Spring is just around the corner, which means a greater variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables will be available for purchase very soon. The emergence of spring also marks a great opportunity to do some ‘spring cleansing,’ getting rid of the toxins built up over the winter and making room for the fresh nutrients that smoothies and juices can provide for you.
So what is the best route to go? Should you Juice or Blend?
The wonderful part of either option is that they are both tasty.
It’s well-established that increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables is good for you. The more fruits and vegetables you consume, the greater the benefits! Juicing or blending fruits and vegetables into smoothies can be one easy way to get your daily servings in.
There’s a lot of talk these days about the health benefits of juicing and blending. But what’s the difference?
Juicing is a process where the liquid part of the fruit or vegetable is separated from the pulp, or fiber. You get a thin and concentrated liquid product that contains vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients, which are bioactive plant-derived compounds associated with positive health effects. You specifically need a juicer to do this.One can get many calories from sugar in that one cup of juice. Juicing can also be more expensive, as you have to use a greater volume of produce.
With blending, the whole fruit or vegetable is used: what you put in the blender is what you consume. The volume of the drink, which is often called a smoothie, will be much greater than that of a juice made from the same amount of fruits or vegetables. With smoothies you retain the fiber, which can help you feel fuller and improve your digestive health. In addition, you can add other types of foods to smoothies like nuts, seeds, and yogurts to increase your intake of healthy protein and fats.
Why is fibre important?
- Smooths out digestion and absorption of glucose and fats in the small intestine. It reduces the Glycaemic Index of a meal.
- Provides fuel for the healthful or “good” bacteria in our large intestine, which in turn benefit us by making vitamin B12 and by releasing volatile fatty acids from the dietary fibre, which are important for the health of our colon.
- Speeds up transit though the intestines to remove waste and toxins from our bodies.
- Regulates bowel action, thereby reducing cancer risks.
Anyways, there are pros and cons to both juicing and blending.
So if you are solely choosing to juice, you must be sure to get your fibre intake from other foods, such as broccoli, spinach, sprouts, quinoa, chia seeds etc.
With juicing, nutrients are absorbed more quickly because the digestive system does not have to work as hard, so all of those lovely vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Juices usually contain a lot of sugar and because they have no fibre, can lead to a spike in blood sugar followed by a crash. This isn’t the case with smoothies, since fibre creates a steady release of sugar which leads to sustainable energy rather than a quick spike and crash.The best way to tackle this sugar issue (which can cause blood sugar spikes, energy dips, and cravings) is to add a minimal amount of fruit, if any, to your juice, and to add protein and/or fat to your drink.
Either process can help you to increase your fruit and vegetable intake and create less waste in the kitchen.
Some tips for juicing and/or blending:
- To prevent excess sugars, limit the fruit in both juices and smoothies to 1-2 servings per drink (i.e. ½ cup to 1 cup fruit)
- Green veggies like kale, spinach, parsley, and cabbage surprisingly do not taste very intense in smoothies or juice, so load up on those!
- Citrus, lime juice in particular, can help to cut out any bitter taste from vegetables (remember to remove the peels)
- When juicing, high water content vegetables like cucumbers and celery will help to add volume and nutrients
- When blending smoothies, add regular or coconut water to make it less pulpy.
- Add chia seeds, nuts etc to your juice for a satisfying texture plus protein and fat to cushion the impact of any sugars and keep your energy high and stable.
At the end of the day, we are all individuals. Our bodies all react differently to the choices we make, so what works well for someone may not work at all for another. You could always play around with having either throughout the day. During this time, be mindful of how your body feels and reacts to your mixtures.
Happy blending and juicing!