The flu season is upon us. As illnesses spread, many people look for ways to stay healthy or get over sickness more quickly. Juicing has become a popular health trend in recent years. Proponents claim it provides nutrients that boost immunity and fight off viruses like the flu. But is juicing actually an effective flu remedy?
What is Juicing?
Juicing refers to extracting the liquid from fruits and vegetables. A juicer machine squeezes out the juice while removing the solids, such as skin, seeds, and pulp. The resulting juice contains most of the vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals from the produce. However, the fiber content is dramatically reduced when juicing.
Juice cleanses have become popular as short-term detox diets. They typically involve drinking only fresh vegetable and fruit juices for 3-7 days. Some people also do juice fasts lasting up to 30 days. Proponents claim this floods the body with nutrients while giving the digestive system a rest.
Potential Benefits of Juicing for the Flu
There are several theoretical ways juicing could help combat the flu:
- Increased nutrient intake – Produce juices are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Flooding your system with these nutrients may boost immunity.
- Easy to digest – The lack of fiber makes juices easier to consume when sick. Digestion requires less energy.
- Hydration – Drinking juiced produce provides fluids, which are helpful when feverish.
- Detoxification – Cleansing the body is thought to eliminate toxins and rev up the immune system.
- Rest for digestion – Not eating solid foods gives the GI tract a break to focus energy on healing.
While these ideas make sense in theory, research has not confirmed that juicing is an effective flu remedy.
Potential Downsides of Juicing for the Flu
There are also some potential downsides to consuming juice when sick with the flu:
- Less protein and calories – Produce juices lack protein and are low in calories. This may not provide enough energy for recovery.
- Blood sugar spikes – The natural sugars in fruit juices can cause blood glucose spikes without fiber to slow absorption.
- Loss of beneficial fiber – Fiber has many health benefits and aids digestion. Removing it eliminates these perks.
- Reduced immunity – Some studies link fresh juice consumption to lower immune function compared to whole fruits and vegetables.
- Gastrointestinal issues – The high sugar and lack of fiber in juices may cause diarrhea when fluids need to be retained.
More research is necessary to fully understand how juicing impacts recovery from influenza.
Juicing vs. Eating Whole Produce
There is debate over whether juicing is better than simply eating whole fruits and vegetables. Here is a comparison:
|Juicing||Eating Whole Produce|
Both juicing and eating fruits and veggies have advantages and disadvantages. Current evidence does not show juicing to be better than a healthy solid diet for immunity.
Best Fruits and Vegetables to Juice
If you want to juice when ill, focus on ingredients with the most nutrients and antioxidants:
|Pomegranate||Vitamin C, vitamin K||Anthocyanins, tannins|
|Blueberries||Vitamin C, manganese||Anthocyanins|
|Carrots||Vitamin A, vitamin K||Beta-carotene, polyphenols|
|Spinach||Folate, magnesium||Lutein, flavonoids|
|Broccoli||Vitamin C, potassium||Sulforaphane, kaempferol|
|Kale||Vitamin C, vitamin K||Quercetin, isothiocyanates|
Focus on lowering sugar content by limiting high-glycemic fruits like oranges and apples. Include anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger and turmeric as well.
Juice Recipes to Help Fight the Flu
Here are some juice recipe ideas that provide immune-boosting nutrients:
Immunity Booster Juice
- 1 inch fresh ginger
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 small beet
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 kale leaf
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 orange, peeled
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 inch fresh turmeric
- 1 teaspoon honey
Green Flu Fighter
- 1 cucumber
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 cup kale leaves
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1 lemon, peeled
- 1 inch ginger
Feel free to mix up combinations with your favorite fruits and veggies. Go easy on sweeter produce to keep sugar moderate.
Should You Juice While Recovering From the Flu?
Here are some things to consider about juicing to recover from the flu:
- Juicing won’t cure the flu – Rest and medication are still needed for recovery.
- It may provide an extra nutrient boost – Flooding your system with vitamins can support healing.
- Whole fruits and veggies may be just as beneficial – Fiber has advantages juicing lacks.
- Hydration is crucial – Juice provides fluids when sick with the flu.
- Watch sugar intake – Limit high-glycemic ingredients to avoid blood sugar spikes.
- Consult your doctor – Make sure juicing is appropriate for your situation.
Current evidence is insufficient to confirm whether juicing speeds up recovery from the flu. But juices can provide convenient nutrients if you have trouble eating solid foods when sick. Focus on low-sugar ingredients and stick to a couple servings per day. Juicing should complement other self-care strategies, not replace them.
Juicing is touted as a way to flood the body with nutrients and arm the immune system against the influenza virus. In theory, juicing may help by providing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and hydration. However, there is limited evidence that juicing provides significant benefits over eating whole fruits and vegetables when recovering from the flu.
If juicing, choose ingredients with high antioxidant and vitamin contents, such as pomegranate, blueberries, kale, and spinach. Avoid loading up on sugar by limiting fruits like oranges and apples. Juice in moderation and focus on rest and medication as well. Talk to your doctor to see if juicing is right for your situation. While juice cannot cure the flu, it may provide a convenient nutrient boost when solid foods are unappealing.