more than 700 micrograms) that helps prevent the formation of blood clots. Moreover, a reasonable level of the anti oxidant Vitamin C (around 20 milligrams) stops tissue damage.

A rejuvenating spinach juice preparation requires 1 cup chopped spinach; energy-boosting ingredient like 1 tablespoon honey and cold water as required. Blend the chopped spinach using cold water until a smooth paste is formed. Strain it to extract the juice. Add the honey, mix well and drink.

Then, the ancient Egyptians strongly believed that the mint (pudina) juice healed various skin ailments. In fact, antiseptic and anti pruritic properties of this juice help soothe the skin as well as cure skin infections. More importantly, this type of a juice accounts for a healthy digestion.

Preparation requires ½ cup ‘pudina’ leaves, chopped; 1 teaspoon lemon juice; 4 teaspoons sugar; ¼ teaspoon each of cumin, black pepper and amchur powders; salt and cold water as desired. Blend all to a smooth liquid paste. Strain it to get the healthy green juice and serve it chilled.

Perhaps an exotic green juice would be the Ayurvedic lauki juice that creates a perfect balance between the kapha, pitta and vata doshas (states) in our body. Preparation requires 1 medium-sized lauki peeled and chopped; 2 grated gooseberries (amla), 3 peppercorns and cold water as desired. Blend everything to a liquid purée. Strain it till a pale green lauki juice is obtained. Drink immediately.

Then, there’s the Ayurvedic dhania and pudina juice that purifies the blood and, above all, detoxifies the body. Preparation requires ½ bunch each of pudina and dhania leaves, chopped; ¼ teaspoon each of lemon juice and black pepper. Blend everything using enough water to a liquid paste. Strain it to get fresh green juice. Now, add the black pepper, lime juice and dissolve everything well. Drink this healthy juice, garnished with a tomato slice.

All said and done, a green juice in a glass might look simple. But, it could definitely herald a solution to good health.

Published 21 September 2012, 13:39 IST

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