5 Reasons to Drink Green Juice if You Have a Leaky Gut
August 13th, 2018
Are you struggling with leaky gut symptoms such as brain fog, mood imbalances, digestive issues, chronic fatigue, or autoimmune disease? Well, you’re not alone! Leaky gut is a major source of inflammation in millions of people around the world–and many don’t even know they have it! In my practice, I’ve witnessed thousands of patients recover from leaky gut and eliminate their symptoms after making simple changes to their diet and lifestyle, which is why I recommend drinking green juice as a part of the overall 4R program to repairing your gut. In fact, juicing may be one of the most effective (and delicious!) ways to overcome leaky gut! Let’s take a look at what makes juicing unique, and then dive into the benefits of drinking green juice for leaky gut.
Juicing vs. Smoothies: What’s the Difference?
When it comes to juicing, a question I hear all the time is: how is juicing different from making a smoothie? Juicing uses an extraction process to press the juice out of fruit and/or vegetables, leaving the “pulp” behind. Cold pressed juice or juice powders from air or drum-dried ingredients are the best, as they retain more of the nutrients than other methods.
Smoothies, on the other hand, blend the whole fruits and vegetables together, so no pulp remains as a byproduct. This means you get all the benefits of fiber and healthy fats (if you like to use avocados or coconut in your smoothies!). Plus, smoothies are a convenient way to add protein and collagen to your diet.
So is one better for you than the other? The simplest answer is: it depends. Juicing tends to get a bad rap because the store-bought varieties are usually loaded with sugar. However, by choosing the right kind of juice, you can get all of the benefits without any of the drawbacks.
If you are dealing with leaky gut or other gastrointestinal issues, juicing might be the way to go and I’ll explain why below. For most people, however, a combination of smoothies and juicing would give you the best of both worlds. That’s why I love using an organic greens powder, which you can put in your smoothies or use to whip up a green juice in seconds!
The Benefits of Drinking Green Juice for Leaky Gut
1. Helps Reduce Inflammation
Juicing is a powerful weapon against leaky gut because of the high concentration of antioxidants and polyphenols in green juice. This is one advantage juicing has over smoothies. Whereas you might put a cup or two of greens in your smoothie, to extract enough liquid to make a juice–especially from leafy greens–you need a TON of produce. Juicing ensures you’re getting an abundance of phytonutrients to help combat inflammation in your gut.
2. Boosts the Immune System
The concentrated vitamins and minerals in juice have a positive, modulating effect on your immune system. This is super important because toxins, undigested food particles, and microbes that escape into your bloodstream when you have a leaky gut can cause an immune reaction–and even lead to autoimmunity! Green juice contains raw vegetable enzymes that give your immune system a much-needed boost, helping you overcome the chronic symptoms associated with leaky gut.
3. Reduces Your Digestive Burden
Another reason why juicing is the optimal choice for repairing a leaky gut is because the juicing process removes much or all of the fiber from fruits and vegetables. Although essential for gut health, many people with GI distress have a tough time digesting fiber, as they lack the proper enzymes to do so. Unlike smoothies, green juice will not cause the bloating or discomfort associated with a high-fiber meal. For this reason, you may find that juicing is gentler on your system than smoothies.
4. Rich in Bioavailable Nutrients
Nutrient malabsorption is a common symptom of leaky gut. As I mentioned above, if you lack digestive enzymes, it can be difficult for your body to break down foods properly in order to absorb their nutrients. With juicing, the foods are already broken down in a way that makes their nutrients easier to absorb and more bioavailable. Your body can use these bioavailable nutrients quickly and efficiently, speeding up your recovery from leaky gut!
5. Rebuilds Intestinal Wall
Good news for all the broccoli lovers out there! Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have been shown to reduce digestive issues caused by leaky gut, improve gut barrier function, promote a healthy balance of friendly bacteria in your microbiome, and enhance immune function. This may be due to chemical compounds known as indole glucosinolates, found in cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kale. These compounds break down into indolocarbazole in your gut, which activates the Aryl hydrocarbon receptor in your intestinal lining. The action of this receptor can help reduce inflammation in the gut lining, seal your leaky gut, and prevent gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn’s and certain types of cancer.1
To take advantage of these benefits, you’d need to eat the equivalent of 3 ½ cups of broccoli per day. Eating this much broccoli each day could be difficult even for those without leaky gut. And if you have digestive issues, this amount of “roughage” would be extremely challenging on your gut! However, getting this amount of broccoli in a green juice would not be difficult at all, and would take no effort for your body to assimilate.
Tips for Choosing a High-Quality Green Juice
Not all juice is created equal. If you want to the benefits of green juice without any of the drawbacks, use the following tips to navigate the wide world of juicing:
- Steer clear of sugary store-bought juices. Pre-bottled juices in the refrigerated section of your grocery store might seem to be a convenient–even “healthy”–option. However, buyer beware! Many store-bought varieties contain upwards of 20, 30, or even 40 grams of sugar per serving, and each bottle tends to be at least 2 servings. Make sure to always read the labels before you buy to avoid an intense blood sugar spike.
- Choose juice made with organic produce. Juicing concentrates huge amounts of produce into a very small liquid portion. It’s one reason why juices are so high in antioxidants! That also means if you buy juice NOT made from organic produce, you’re getting exposed to extremely concentrated amounts of pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins found in conventionally grown foods. Go organic whenever possible.
- Avoid plastic cups or bottles. Another reason to stay away from store-bought juice is because they are often stored in plastic bottles, or served in plastic cups at the juice bar. Chemicals from the plastic can leach into your juice and cause all sorts of health issues, including estrogen dominance.
- Make your own homemade juice. This is by far the safest route when it comes to juicing, as you can buy your own organic produce and know exactly what is going into your juice while steering clear of plastics and other contaminants. The only drawback to making your own green juice is that it can be very time consuming, messy, and expensive.
That’s why I love Clean Greens™ Superfood Juice Powder! Clean Greens™ is an easy way to get all the benefits of green juice without the expensive juicer or spending loads of time and money keeping your fridge stocked with fresh, organic produce. Plus, using a greens powder can prevent the blood sugar spikes that juice can cause, especially if you use fruit to balance out your green juice. And it takes only seconds to make! Simply stir Clean Greens™ into a glass of water with ice, or toss a scoop into your smoothie for the best of both worlds!
Have you tried drinking green juice for leaky gut? Share your experience in the comments below!