In the early 2000s, juicing vegetables and fruit emerged as a trending diet. From green juice to celery juice, the popularity of juicing is more than just a fad. Juice bars continue to pop up around the United States, and the market held steady at $2.36 billion in 2020, according to Statista.
But which vegetables are the most nutritious? We have the squeeze on the eight best vegetables to juice for better health below.
Carrots have a low calorie count and are naturally sweet. Carrots are also high in nutrients like biotin, potassium and vitamin A. Carrots are primarily known for their high carotenoid content, which includes alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein.
Such compounds act as antioxidants in the body to reduce oxidative stress, lowering one’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, eye disease and certain cancers, according to a 2021 review published in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
Carrot juice is naturally sweet without being too saccharine. It complements other juiced fruits and vegetables such as beets, citrus and ginger.
Beets are typically a royal maroon color, but you can also find them in white, yellow or even rainbow colors. The beetroot is the taproot of the beet plant, which offers a variety of health benefits as a juiced vegetable. Beets are high in such nutrients as manganese and folate. Beets are also nitrate-rich, which could improve brain health, athletic performance and blood pressure.
A 2019 randomized controlled trial looked at acute supplementation with nitrate-rich beet juice in 13 younger and 11 older adults, who consumed 150 milliliters of beetroot juice prior to a 30-minute treadmill walk. While both groups showed improvements, especially significant reductions in diastolic blood pressure were seen in older adults. Researchers reported in Nutrients that these findings suggest that acute beetroot supplementation could improve cardiovascular health in older adults.
The taproot isn’t the only part of the beet plant that you can juice. The leafy greens, commonly known as beet greens, also contain many beneficial nutrients and can be juiced.
Is a tomato a vegetable or fruit? Scientifically speaking, tomatoes are the fruit of the tomato plant, but in the kitchen, many folks consider tomatoes both a vegetable and a fruit.
Tomatoes are an important kitchen staple, especially for making hearty sauces and soups. However, tomatoes add a savory taste to juicing recipes, rich in such nutrients as folate, potassium and vitamin C.
Lycopene is an antioxidant found in tomatoes and has been linked with a lower risk of stroke, heart attack, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, according to Harvard Health. In fact, drinking tomato juice can reduce inflammation and boost your metabolism.
Kale is low in calories but big in nutrition, containing vitamins A, B6, C and K, calcium and potassium. A cruciferous vegetable, it’s also a good source of the minerals copper and manganese.
However, kale also contains goitrogens, which are naturally occurring substances and sometimes referred to as “anti-nutrients,” that can block iodine from entering the thyroid gland. Iodine is a trace mineral needed by the body to make thyroid hormones that promote normal metabolism. A deficiency of iodine can lead to a condition called goiter, or enlargement of the thyroid.
Raw kale contains the important antioxidant beta-carotene, which neutralizes free radicals that increase the likelihood of chronic conditions like heart disease.
An older study published in Biomedical and Environmental Sciences found that drinking kale juice can decrease heart disease risk factors, including LDL cholesterol. The study was conducted on 32 male participants with high cholesterol and revealed that consuming 150 milliliters of kale juice every day for three months decreased LDL cholesterol levels by 10% and boosted HDL cholesterol by 27%.
Cabbage is not only nourishing for its water content, but it also contains many essential nutrients, such as vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and manganese.
It’s classified as a cruciferous vegetable, like kale and cauliflower, and these are linked with a reduced risk of inflammation, heart disease and diabetes, according to a 2020 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable packed with antioxidants like kaempferol, lutein and quercetin. It’s also high in vitamins A and C as well as nitrates that benefit heart health.
A randomized controlled trial studied the effect of spinach, as a source high in nitrates, on arterial stiffness and related hemodynamic measures in 27 healthy adults. Participants consumed spinach for seven days, and results showed a significant reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The study was published in 2015 in Clinical Nutrition Research.
Broccoli has been touted as a superfood, and that reputation holds up due to its wealth of antioxidants and nutrients as a cruciferous vegetable. It’s a good source of essential micronutrients, including potassium and vitamins A, B6 and C.
Broccoli contains kaempferol, a flavonoid antioxidant shown to neutralize free radicals in the body and prevent diseases caused by inflammation. A 2021 study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that kaempferol presents neuroprotective action in such health concerns as glioblastoma, neuropathic pain, anxiety disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, promoting an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect.
Include broccoli heads and stems in your green juice recipes to take advantage of these neuroprotective benefits.
At first, adding grass to your juicing recipes may sound a little out there, until you discover wheatgrass is a nutrient-dense edible grass that’s also considered a vegetable. Wheatgrass contains copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and 17 different amino acids.
Methylphophorbide a (MPa) presents antioxidative and anticancer activity when isolated from the ethanol extract of the wheatgrass plant, according to a 2014 study published in Natural Product Research. The study regards these findings as evidence for the traditional use of wheatgrass in treating cancers, iron-overloaded disorders and oxidative stress.
For a nutritional boost, replace your morning espresso with a shot of wheatgrass. It can also be added to nearly any juice recipe.
How Can Juicing Improve Your Diet?
You can juice a wide variety of vegetables, each providing a unique set of nutrients and health benefits. Try mixing and matching veggies from the list above to squeeze different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants into your diet.
A 2021 evidence review published in Nutrients found that regular consumption of fruit juices up to 500 milliliters per day shows potential to improve vascular function and reduce blood pressure, as revealed in short to medium term studies.
A 2021 study published in ACS Food and Technology found that juicing techniques could influence the antioxidant and phytochemical content inside vegetable juices. Researchers found that juicing methods at low speeds produced higher amounts of these beneficial compounds than higher speeds due to less introduction of heat. Low speeds also preserve both fiber and pulp, important for healthy digestion.
Please consult a dietician if you are considering altering your diet to include juicing.