Do you drink greens?
If you’re getting your greens by drinking them, attaining your daily needs for certain nutrients is that much easier. Did you know that consuming greens alone, away from other foods is the most ideal way to maximize nutrient absorption? If you are drinking your green drinks with proteins or starches, you could be absorbing far less nutrients than you previously thought. Here’s why.
Why you want to consume your green drinks on an empty stomach
When you drink greens alone, they travel down to the small intestine where they are readily absorbed by the tiny villi or finger-like projections. When they are consumed with a meal, competition occurs. The larger the meal, the longer the digestive process takes. And, the larger the meal, the more competition that is occurring for nutrient absorption. If you consume those nutrient-packed green drinks with say, a chicken breast sandwich, it becomes a lot less likely that you will experience the maximum benefits from the drink had you consumed it alone.
Probiotics, or, beneficial bacteria play a big role here too. While they of course need “prebiotics” or their own food source, probiotics will end up consuming most of the nutrients if you end up consuming the juice with food.
Now that you are drinking that green juice alone, the question is, how many sweet fruits are you adding to it? When juiced, all of that fructose found in fruit can affect insulin levels quite dramatically. Big fluctuations in insulin levels often cause “crash” or a feeling of big energy with a fast plummet resulting in fatigue and sometimes headaches. The other major downside to adding too many sweet fruits to green juices? Weight gain. Too much insulin can lead to weight retention– most likely not your intended goal for drinking green drinks! Limit your green drink to one sweet fruit per drink or even half of a sweet fruit such as an organic Granny Smith apple.
If you just can not seem to have that juice alone though, the most ideal food to consume along with a juice would be a green salad. The downside of this scenario is that many folks can not handle the fiber from salad along with their juice. And too many “cold” foods at once can actually disrupt the digestive process. Your most ideal, nutrient maximizing opportunity is to drink your green juice on an empty stomach either in the morning or early day. Consuming your juice approximately 30 to 60 minutes before eating additional food is optimal for nutrient absorption.
And remember, juice is not a meal replacement (unless fasting). While juicing certainly helps you get your daily intake of nutrients, consider it more like taking a supplement, a more bioavailable form of a supplement. Enjoy!