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The heat is off

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Whether you’re a juice enthusiast or a keen cook, cold-pressing is the secret to maximising the potential of your ingredients

Health fads come and go, but once in a while we stumble upon a diet trend worth knowing about. And, right now, thatís the cold-press movement. 

Don’t get us wrong, it’s not that new… but it’s what everyone’s talking about right now. 

We all know it’s important to eat our five-a-day, to exercise regularly and to limit indulgences to occasional treats rather than everyday occurrences. That’s a no-brainer. But if you want to step up your wellbeing game, it’s the finer details that really count. 

The way ingredients are prepared is just as important as the ingredients themselves. If you rely on heat to prepare your ingredients, you could be doing your food a disservice: high temperatures can destroy valuable enzymes whose job it is to break down food and help you to absorb nutrients. Without sufficient numbers of these enzymes, nasty symptoms such as digestive disorders, allergies and low energy levels can kick in. 

Off the heat

So what’s the solution to enjoying great-tasting ingredients while preserving nutritional quality? One (hyphenated) word: cold-pressing. Everyone’s at it! Just as the name suggests, cold-pressing involves pressing or grinding an ingredient without the use of heat to unlock its nutritional benefits. 

‘This revolutionary method helps to retain the highest level of nutrients, vitamins and minerals,’ says Phillip Maddocks, managing director of cold-pressed juice company B.Fresh (b-fresh.co.uk). So it’s no wonder that cold-pressed products have gained an impressive following from the likes of athletes, supermodels and celebrities. 

Raising the juice bar

Let’s start with juice. There’s a juice, and then there’s a cold-pressed juice. While the pre-packaged supermarket varieties are usually pasteurised (heat-treated to kill potentially harmful bacteria), cold-pressed juices are not, and chugging back one of these cold-pressed concoctions is a fast and easy way to lock in the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. The juice is bottled and sealed, then placed in water and subjected to a high-pressure process, where pressure up to 10 times that felt by the deepest ocean bed is applied. The result is a nutrient-rich juice with a shelf life of around three days. 

While there’s a whole range of cold-pressed juices available, many diet-savvy consumers are looking to test the waters at home, too. In fact, earlier this year British kitchenware retailer Lakeland reported
a 275 per cent week-on-week increase in smoothie and juicer sales compared with last year. But be warned: a
cold-pressed juicer comes with a hefty price tag. So, what’s the difference? ‘Unlike cold-pressed juicers, mainstream juicers – known as centrifugal juicers – use high-speed blades that tear apart the produce,’ explains health coach Gloria Halim (rockondivas.com). ‘This process
adds heat and air, which breaks down some of the nutrients and enzymes, meaning you get less goodness in your juice.’ 

So it’s worth splashing out. Try BioChef’s Slow Juicer (£199, lakeland.co.uk). This domestic gadget does an impressive job of ensuring the maximum nutrients make it into your glass. 

Liquid gold

When it comes to oils, cold-pressed varieties are in a league of their own. These mega-healthy oils are made by pressing and grinding ingredients through presses at a low temperature (below 49°C) in order to keep flavour and nutritional content in tact. ‘Cold-pressed oils are made by pushing the produce through large meshes to extract their oils,’ says Charlotte Watts, nutritional therapist and author ofThe De-Stress Effect (charlottewattshealth.com). ‘As oils and fats are easily damaged by heat, this retains their health benefits. Try to choose cold-pressed oils and oil supplements, such as evening primrose oil, to receive more antioxidants.’ Take healthy eating to the next level with
our cold-pressed best buys, (right).

More trends worth trying

1 Packing in the veg

Flexitarians or semi-vegetarians limit the amount of animal products in their diet, preferring to eat a mainly plant-based diet instead.

The benefits: A 2013 study in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that vegetarians live longer than non-vegetarians. And those who eat a veg-heavy diet are also thought to have a lower incidence of disease, probably because of the naturally protective nature of plant-based foods.

2 Cleansing

A short-term cleanse, where you shun sugar and processed foods in favour of guzzling down around four freshly made juices a day is a popular pre-holiday diet choice.

The benefits: A good detox will provide noticeable results in just a few days. Youíll feel cleaner on the inside and look better on the outside. Expect glowing skin, better digestion and a generally improved mood.

3 Going raw 

Raw food is essentially food that hasn’t been processed, treated or cooked above 42°C. Fruits and vegetables are often dehydrated, and grains and pulses are sprouted.

The benefits: Just like cold-pressing, going raw helps you get the most nutrition out of food by limiting ingredientsí exposure to heat.

4 Growing your own

Turn part of your garden into a veggie patch or grow some grub on your kitchen windowsill.

The benefits: Some organic food has been shown to have a higher number of nutrients compared with non-organic. Growing your own is also fun and can save you money.

5 Cutting out gluten

Gluten-free diets are currently doing the rounds, with gluten-free restaurants and free-from products popping up everywhere. Cutting out gluten is only recommended if you suspect you have an intolerance.

The benefits: Eliminating gluten from your diet could  help to turn around digestive issues such as bloating and discomfort after eating. Find out if you have a problem with gluten by cutting out suspect foods for a couple of weeks.

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