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The Key Ingredient Your Green Juice Is Missing

It's no wonder green juices are so popular: They're nutritional powerhouses loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. What could be a more perfect way to get more nutrient-rich, plant-based foods into our daily diet than a bottle of organic green juice? But here's the catch: Most green drinks are missing one important ingredient -- healthy fat.

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Healthy fat helps us absorb vitamins. The vitamins A, K and E -- plentiful in green juices -- are fat-soluble, which means fatty acids need to be present in order for the body to absorb these vitamins (as well as certain minerals). So if you're not drinking that green juice with a little bit of healthy fat, you might not be effectively absorbing all those nutrients that have been so carefully cold-pressed into that $10 bottle.

Examples of foods containing healthy fatty acids:
Chia seeds
Hemp hearts
Avocado (or avocado oil)
Virgin coconut oil

Soak a teaspoon or two of chia seeds in your juice, or toss back a handful of nuts with it: They both offer healthy fats, protein and fiber. If you're juicing at home, add a teaspoon of avocado oil, or just take your daily fish-oil supplement with it. A little bit of fat will go a long way to help you absorb those fat-soluble vitamins.

[Read More: 8 Must-Have Veggies for Building Muscle]

Don't have nuts or chia seeds and want a green juice? Don't worry. Our bodies only need a small amount of the fat-soluble vitamins, and the liver stores them for later use (unlike the water-soluble vitamins that need to be replenished more frequently).

If you're a regular green-juice drinker, don't fret if you don't have healthy fat every single time. Your liver probably stored those vitamins from your last green juice. You'll still be getting other important vitamins and nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium. 

Healthy fat keep us satisfied longer and stabilizes blood sugar. Juicing removes the fiber -- which can be both good and bad.

The good: You can easily consume two to three pounds of plant-based foods that have been juiced (likely too much fiber for most people to eat that amount raw and whole).

[Read More: How to Build Any Smoothie Like a Boss]

The bad: Because it lacks fiber, juice can lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes (especially the more fruit your juice contains). So having a little fat (or fiber) with your green juice can help to keep your blood sugar more level and will keep you satiated longer. So if you find yourself ravenously hungry an hour after a green juice, try adding in some chia seeds the next time around.

Go organic. Because the average green juice can contain as much as two to three pounds of plant-based foods, it's worth every penny to pony up for the organic version. Otherwise, you could be getting quite a pesticide hit with your juice. 

Fat is not a four-letter word. Just remember: Healthy fat is your friend. In addition to helping us absorb the fat-soluble vitamins, fatty acids stabilize our blood sugar, help to control hunger hormones and much more.

So go ahead and jump on the green-juice trend. Just make sure to spend the extra money on organic ingredients and maximize the nutritional benefits with a little healthy fat whenever possible.


Readers -- Did you know that you need to consume healthy fats with your juice? How do you get healthy fats into your diet? Do you use any of the fats mentioned in the article? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Sara Vance is a nutritionist and author of the book The Perfect Metabolism Plan. A regular guest on local San Diego television stations, Sara also offers consultations, corporate nutrition, school programs and online courses. 

Visit her blog and download her free e-book at and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


Fat Soluble Vitamins A, D, K & E.

WH Foods: Kale.

Dietary fat is necessary for absorption of vitamins, nutrients and phytochemicals from fruits and vegetables


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