The vibrant hues of fresh juices have captured consumer attention over recent years, not to mention a pretty substantial share of the health foods market. From juice bars to grocery store shelves lined with cold-pressed organic juice, the big question at this point is whether juice really deserves all the attention.
And the answer is yes, but with some exceptions.
Though juice has long been a staple at breakfast tables around the world, the practice of “juicing” evolved from its start in 1930s America with Dr. Max Gerson (more on that in a minute) to becoming a fitness staple in the 1970s.
Over the last decade, juicing has grown into a legitimate health practice, or craze, depending on how you look at it. Younger folk took it up with great enthusiasm.
The juicing “craze”
The “craze” part I’m referring to includes juice fads that promote using juice for fasting and detoxification or as a way to improve overall health and to speed up weight loss. Unfortunately, too many people started using juices as replacements for quality meals.
In reality, fad juice cleanses accomplish none of these things. Quite the opposite, in fact, because an all-juice diet for several days in a row (a weight loss trick touted by some celebrities) actually prompts your body to go into calorie-hoarding mode.
In addition, juices can be high in calories without actually providing the energy-prompting macronutrients you need to sustain daily biological processes. This is especially true if they’re heavy on fruit rather than vegetables. Fruit sugar is still sugar.
And that means it can encourage unhealthy sugar highs and lows. On top of that, you can feel terrible if the only thing you put in your body is juice.
Juicing for cancer treatment
That’s not to say juicing doesn’t have an important place in the world of cancer treatment. It’s one of the best ways to deliver a power punch of nutrients to your body, in the easiest way possible — in a single cup of freshly juiced produce.
That’s because juicing, at its simplest, is the practice of extracting all the juices out of fruits and vegetables into drinkable form, without including anything solid like fiber. That means the pulp, seed, and often skins of various whole fruits and vegetables get entirely left out of what’s consumed. And what gets consumed is typically a mixture of fruit and vegetables together, with the goal being to create a blend of optimal nutrients.
The first to popularize juicing as a cancer treatment in the United States was Dr. Max Gerson. He initially developed his juicing protocol as a treatment for his own migraines, but the Gerson Therapy™ eventually became a treatment for degenerative disease such as tuberculosis, diabetes and, of course, cancer.
What is Gerson Therapy™?
The Gerson Therapy™ floods the body with mega-doses of whole food nutrients, including critical vitamins, minerals and enzymes, from juicing about 15 to 20 pounds of organic produce a day, which comes down to about 13 glasses of juice after you subtract the fiber. Despite this, it’s important to note that even the Gerson Therapy™ relies on generous amounts of raw and cooked solid foods as well as supplements.
The the case for juicing is pretty easy to understand with an example. If you try eating one or two oranges, you’ll find you feel full. But to make eight ounces of orange juice you’ll likely use three or maybe even four oranges and not feel full. So, you’re getting far more vitamins and other nutrients than you would from eating the whole fruit.
“These substances (from the juices) then break down diseased tissue in the body,” explains The Gerson Institute website. “Oxygenation is usually more than doubled, as oxygen deficiency in the blood contributes to many degenerative diseases.”
But please be aware there’s a lot more to the Gerson Therapy than juicing. It uses “intensive detoxification to eliminate wastes, regenerate the liver, reactivate the immune system and restore the body’s essential defenses – enzyme, mineral and hormone systems.” Part of this detoxification process often strikes many people as very unusual. That’s because the Gerson Therapy™ relies on regular coffee enemas. However, coffee enemas, when given correctly, have decades of science behind them and were recommended in the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, the oldest continuously published medical textbook, up until 1972.
We have written extensively about the Gerson Therapy™ in many of the articles and books we publish here at Cancer Defeated. I’ve seen dozens of success stories from cancer sufferers who’ve visited a Gerson Clinic for treatment and/or used Gerson Therapy™ on their own to send even hopeless cancers into remission.
If you want to know more about the Gerson Therapy™, the Gerson Institute is the first place to start.
Juicing for cancer prevention
If you’re interested in juicing to prevent cancer, using just about any fruit or vegetable will give you an excellent dose of anti-cancer nutrients. However, these are some of the best to include in an anti-cancer juicing regimen:
- Citrus juices: Orange juice, lemon, or lime juice will give you a terrific Vitamin C boost and provide an acidic balance to some of the ultra-sweet flavors of other fruits. They’re also excellent with helping aid digestion. (Note: If you’re already undergoing some form of cancer treatment and have developed mouth sores, it’s recommended to sip the juice through a straw to keep the citrus acids out of contact with the lining of your mouth.)
- Cruciferous-based juices: Anything green you can add to your juice regimen will enhance the nutritional quality, and that’s especially true for the cruciferous family. Loaded with vitamin A and antioxidants, these foods also have phytonutrients which are known to decrease cancer risk. The best juicing options in this group are kale, spinach, bokchoy, collards, and cabbage.
- Carrot-based juices: Carrot juice is one of the all-time favorites of the juicing community—and the Gerson Therapy™— for good reason. The beta-carotene sets you up with vitamin A, and the nutrients in carrots lower your risk of stomach cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer. Carrot juice may also help mitigate the side effects of chemotherapy such as mouth ulcers and swelling.
- Beet juice: Beet juice has betalains, which are both responsible for giving beets their bright red color and for providing a full slate of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Beet juice also helps balance out the sweetness of fruit juices.
- Pomegranate juice: Though not as easy to come by, anything with pomegranate juice in it is going to offer you one of the highest levels of benefits-per-ounce, due mostly to the polyphenols found in this fruit. Polyphenols are chemical compounds that occur naturally and have distinct anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to suppress cancer growth.
Other fruits and vegetables that are popular in juicing blends are apples, pineapples, mangoes, acai, blueberries, and celery.
Although grapefruit is an excellent source of nutrition on its own, it’s not recommended in juice blends because it can interfere with the absorption and action of medications you may be taking.
What juicing is not…
Overall, juicing is an easy, efficient way to get the nutritional benefits of various fruits and vegetables. But a significant downside is that the juicing process strips the fiber out of the foods, and fiber is a super-nutrient in its own right.
So, you’d want to be sure to still eat whole foods along with your juicing regimen, to ensure you continue to get adequate amounts of fiber. Juicing shouldn’t be used as a meal replacement or as a primary route to weight loss, because you risk under-nourishing your body.
Juice is also low in protein, which is a vital macronutrient for building muscle mass or rebuilding cells lost during various treatment regimens, including chemotherapy. You can balance out this lack of protein by adding unflavored protein powder directly to your juice or by pairing it with nuts, a peanut butter sandwich, or Greek yogurt.
Not all juicers are created equal
Finally, a brief word about juicing machines. The two types of at-home juicers most commonly used are centrifugal juicers and masticating juicers.
With a centrifugal juicer, you feed produce into a container where it’s ground to a pulp and then spins at high speed, and that motion forces the juice away from the pulp. This is the cheaper home option, but the downside is that the high speeds can cause friction that heats the juices and results in loss of enzymes, lowering the overall nutritional content.
Masticating, or grinding, juicers work at lower speeds to keep the juice from picking up any heat, and they tend to yield more juice out of less produce. Some also include a cold press option (also called a hydraulic press) that helps extract the maximum amount of juice. And because they work slowly and more thoroughly, they’re able to extract more nutrients from the fibrous part of the produce into the juice.
But of course, they’re on the more expensive side, averaging $300 or more. This kind of juicer, the masticating juicer with a hydraulic press, is the kind recommended by the Gerson Institute.
- “Benefits of juicing during cancer treatment.”From Cancer Tutor, 29 June 2020.https://www.cancertutor.com/benefits-juicing-cancer-treatment/
- “Dangers and Side Effects of Juicing.”By Jessica Migala, 18 February 2020.https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/hold-kale-10-reasons-juicing-can-bad-your-health/
- “Gerson Therapy.” https://healnavigator.com/treatments/gerson-therapy/
- “Gerson Therapy Nutrition Necessities.”Posted by The Gerson Institute on Monday, March 2, 2020.https://gerson.org/gerpress/gerson-therapy-nutrition-necessities/
- “Healthy Juices if You Have Breast Cancer.” Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on May 19, 2020.https://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/healthy-juices-during-breast-cancer-treatment
- “How Can I Get the Benefits of Carrot Juice?” Medical News Today, November 19 2019. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320297#benefits
- “Smoothie Tips for People With Cancer.” Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on December 11, 2019. https://www.webmd.com/cancer/smoothie-tips-for-people-with-cancer#1