10 Nutritious Ingredients for Your Green Juice

10 Nutritious Ingredients for Your Green Juice

National Green Juice Day is practically here, and we’ve got some green ingredients that would be perfect for your juicer or blender. Speaking of which, what’s the difference between juicing and blending and is there a best method? 

Juicing vs Blending

Depending on what you want to get out of your beverage, or rather, what you want to leave in, you will have to make a choice between juicing and blending.  

Juicing extracts the liquid from the fruits or veggies and leaves the skin, the pulp, and pretty much everything else behind. According to our registered dietitian, Debbie James, juicing allows you to reap the benefits of drinking up more vitamins and antioxidants, but because it’s a less filling beverage, you’ll also likely consume more (which means more calories).1 She also notes that juicers work best with produce that contain water. For example, you’ll have quite a hard time juicing an avocado or sweet potato which you’re more likely to see in blended drinks. 

Blending essentially pulverizes the whole fruit or vegetable. This means that you have the benefit of consuming nutrients and fiber that are often stripped away when you’re juicing. James explains that blending can create a more satisfying beverage which may lead you to consume fewer total calories. When using a blender, you’ll also be able to add ingredients like “ice, yogurt, protein powder, [and] peanut butter.”1 These types of ingredients can help mask flavors of veggies you wouldn’t normally enjoy. If you’re planning on substituting a meal with your beverage, this approach is probably better suited for you.1  

Creating the Perfect Recipe

The perfect recipe is in the preferences of your taste buds. However, there are some tricks to making a more nutritious drink no matter which method you choose. Whether you’re juicing or blending, James recommends incorporating a ratio of 3 vegetables to 1 fruit. This is one way to lower the sugar content and increase the nutrient content.2  

Ready for some ideas? We’ve got a number of green and nutritious ingredients that you can add to your beverage: 

Nutritious Add-Ins*

  1. CucumberCucumbers contain fiber and are a good source of:  
  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin C and Vitamin K 
  • Minerals: especially Magnesium, Potassium, and Manganese 
  • Antioxidants 
  • Water 

2. Mint – Mint contains fiber and is a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin A and Folate 
  • Minerals: especially Iron and Manganese 

3. Lime – Limes contain fiber and are a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin C, B6, and Thiamine 
  • Minerals: especially Iron, Calcium, and Potassium 
  • Antioxidants 

4. Green Apple – Green apples are a good source of: 

  • Vitamins A and C 
  • Antioxidants 
  • Fiber  

5. Avocado – Avocados are full of healthy fats and are a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin K, C, E, B5, B6, and Folate 
  • Minerals: especially Potassium 
  • Fiber 

6. Pear – Pears are packed with soluble and insoluble fiber and are a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin C and Vitamin K 
  • Minerals: especially Potassium and Copper 
  • Antioxidants 

7. Celery – Celery is a great source of fiber and water and contains small amounts of: 

  • Vitamins: like Vitamin C, K, A, and Folate 
  • Minerals: like Potassium 
  • Antioxidants 

8. KaleKale is highly nutritious as it is a great source of:

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin A, K, C, B6, and smaller amounts of B1, B2, and B3 
  • Minerals: especially Manganese, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Magnesium, and smaller amounts of Iron and Phosphorous 
  • Antioxidants 

9. Watercress – Watercress is a great source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin K and to a lesser (but still significant) extent, Vitamins A and C 
  • Minerals: especially Calcium and Manganese 
  • Antioxidants 

10. Spinach – Spinach is high in insoluble fiber and is a good source of: 

  • Vitamins: especially Vitamin A, C, K1, and Folate 
  • Minerals: especially Iron and Calcium 
  • Antioxidants 

*Nutrition information is from various sources. Click the link for each item to view the source and to read additional details.

For more information on fresh juice, read our registered dietitian’s answer to the question: How Long Does Fresh Juice Hold Its Nutritional Value? Or, read up on what you need to know if you plan to Substitute Meals with Your Juice or a Smoothie. To stay in-the-loop about our fitness and nutrition articles, subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly highlights from the LA Fitness blog! 

Sources

  1. James, Debbie. “How To Get The Most From Juicing: Q+A.” Living Healthy, 31 Mar. 2017, https://blog.lafitness.com/2017/03/30/get-the-most-out-of-juicing/ 
  2. James, Debbie. “Is It Safe to Substitute Two Meals a Day with Juice or a Smoothie?” Living Healthy, 16 Jan. 2014, https://blog.lafitness.com/2014/01/16/is-it-safe-to-substitute-two-meals-a-day-with-juice-or-a-smoothie/

Which Supplements Can I Take as a Diabetic? | QA

Which Supplements Can I Take as a Diabetic? | QA

Question:

As a newly diagnosed diabetic, what supplements can I take that will not spike my blood sugar? 2 months ago, I started a cardio program at home, but I want to start weight training.

-Jose

Answer:

Kudos to rounding out your exercise routine!

To narrow down an answer, I’ll have to assume you are asking about pre-workout powders, meal replacement bars, recovery shakes and other sports/body-building supplements with macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, and protein) not individual compounds, like stimulants. Caffeine may reduce sensitivity of insulin and raise blood sugar levels.  

Generally, single servings of products with only protein and fat shouldn’t raise blood sugar levels. Many “keto-safe” protein shakes, powders and bars fall into this category. Still, they are designed for fast digestion and absorption, making a quicker impact on insulin levels than whole foods which take longer to consume and digest. Consider making your own protein beverages to drink pre and post workout. 

Products with any sugar present should also have fiber plus a balance of protein and fat, to prevent blood sugar spikes. Check the nutrition facts panel for gram levels of these. There are no magic numbers, but I would recommend avoiding products with half of total carbohydrates from sugar and those with more than 10 grams of sugar per serving. You should look at what you’re eating between meals, too. Several snack bars are promoted for those with diabetes. 

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees how your blood sugar will respond to even the most low-risk caloric supplement. No matter what supplements you take, always follow the usage directions on the product package. 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Fitness Changes: By Age

Fitness Changes: By Age

Our bodies manage a lot. They bear a lifetime of stress, fall into and recover from illness, battle chronic ailments, take bruises, breaks, falls, and burns, and power through long workdays on 2 hours of sleep. Our bodies take it all, and eventually, our system tells us it’s time to take it easy.  

When does the body really start to experience physical limitations, and how does our age affect our fitness endeavors? Let’s find out and talk about some ways to keep your body going strong. 

In Your 30’s

By age 30, and despite the fact that we just barely made it out of our 20’s, many of us get a head start on the “I’m getting old” complaints. Perhaps jokingly and perhaps not. According to a study on aerobic capacity in aging adults, fitness levels begin to decline 3% to 6% every decade starting around age 20.1 So, by age 30, you may technically have experienced a mild age-related change in your physical fitness, but not enough to make a noticeable difference.  

However, age is not the only factor. Our reduced physical fitness often has to do with changes to our lifestyle habits or diseases.2 As we age, we encounter life changes and assume responsibilities we never had, which can potentially lead to a lot more sedentary time. Naturally, the less active you are, the more difficult many physical activities will feel.  

That being said, Tip #1 is to take a moment to recognize any decrease in physical activity and to commit to reintroducing some of it into your life.  

From Age 40 to 69

Here, we embark on that part of our lifetime we know as “middle age.” Commonly associated with mid-life crises, hair loss, and a slowing metabolism, it’s not typically a very welcome stage. Allow us to assuage your fears.  

This study examined the performance of marathon runners ranging from the ages of 20 to 79. The results show that “no significant age-related decline in performance appears before age 55.”2 This is about halfway through your period of middle age.  

Once you hit 55, you don’t suddenly begin to struggle. The same study reveals that only a moderate decline is observable in their runners after this age. In fact, “25% of the 65- to 69-year-old runners were faster than 50% of the 20- to 54-year-old runners.”2 Even more impressive is the fact that the same percentage of 65- to 69-year-old runners began marathon training within the previous 5 years.2 This should prove that their success was not a result of a lifetime of conditioning. Despite starting their training around age 60 or later, their bodies were capable of outperforming younger runners.  

Tip #2: It’s never too late to start, so start! Need more incentive? Another study found that even untrained individuals, who had never taken up sports until after reaching the age of 50, “were able to halve their mortality risk compared with their non-active peers.”2 

Age 70 and Up

Now we enter older adulthood where our aerobic capacity declines more quickly. Most older adults will see a decline of about 20% every 10 years starting around age 70.1 Fear not, however. Even if your maximal oxygen uptake is reduced, you are still capable of improving your aerobic fitness and of improving your muscle strength, balance, and flexibility.  

For example, this study on balance training in older adults found that regular balance and strength training was capable of restoring performance to a level like that of someone 3 to 10 years younger.3  

Not to mention, the power of exercise remains highly beneficial for the body and is often prescribed to older adults. In fact, this study found that “the life expectancy of active seniors was 3.8 years longer than that of their non-active peers.2 

Tip #3: Don’t allow yourself to believe that your age means you cannot be physically active. Many of our older members are living proof that age is just a number. Check out #3 of our Workout Excuses article to see exactly what we mean. Additionally, many workouts are tailored specifically to older adults who need a safe and gradual starting point. A doctor can help you make the right activity choices if you’re looking to take up exercise but have felt unable to do so. 

For more articles like this one, click to subscribe to our newsletter and receive monthly highlights from the LA Fitness blog! 

Sources

  1. Fleg, Jerome L., et al. “Accelerated Longitudinal Decline of Aerobic Capacity in Healthy Older Adults.” Circulation, 25 July 2005, https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.105.545459 
  2. Leyk, Dieter, et al. “Physical Performance in Middle Age and Old Age: Good News for Our Sedentary and Aging Society.” Deutsches Arzteblatt International, Deutscher Arzte Verlag, Nov. 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2999945/. 
  3. Wolfson, Leslie, et al. “Balance and Strength Training in Older Adults: Intervention Gains and Tai Chi Maintenance – Wolfson – 1996 – Journal of the American Geriatrics Society – Wiley Online Library.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (10.1111), 27 Apr. 2015, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1532-5415.1996.tb01433.x 
Is Keto for Everyone? | QA

Is Keto for Everyone? | QA

Question:

Is the Keto diet recommended for everyone?

-Kim

Answer:

NO. A ketogenic diet is one in which carbohydrates are severely restricted (nearly eliminated), fat consumption is high and protein intake is moderate-low. The body’s process of converting its metabolism to fat-burning ketosis is a survival mechanism when carbohydrate supply is inadequate and dietary fat is plenty. [It shouldn’t be confused with diabetic ketoacidosis which also produces ketones, but with extremely high blood sugar.] Despite its short-term effectiveness for weight loss, I rarely recommend a Keto diet. Looking at all the available evidence, my professional opinion is that such an extreme approach is in opposition to a sustainable eating style that supports the whole body across one’s entire lifetime.

Following a ketogenic diet can cause long-term adverse effects such as hepatic steatosis, hypoproteinemia, kidney stones, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies1. Since the ketogenic diet is very high in fat, those with gallbladder, kidney, liver, or pancreatic disease or problems with delayed gastric emptying should not follow it. Just as they shouldn’t be consuming a high sugar/refined carb diet, pregnant or nursing women also should not be on a keto diet. It may be ideal for certain populations, though. Healthcare practitioners may prescribe a classic or modified ketogenic diet for patients with epilepsy2. It may be prescribed for morbidly obese patients in the weeks leading up to bariatric surgery3 and for some patients with Type 2 Diabetes4.  

References: 

  1. Masood W, Uppaluri KR. Ketogenic Diet. [Updated 2019 Mar 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/ Accessed 12.26.2019 
  2. Roehl K, Sewak S. Practice Paper of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Classic and Modified Ketogenic Diets for Treatment of Epilepsy. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2017; 117:1279-1292. 
  3. Leonetti F, Campanile FC, Coccia F,et al. Very Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet Before Bariatric Surgery: Prospective Evaluation of a Sequential Diet. Obesity Surgery. 25, 64–71 (2015) doi:10.1007/s11695-014-1348-1 
  4. Azar ST, Beydoun HM, Albadri MR. Benefits of Ketogenic Diet For Management of Type Two Diabetes: A Review. Journal of Obesity & Eating Disorders. 2016; 2:2. doi: 10.21767/2471-8203.100022 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Member Spotlight | The Way to Wellness

Member Spotlight | The Way to Wellness

Be kind and gentle with yourself. In working out, praise yourself for what you were able to do.”

Ann B.

LA Fitness Member

Ann is an LA Fitness member who tells us she has always been on the heavy side. Partly after the emergence of some health problems, Ann began her movement towards weight loss.  

In the past 25 years, Ann has had 6 back surgeries, and again finds herself with 2 bulging discs. She joined the gym to build up strength in her body, especially her legs, hips, and arms. 2 mini strokes also left Ann with balance and endurance problems, yet this past fall she has already worked her way to losing 50 pounds! Her goal is to lose at least another 40 to 50 pounds. 

Read on to learn Ann’s story and to see how she determined that it was time to make a change. 


 

Emergency Surgery

In August of 2019, Ann underwent emergency surgery for a perforated bowel. While in the hospital for recovery, she rapidly lost 10 pounds. Upon returning home, her reduced appetite prompted even more weight loss: another 10 pounds.  

Seeing that she had lost 20 pounds, what was at first a scary situation became an opportunity for change. Now feeling better from her ordeal, Ann decided she would stick firmly to a 1200 calorie diet to start losing weight healthily. “I wasn’t exercising very much, so the weight was coming off slowly,” she shares. 

Despite her minimal exercise, the changes in her diet were helping. However, Ann still wanted to add activity to her life. 

I used to walk around the block everyday which equaled a mile with my walker. I can’t do that right now, so I was looking into finding a gym. I tried one I knew many people went to, but it was always too crowded, and I had to wait for machines. That’s not my cup of tea.  

I decided to look into LA Fitness. It is close to my home and things move right along. LA Fitness seemed to have what we needed. So, my husband and I became official members.” 

Finding Her Flow

“I feel better when I work out,” Ann says. The days she doesn’t, she feels like she’s just dragging through her day. Part of her transition to an active lifestyle, however, involved the need to find what worked for her body. If you recall, she has had her fair share of back pain and surgeries.  

“One day I over did it with some heavier weights and I had a painful back for four days. I need to find my comfort zone and stay there. I see others pushing themselves, and even though I want to, I know I can’t.” 

Ann’s experience with the heavier weights reminds us that even if we’re eager to make improvements, we can only do so by monitoring our progress with a critical eye. It’s important to ask yourself if your form is still good and if you are compromising your safety by trying to do too much before your body is ready. 

Ann’s Advice to You

We asked Ann, if she could give other gym-goers a piece of advice, what would it be? Her response was perfect: “Take care of yourself because no one else is going to. We are so busy taking care of others, we forget about ourselves. Be kind and gentle with yourself. In working out, praise yourself for what you were able to do.” 

We love this advice because not only do we agree on the importance of remembering to care for yourself, we also don’t think you have to keep up with everyone else in the gym. Your aim should simply be to challenge yourself to do better than you did in the past.  
 
Do you have an inspirational story you’d like to share with us? Email us at blog@lafitness.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming post! 

For grammatical correctness, length, and clarity, minor edits – none of which alter the original or intended meaning – have been made to the quotes provided. 

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