Energized, alert and well rested is a state of perfection but the daily stresses of a busy lifestyle gnaws away until suddenly there is little left to give. Fatigue prompts emotional and physical havoc on our brain, body and immune system, leaving us susceptible to all manner of ailments. It is churlish to suggest that a magical cure exists but small changes are manageable, sustainable and can offer a healthy foundation as opposed to quirky extreme measures; quality rather than quantity. Obvious perhaps, but in order in function effectively our body requires proper rest (sleep routine), regular exercise (walking, climbing the stairs) and healthy option foods throughout the day rather than grabbing a sugar hit or one-off ‘superfood’.

The current juicing craze appears to offer all manner of quick-fix goodness but juice should be a viewed only as a supplement and not in lieu of natural foods. Planned correctly, juices can support general health and be used to target specific needs such as boosting energy or the immune system but can also be responsible for weight gain, diabetes and dental problems. Like so many things in life, it is all about making considered, educated decisions.

Advocates claim juices and smoothies to be super-healthy and that they are an easy way of getting micro-nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants into the body, the juicer breaking down the cell structure, allowing faster absorption. Critics argue that the machinery, juicers and blenders are an expensive luxury and that using them removes essential dietary fiber. Fiber is important as it promotes beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, reducing constipation, lowering the risk of bowel cancer and is thought to play a role in a healthy immune system. Additionally, benefits of light sensitive nutrients such as Vitamin A and C will be greatly reduced in comparison to eating the whole fruit (or vegetable), that the juicing process results in sugary drinks as harmful as Cola, and going so far as calls for fruit juice to be removed as part of the 5 a-day.

Thankfully, life isn’t a regime but with everything we do or consume, there comes choice, the advice being to act with sensible caution and moderation and a maximum daily portion of 125ml; fruit juices are a concentrated form of fructose (natural sugar) which is healthy in small amounts but juicing fruit is a sure-fire way of consuming excessive quantities. For this reason alone, I’m not particularly fond of fruit juice and can honestly say that a smoothie has never passed my lips but instead enjoy a range of ‘green’ vegetable based juice as a morning energizer.

Cucumber, celery fennel, lemon juice and root ginger combine with an apple for a sweet flavour balance though not so much sugar as to outweigh potential benefits. A tasty combination providing a selection of nutrients that offer anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant functions to limit pollution induced cell damage. Cucumber is refreshing, it hydrates the body which is necessary for energy but is also an excellent source of silica which is important for strong hair and nails and the skins natural elasticity. Meanwhile, the sodium in celery is considered to be ‘safe’, even for those who are salt-sensitive and if this isn’t sufficient, the juice provides folates, folic acid an essential nutrient for DNA synthesis, cell division and the prevention of clustering of cancerous cells.

All sounding rather like a miracle cure? To really benefit, an almost obsessive quantity of dew-fresh juice must be consumed and as mentioned earlier, moderation is key but, this is by far a healthy, delicious way to start each day.

To make about 75ml of juice:

1 cucumber halved then quartered lengthways
½ bunch celery, branches well rinsed
1 fennel bulb, rinsed before slicing to fit juicer feed
1 large apple, cored & seeds removed before slicing
Juice of 1 lemon
about 1” root ginger, peeled

Follow the juice manufacturer’s instructions. Best consumed immediately, store surplus in the fridge.