Actress and health fiend Gwyneth Paltrow reportedly puts her two children on juice cleanses from time to time. But should you?
Juice “cleansing” is not new but, in the last couple of years, the fad has picked up in Singapore, with more and more people juicing their own fruit and veggies at home, or buying pre-bottled, vitamin- and mineral-packed elixirs that claim to rid the body of toxins, restore energy, and even help with weight loss and bloat.
The new year is an especially popular time for many to embark on a healthier diet, and this may include a few consecutive days of juice “detoxing” or replacing one or two meals a day with fresh juice.
GOOD OR BAD?
According to Susie Rucker, a nutritional therapist at Body With Soul, juices can be healthy for children, but it’s not a good idea to replace their meals with it or put them on a juice fast for any number of days, as this is not nutritionally sound.
Some children may also not be able to tolerate drinking large amounts of juice and may experience diarrhoea as a result. Instead, she advises giving them fresh juice as part of a balanced diet.
“Juice cleanses – the way many adults do them – are not necessary and not healthy for young children,” Susie says. “If your whole family has indulged too much during the festive season, there’s nothing wrong with cutting back when all the feasting is over, but a more sensible way would be to reduce your kids’ intake of refined starches like pasta, bread and white rice, red meat and sugar.
“Add more salads to their meals or give them nutritious soups with lean meat and vegetables. This is a much healthier way to give their digestive system a break from all the feasting and get their good eating habits back on track.”
When juicing for kids, it’s important to prepare them the right way for the most nutritional benefit. “It’s a good idea to invest in a slow-juicing machine – one that juices the fruit and veggies, but also leaves some fibre and pulp,” she says.
“The fibre is healthy, so you don’t want to throw it out. Not only is it good for their digestion, but it also adds bulk to the juice so your kids will feel full on less.”
The average child will probably turn his nose up at the green juices that adults like to drink. Susie suggests a more palatable version, made from celery, cucumber, baby spinach and lemon, naturally sweetened with some green apple, a few blueberries or young coconut water.
In general, you want to limit the amount of fruit juice your child drinks, since these are high in fructose and can cause his blood sugar levels to spike and crash.
When buying pre-made or bottled juices, Susie says to buy cold-pressed or non-pasteurised juices that contain no sugar or preservatives. These are nutritionally superior to the juices that contain sugar and other additives, or those that have been sitting on the supermarket shelf for weeks.
“Most bottled juices look innocent enough – so check the ingredients on the label before buying,” she adds.
Delicious smoothie recipes for kids