I drink green juice every day for its recognised health benefits. On our retreats, we serve it twice daily. On hearing that the world’s youngest female billionaire attributes her ability to work 16 hour days, 7 days a week to her “green juice habit”, budding entrepreneurs worldwide perhaps ought to sit up and take notice of this powerful elixir to gain their competitive edge.
It’s true; the founder of Theranos, 30 year old vegan Elizabeth Holmes (a Stanford dropout who is currently worth $4.5 billion), is a green juice fan: she drinks juices made from wheatgrass, celery and cucumber instead of the more ubiquitous coffee – the addiction of so many. And like all others in the know about this approach, she feels the benefits.
So why would green juice be just as appropriate for the boardroom CEO as for those wishing to generally upgrade their lifestyle, or, indeed, overcome serious illness? It’s pretty simple really.
Firstly, green juice is hydrating; more so than plain water. Every part of the body works better when it’s fully hydrated, including that rather miraculous organ – your brain. If you try to “hydrate” yourself with coffee, you’re going to fail. Sure, it will stimulate you for a time, but the downward trend will become noticeable eventually, and it won’t end well. You’ll need more and more coffee to achieve the same stimulatory effect, and you’ll ultimately exhaust yourself. You’ll also degrade your bones (see my latest book Love Your Bones for more on this).
Back to brains – the brain just can’t work properly if it’s dehydrated. Women, especially, are sensitive to dehydration, and their brains are worse affected than men’s. Dehydration makes us more prone to rapid drop-off in energy and mood. The dehydrated brain also has to use a lot more energy to accomplish the same tasks, according to researchers at King’s College London. A similar study from the University of Connecticut found that you actually perceive mental tasks to be more difficult when you’re dehydrated, even if your performance doesn’t suffer.
Next, green juice can stabilise blood sugar. The “juicing vs blending” debate will no doubt run on, but the arguments against juicing generally state that because juicing removes the fibre, drinking juice will cause a sudden surge in blood sugar, with a corresponding insulin spike, then the risk of rebound hypoglycaemia – not a happy state of affairs. This is likely to be true if you’re juicing fruit or sweet vegetables (neither of which I ever recommend).
Proper green juice which is made from low-glycaemic produce, and contains protein-rich sprouted foods such as sunflower greens and pea shoots, will not spike the blood sugar. Indeed, the protein content of the sprouts ensures that blood sugar is regulated, which in turn ensures better brain function; protein helps to pull sugar into the cells so that it can be used for energy. If the supply of glucose to the brain drops, as in hypoglycaemia, the brain’s ability to produce neurotransmitters also falls off sharply. This gives people a “spaced out” feeling, fatigue or poor concentration at best, but for those with pre-existing mental health problems such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety or addiction, the signs can be severely exacerbated.
Nutrients in green juice can literally feed your brain. Magnesium is important for blood sugar regulation, and green juices are very high in magnesium, thanks to the chlorophyll content of the greens (magnesium is the central ion in the chlorophyll molecule). If you add blue-green algae to your juice, you could enjoy better brain function, since the fats present in fresh and seawater algae are considered to have a high conversion rate to DHA and EPA in the body – two essential fats which the brain relies upon.
Equally importantly, green juice also contains vital antioxidants which mop up harmful free radicals – a known source of damage to all body tissues, and one of the major contributors to “brain ageing”. To quote a study published over 10 years ago in Clinical Geriatric Medicine: “Increasing evidence demonstrates that accumulation of oxidation of DNA, proteins, and lipids by free radicals are responsible for the functional decline in aged brains. Also, lipid peroxidation products, such as MDA, HNE, and acrolein, were reported to react with DNA and proteins to produce further damage in aged brains.” Summary for the non-scientific – free radicals are bad and they rot your brain.
So there you have it – if you want to experience better brain and body function for whatever reason (from high-flying entrepreneurs to people wishing to maximise their brain function into older age), get yourself into the green juice habit. You might not be, or wish to be, the next Elizabeth Holmes, but your body will love you for it just the same. For more brain-boosting tips, grab my audio Feeding the Brain from my website. Happy green juice day!