By: Alison Licquia MS, RDN, CD
Q: My girlfriend with breast cancer is talking about ‘juicing’. What does she mean by that? Is that something a doctor prescribes?
A: Juicing is the process of separating the juice from the pulp of fruits, vegetable and plant foods. It is a great way to add more servings of fruits and veggies to your diet but should not be used to meet basic nutrition needs because it significantly reduces the amount of fiber you get from a whole fruit or vegetable. If you are active in cancer treatment, are having chewing, swallowing or digestive problems, or are struggling with excessive weight loss due to cancer and it’s treatment, juicing may be a good option for getting valuable nutrients into your body. Also consider blenderizing your fruits and vegetables to make a “smoothie”. You can talk to a Registered Dietitian about how to do this to ensure you meet all your calorie and protein needs. Your first 5 servings of fruits and vegetables should come from whole foods, not juice, so if you’re not meeting this goal already, do this first.
Follow these few tips to make the most out of juicing:
1. Focus on Veggies – For the healthiest juices, include more vegetables than fruit.
2. Go Pro(tein) – Have your juice with a serving of protein, and a little bit of fat. Protein balances out carbohydrates in the juice, and fat helps your body absorb fat soluble nutrients from the juice.
3. Embrace Variety – Get creative to avoid getting bored with your juices. By mixing it up, you get the greatest variety of nutrients possible.
4. Count Crucifer – Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, kale, chard, bok choy, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, turnips, mustard greens and arugula. These foods help support our body’s ability to detoxify. Having 1-2 servings of cruciferous vegetables daily can decrease your risk for several types of cancers. Please let your doctor know about these efforts!
Reference: Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Juicing and Cancer