Spring is just around the corner, which means a greater variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables will be available for purchase very soon (depending on where you live, of course). 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. Juices are often sweeter because the flavours are more concentrated, while smoothies leave you feeling fuller longer because of their thick and chewy texture, and also because they contain fibre.
This is the main difference between the two. Juicing generally leaves you with a big pile of pulp left behind, which is all of the plant fibre; in a smoothie, this fibre remains, helping to push things along your digestive tract.
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.
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, and beans.
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.
The downside? 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. Vegetables aren’t innocent here though either, as beets, carrots, parsnips, and potatoes are just some examples of vegetables that are high in sugar.
But if you are making a smoothie, you don’t have to worry about how much fruit you add as it’s kept in its whole form which is how it’s actually meant to be eaten.
To keep your juices low in sugar, follow these tips:
- Use one green apple at most if you need a little sweetness in your juice. The green ones have less sugar than red varieties.
- Add fat like coconut milk, coconut oil, or even olive oil to your juice. Many well-known juice bars do this and it actually tastes amazing.
- Add chia seeds 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.
Another major factor to consider is cost.
Juicers are typically more expensive than blenders and juicing in general can be costly, but some people get such great benefits from juicing that they choose to invest in their health in this way.
“Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingredients, nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical exercise.” -Mike Adams
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. One person’s juice can be another person’s poison. You could always play around with having either throughout the day, or if you really want to see what works best for you, try drinking a smoothie every morning for 2 weeks and then the doing same with a juice. During this time, be mindful of how your body feels and reacts to your mixtures and listen to its messages. Don’t do what you think will be good for it, but rather what it tells you is good, which you can determine by noting how you feel after each meal or drink.
What do you prefer, a smoothie or a juice? What are some of your favourite smoothies and juices? Let us know in the comment section below!
To learn more about health and nutrition and to get yours on track, check out this free sample class from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition here.
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