Juicing offers a range of health benefits for the body, mind and spirit. While cooking and processing food changes its chemical composition, juicing helps to distil vitamins and minerals for rapid absorption and maximum nutritional value. It also makes getting your daily recommended servings of vegetables a little easier.

Juicing does take some time, planning and patience, but the health benefits can be phenomenal. Here’s how to get started:

1. Buying a juicer. Don’t make the mistake of purchasing the cheapest juicer you can find; go for a quality mid-range priced single-geared juicer.

2. The best juicing foods. The best way to begin is by juicing vegetables that you already like. While any vegetable or fruit can be juiced, the best choices include organic, pesticide-free selections of the following:

Lettuce
Spinach
Kale
Chard
Carrots
Celery
Collard Greens
Cucumber (skinless)
Cabbage
Asparagus
Green Beans

You can also add herbs to your juices, including:

Ginger
Parsley
Cilantro

Fruits are typically used sparingly in juicing, although adding lemon, lime and cranberries can help to balance out the bitter flavor of certain greens. Other fruits to add for sweeter results include:

Apples
Pineapple (skinless)
Pomegranate
Blueberries
Citrus fruits

Basic juice recipe ideas:

Healthy Green Juice

1 cup Spinach
1 cup Kale
3 Carrots
1 Cucumber, peeled
1 Apple (optional)
1 whole Lime or 1/2 Lemon

If you love the taste of ginger, here’s a tasty sweeter juice recipe:

Apple Ginger Carrot Juice 

2 Apples
4 Carrots
1 inch Ginger root, peeled

Most veggies can be juiced unpeeled, except for pineapple, cucumber and those with very tough skins.

Many people report feeling more energy, clarity and overall health once they’ve started juicing regularly. Experiment with different combinations and flavor blends, and enjoy the cleansing and energizing effects of juicing in your own life.