We’ve all heard about the health benefits of smoothies and juices. But which one is better for you? What are the pros and cons of each? Is it really worth it to buy a juicer?
As it turns out, each is beneficial in its own way. Both smoothies and juices can balance blood sugar, supply nutrients and plant protein, and help your body purge unwanted toxins. The determining factor is what you’re looking to get out of your beverage. If you’re looking for a quick shot of vitamins and minerals without all the bulky fiber, a juice might be best for you. If you’re looking for a filling snack or meal replacement, a smoothie might be a better option. For this article, I will concentrate on talking about green smoothies and juice, which are more beneficial for your body. I will explain each in better detail:
A green smoothie is composed of blended foods, usually a mixture of greens, vegetables, and fruit. The ingredients are blended down into a more easily digestible liquid form, making smoothies a great way to get the daily recommended amount of greens and vegetables into your diet. A “liquid salad” is my favourite nickname for a green smoothie. Nothing is removed when you blend; the smoothie retains all the properties of its ingredients, including the fiber. It is the fiber from the produce that makes a smoothie a filling snack or meal replacement. The fiber in the smoothie is also great for your digestive system, and will help to clean out your colon.
Blending is typically less expensive than juicing. You don’t have to use as much produce, and a good blender is cheaper than a good juicer. You can also use a blender for other purposes in the kitchen than just making smoothies. Blenders are usually faster and easier to clean up than a juicer.
Smoothies are a better option if you’re looking to easily increase the amount of greens and vegetables in your diet. They are a great way to lose weight, as the fiber makes them a filling, low-calorie meal replacement. They are also more versatile, in that you can use a wider range of ingredients in them. You can add protein powder, cacao, herbs, and/or spices to change the nutrient density and flavour of your smoothie.
A green juice is basically a smoothie with the fiber removed in the form of pulp. Because your body does not have to spend time digesting the fiber from the produce, the vitamins and minerals from the juice quickly absorb into your blood stream. Within minutes, your body receives optimum nutrients. These nutrients quickly fuel our cells, help restore our immune system, and provide a burst of energy. Green juices are amazing healing drinks; in fact, many cancer survivors (including Kris Carr of Crazy Sexy Diet fame) credit much of their recovery to a daily green juice.
Green juice is best consumed fresh; in about 20 minutes, the ingredients begin to lose their nutritional value. Because of this, juice ideally cannot be made the night before and stored in the fridge, or taken to work to be drank later in the day. For optimum nutrient absorption, it is best to drink green juice on an empty stomach, before a meal. This way there is no fiber from anything else you are eating to compete with the absorption of the juice’s nutrients. Juicing is more time consuming than blending, and the machines take longer to clean. Juicers also cannot typically be used for anything else in the kitchen besides making juice. Juicing is more expensive because you have to use more produce to yield an appropriate amount of juice.
Although it takes longer to make and is typically more expensive, green juice will give you more nutrient bang-for-the-buck per volume than a smoothie. Juices are an ideal option for people with digestive issues or who are fighting a disease. Juices are also great to ingest when you want to give your body a cleanse. They are a nutrient-dense powerhouse that will quickly improve your health and boost your energy.
BLENDING AND JUICING TIPS
As you can see, both smoothies and juices provide different health benefits for different reasons. Overall, one is not better than the other, but one may be the better option for you depending on what you’re looking for. Personally, I do both. I didn’t even have a juicer until recently. I definitely still blend more than I juice, but only because it is easier and faster for me to make a smoothie. I make green juice a few times a week, and definitely feel the difference in energy and detoxification from juice more so than a smoothie. Here are some tips about blending and juicing that I’ve learned since having both machines:
- It is not ideal to juice too much fruit. The high sugar in fruit is best processed in our bodies when it comes with all of its fiber intact; otherwise, the juice releases the sugar too quickly into our blood stream. This can put strain on our pancreas and liver, and promote insulin resistance. If you are using fruit in your green juice, stick to one piece such as lemon, green apple, or pear.
- When juicing leafy items like kale or spinach, bunch it up into a tight ball before dropping it into the juicer. You will get the most juice yield out of your greens this way.
- If you’re new to green juice, start out with more palatable greens such as cucumber, celery, and spinach. As you get used to the taste, slowly build your way up to using stronger greens such as kale, parsley, and dandelion greens. Adding a carrot to your green juice will give a bit of sweetness to an otherwise strong drink.
- It is easy to get carried away with how many ingredients you put in a smoothie. For optimal digestion, try not to blend any more than 6 ingredients aside from your liquid base.
For green smoothie ideas, read Healthy Happy Life’s Salute to Green Smoothies or visit Blended Recipes. Or simply experiment with the produce in your fridge :) Smoothie possibilities are endless! Healthy Happy Life also has a good intro to Green Juice, with a great list of green juice ingredients and what flavour they will add to your juice.
Do you blend or juice? What are your favourite recipes? :)