The Beauty and Skincare Benefits of Green Juice

(Emerald) green juice is so on trend right now! Seriously, here's why you should drink some.
Michelle Villett
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(Emerald) green juice is so on trend right now! Seriously, here's why you should drink some.

Yesterday was SO hard. If you're anything like me, it was the first day back on the healthy wagon after an indulgent holiday. And so it felt a bit strange to not be carb-loading like crazy, having dessert after breakfast or washing it all down with some sweet, sweet alcohol.

Instead I had salad. And green juice!

Which I then Instagrammed.

Green juice - Jan 2013

And then I realized I've actually Instagrammed THREE of these bad boys over the last few months...

starting in July

Green juice - Jul 2012

and then October,

Green juice - Oct 2012

prompting the revelations that (a) my Instagram feed really needs to be more exciting, (b) it's obvious I've become a total a green juice freak, and (c) I should probably talk about this stuff with you guys on here. Because no joke, it's one of the best beauty secrets around. (Heck, even Pantone endorses the colour!)

What the heck is green juice?

No, it's not swamp water.

It's juice that's made with green veggies instead of fruit—and I'm not even exaggerating when I tell you that it tastes yummy, not gross. Think cucumber, celery, broccoli stems, kale... it's good stuff, dude.

Plus, some vegetables (like the broccoli) can actually taste quite sweet, and once you get used to drinking this stuff you'll start to crave it. You can mix your greens with apple, lemon, pear or ginger to cut the "green" taste and give your juice a bit of sweetness without spiking your blood sugar.

And speaking of blood sugar, that's one big reason to consider going green...

Why not drink regular (fruit) juice?

Because fruit juice can make your blood sugar literally go bananas. Sure, the freshly pressed kind is "natural" and the vitamin C is good for you and you're getting antioxidants, blah blah blah. But it's STILL high in sugar. (This report says it's as bad as soda... or as we Canadians say, "pop.")

Sugar specifically sucks because of a process called glycation. It's received a lot of attention in the beauty world lately, but it applies to your whole body, too: when sugar molecules hit your system, they end up causing inflammation and connective tissue damage.

For skin—which, being vain, is what we really care about the most—that means damaged collagen, elastin and protein fibres that make complexions look more wrinkled, dull and saggy. And despite all of these anti-glycation skincare products that have come out on the market, there ain't no cream that can compensate for a high-sugar diet.

So toss out that OJ!

What are the benefits of drinking green juice?

I'm so glad you asked!

Freshly extracted vegetable juice FLOODS your body with kajillions of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll and oxygen. It boosts immunity, improves circulation, decreases inflammation and counteracts those dang free radicals that contribute to aging.

When I drink it, I feel more alive, awake, energetic and like the green goodness is nourishing every cell in my body. It's amazing.

Also consider that it would be almost impossible—or at least highly undesirable—to eat all of the raw veggies that go into just one glass of juice. By removing the fibre, you get the benefit of all that nutrition while lightening the load on your digestive system. Not that fibre is bad, of course, but if you're following a good diet already then it won't matter that you're removing it from what you consume as green juice.

The Raw Food Detox Diet

In fact, green juice provides so much cellular hydration that you probably won't need to drink the regulation eight glasses of water each day when you're consuming it regularly. (According to Natalia Rose, author of The Raw Food Detox Diet, the book that got me into this green juice thing in the first place, the average person needs all that water because they're consuming dense, non-hydrated foods like bagels or doughnuts.)

When you start to juice, you'll notice that your body—and therefore your complexion—just feels more hydrated. You'll look that way too. There IS such thing as a green juice glow.

Don't believe me? Look who else drinks it:

Alessandra Ambrosio - green juice

Alessandra Ambrosio

Karolina Kurkova - green juice

Karolina Kurkova

Models know stuff, okay?

Can't I drink a smoothie?

You can. If you're down with tossing kale and whatever else in a blender (eeks! I'm not), then go for it. But I'd still recommend consuming more juices than smoothies because they're packed with so many more nutrients. And without the fibre bogging things down, they get to pass directly into the bloodstream to fuel your cells. (Including skin cells.)

Do I need a juicer?

Yes, and here's why. Pre-packaged juices, even if they don't have the aforementioned evil sugar in them, have already lost most of their enzymes. Which is the whole point. Exposed to air—or even worse, pasteurization—they quickly break down and lose their nutritional (and beauty) benefits.

Of course, you can always head to your local juice bar, but that gets expensive. It's way cheaper to buy your own juicer, stock up on veggies at the grocery store, and then DIY at home.

There are three different types of juicers you can buy (centrifugal, masticating and twin gear) and loads of info all over the internet on which is best. Personally, I use the Omega (a masticating type) and have been really happy with it. Mine has held up for I don't know, four years or something like that now? I just bought my mom the same brand for Christmas—they're on Amazon for around $200-300:

Omega 8003 Masticating Juicer

Try to drink the juice within 20 minutes of making it. It's not ideal, but if you can't drink it right away then store it in a container with as little air at the top as possible and keep it in your fridge for later that day.

Oh, and for maximum benefits, consume it on an empty stomach and then wait about half an hour to eat solid food. Try it instead of coffee and you'll be amazed at the energy it gives you!

My favourite juicing recipe

Okay, so there aren't really any "rules" with juicing recipes—it's all about experimenting until you find a combo of raw materials, in the right quantities, that tastes great to you. I use an adaptation of Natalia Rose's "Green Lemonade" recipe the most:

  • 3 to 4 stalks of celery
  • 5 to 6 leaves of kale
  • 1 apple
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger

You can also find a bunch of juice recipes (along with other plant-based goodness) in this wicked new book, Crazy Sexy Kitchen, by another one of my health gurus, Kris Carr:

Crazy Sexy Kitchen

The bottom line

I think it was Kris Carr who made this observation in a blog I read ages ago: if you're spending money on a bunch of cosmetics and skincare items, but you're not eating/juicing enough greens... then you're basically just wasting your time.

I believe it. (It's along the exact same line as that whole cortisol argument I made last week.)

So now that it's January, a.k.a. healthy time, will you join me on this green juicing mission? Yes, it's an investment, and yes, even if you are DIY-ing it's still a bit expensive. But it's one of the very best ways you can treat yourself and care for yourself... dontcha think?

Now excuse me while I finish today's serving (told you I was a freak).

Green juice - Jan 2013

Tell me:

Have you tried green juice?
Ever experienced the green juice glow? (Non? Bet you want to now!)
What healthy things are YOU doing this month?