The major advantage of juicing is that it can help increase intake of fruits and vegetables that you otherwise may not have been eating.

Fresh juice is tastier and more nutritious than prepared, bottled juices because commercial juice is treated with heat to kill germs, which makes it safe for storage but alters taste and lowers nutritional value.

Fresh squeezed citrus juice will retain more of the fruits health benefits, which can include lowering levels of inflammation and decreasing risks of heart disease.

Another cardiovascular benefit of vegetable juicing is dietary intake of inorganic nitrates. Our bodies produce nitrates but dietary intake can increase systemic levels dramatically. Leafy greens and some other vegetables, like beets, are rich in them. When we swallow these nitrate-rich vegetables, they are rapidly absorbed in our GI tracts and are converted to nitric oxide (NO). For instance, one serving of lettuce, spinach, or beetroot contains more nitrate than what is generated by our bodies over a day.

NO causes our arteries to relax (which reduces blood pressure) and reduces blood platelet aggregation (reducing risk of clotting) and reduces formation of plaque along our arteries.

Kate Maurer, PA-C is a Physicians Assistant practicing in Portland, Maine. Her passion is to educate her patients about the connections between nutrition, lifestyle and their overall well being.