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What's up, Joey? Getting the most out of your juice

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- For most health-conscious people out there, getting that daily glass of fruit and vegetable juice is the cornerstone of your diet, and businesses have taken note of that fact.

Sometimes it just takes too long to make that juice, so with other means of gaining nutrition like smoothies and shakes, everybody’s found different ways to indulge in this healthy offering. But not all juices are made equal, and there are a few things you should know if you want to make the most out of your daily dose.

The first thing is that sticking strictly with juice really up your nutrition.

“I believe it’s the easiest way to get the most amount of nutrients in the small amount without the fiber," explains Karen Odierna, owner of CROPJuice in Sarasota. "Because the fiber’s removed when you do a juice versus a blended drink. You can consume so many more nutrients in that serving of juice. You take a lot more veggies and fruit, probably one to two pounds, to make a 12-ounce bottle of juice.”

It’s important to drink raw, unpasteurized juices in order for your body to absorb all those precious nutrients and enzymes, but there’s still a little more to it than that. For most of you with juicers at home, there’s a big catch to making sure you’re getting the best results from these kinds of juicers, says Odierna.

“At home, when you typically use a centrifugal high-speed juicer, because of the high speed and the more violent process of juicing, a lot of air is spun into that process, and you can see that the juice actually looks foamy and frothy, and that process actually breaks down the nutrients much faster, so therefore if you do juice at home using a centrifugal juicer, it should be consumed immediately.”

But there is another, longer-lasting alternative to this method of juicing, called “cold-press juicing.”

“We use some crazy machines," admits Odierna. "It’s way more time-consuming. We use a hydraulic, two-step masticating, cold-press juicer system, and what we basically do is break down all the fruits and veggies and we have this great ball of pulp and we have to fold it into cloths, and then we gently extract all of that juice from the pulp. With that process, the juice stays more nutritionally intact, so therefore you have a shelf-life of three to four days, and it also makes the best-tasting juice we’ve ever tasted.”

But if you want to extend the shelf-life of any kind of juice you’ve made, remember to still use raw juices and also keep two more things in mind, says Odierna.

“Package in glass, which is very important for the quality of the juice, and nutrient-wise, and also bottling to the very top, so we package to the very top to decrease oxidation of the juice because air breaks down juice rapidly.”

Three Helpful Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Juice:

1. Use organic fruits and vegetables. When you press the produce, you’re squeezing all the nutrients into your drink glass. You don’t want to squeeze chemicals and pesticides as well!

2. Check the dates. Drink your juice when it’s fresh. In order to get the maximum number of nutrients and enzymes, you want to consume your juice as close to when it’s made as possible.

3. If you’re buying your juice from a juice bar, ask how many leafy greens are in each serving. Celery and apple are often used to “fill out” a juice, but they aren’t as nutrient-dense as green leafy vegetables.