By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
I’m sure you’ve had this question about juicing and we continue to hear it constantly, so I’m going to share the facts on fiber and your juice.
Juicing is the process that extracts most of the insoluble fiber out of the fruit and vegetables while the soluble fiber remains.
Let’s break that down for you…
What is Fiber?
Fiber has a very important role to play in the body, it is the indigestible component of whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and vegetables. When eating a wholefood diet it is recommended to consume 25-30 g of fiber daily.
The 2 Main Types of Fiber
There are 2 main types of fiber in fruits and vegetables. These are insoluble and soluble.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool, helps to keep the bowels regular, fills you up and speeds up the passage of food through the digestive tract. Insoluble fiber include cellulose, hemicellulose and lignins. This is mostly removed from the juice although it is still present in smaller amounts.
Soluble fiber absorbs water like a sponge and provides bulking matter that acts as a prebiotic to support good bacterial growth and digestive health. It also regulates blood sugar control, may lower blood cholesterol and slows the transit of food through the digestive tract and helps fill you up. Soluble fibers include pectins, gums and mucilage. This is still present in the juice.
Fiber During a Juice-Only Reboot
While completing a juice fast or a juice-only Reboot, not ingesting the insoluble fibers for a recommended period of time will not cause any health concerns. Many people find that they still have normal bowel motions due to the soluble fiber content of the juice combined with the extra hydration and nutrients. Some people may experience a slight reduction in their stool motions but this can be due to the overall reduction in food altogether. An important point to remember is fecal matter is comprised of 75% water so keep those extra fluids up during your Reboot.
If constipation is still causing a problem during a Reboot you can refer to these constipation guidelines. In fact some people find that during a Reboot they actually have increased motions so here are some diarrhea guidelines to help slow down excess motions during a Reboot.
Why Juicing is So Good!
Fresh juices are fruits and vegetables in their most concentrated form, this concentration of nutrients can be seen with the eye. Color in fruits and vegetables does in large part indicate the nutrient profile so when we juice our fruit and vegetables the colour becomes very dark with strong fruit and vegetable pigments. If we compare a spinach based smoothie versus a spinach based juice we can clearly see the depth of color in each differs and a juice has a much darker richer profile due to the higher nutrient content.
When you remove the insoluble fiber and are left with the fluid part of the fruits and vegetables, it allows easier assimilation and absorption of the vitamins, minerals and other important phytonutrients across the digestive tract. Insoluble fiber slows down the absorption of many micronutrients, so basically juicing is fast tracking our nutrients.
The body requires very little effort to absorb these nutrients in juice when insoluble fiber is removed. This can be very beneficial in cases where people are convalescencing, suffering with an illness, fatigued, stressed, suffering with a digestive disorder or any other condition that may affect their ability to absorb nutrients and digest their food.
To include an extra 5-10 servings of fruit and vegetables in one large glass certainly offers enormous health benefits as a higher fruit and vegetable intake increases well-being and reduction in chronic disease. The gift of juicing is its ability to remove the indigestible fiber which enables us to ingest a large quantity of fresh fruit and vegetables which may not be possible when eating them whole or even as a smoothie. Sitting down to eat 8 kale leaves, 2 apples, 4 celery sticks, 1 cucumber and 1 lemon is certainly not possible for most people. By having this as a juice we are easily able to enjoy a huge level of nutrients.
Although we do lose some nutrients via the pulp a large percentage still remains in the juice. Here are 9 ways to utilize your pulp from your freshly made juices!
If you are wanting to include a little extra fiber during a juice-only Reboot you can include some chia seeds and/or psyllium husks before bed in water if desired. This addition is certainly not going to reduce any of the wonderful health benefits experienced.