Blending or Juicing? Which Is Healthier?

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sneh_7_0By Sneh Jaisingh
INDIA New England Nutrition Columnist

Summer is the best time to enjoy some fresh fruits and vegetable in the form of refreshing juice or cooling smoothies. Blending and Juicing are the new BUZZ words, there are many detox or cleanse programs designed with just one or both of them.

Recently NutriAge conducted an online facebook challenge – Drink A Smoothie/day for 30 days. The outcome of this challenge was so rewarding that participants requested to extend it for 60 days and some decided to even continue beyond 60, the challenge concludes 28th August.

One question that I’m often asked is which is healthier- Juice or Smoothie (blending). Are there any more health benefits than the other?
And the answer is simple, BOTH. Both juicing and blending pack loads of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients/antioxidants in one drink. Hence both of them play a very important role in any healthy lifestyle one decides to follow.

Let’s find out what is the difference and understand the up’s and down’s.

A big difference between them both is the FIBER content.

SMOOTHIE/BLENDING

Smoothie is simply blending different fruits and vegetables along with the skin which means it’s loaded with fiber.

© The fiber in the smoothie helps create a slow release of nutrients into the blood stream which avoids the blood sugar spike.

© Fiber keeps our digestive system healthy by sweeping the toxins through the digestive track and aiding in regular elimination.

© Smoothies are very filling; it satisfies hunger and sustains energy over time.

© It is much easier, less messy and economical to make compared to juicing and can be a good grab and go breakfast or a snack.

The downside — sometimes it can turn into a calorie dense sugar delivering drink especially if includes sweetened yogurt, sweetened juices etc. Sadly many made-to-order or bottled smoothies include these ingredients.

How to build the perfect smoothie?

Keep it simple.
Add varieties.
Be-Aware of the portions.
Some of my favorite blends are:
GREEN POWER: Filtered water- Spinach — ½ banana- berries- avocado and hemp seeds.

© POWER BOOST: Coconut milk – sprouts (any kind)- ½ banana-mango/pineapple- macha tea(optional) and peanut butter

© TGIF MOCHA: Almond milk- banana- cacao powder and dash of coffee bean/powder. This is my end of the week, pick me up drink.

© KIDDE LOVE: Almond milk- any kind of green- strawberries — ½ banana- cacao powder- handful of dates (for extra sweetness/optional)

© ANTI-INFLAMMATORY: Filtered water- greens- mango- ½ banana- handful of berries-hemp oil- turmeric-cinnamon and ginger powder
JUICING

Juicing leaves behind a pulp which contains fiber and nutrients from the skin and pith that you end up tossing away, thus loose all the benefits of whole fruits and vegetable.

© It also means instant infusion of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients) into the bloodstream in much greater quantities than eating a whole fruit or vegetable.

© Juices are tastier because the flavors are more concentrated.

© Since the digestive system doesn’t have to work as hard to break down the food and absorb the nutrients, its gives the system a break and time for cells to repair and restore. Juicing hence is part of most healing or detoxification program. It is beneficial for folks with weak GI.

The downside — Juicing is time consuming, messier and it can get expensive. It often contains a lot of sugar, and because they have no fiber, they lead to a spike in blood sugar followed by a crash.

How do we enjoy juicing without the blood sugar spike?

© Use minimal amount of fruits especially the ones that are on the sweeter side. Eg green apples are a better choice than red.

© Add more variety of vegetables especially greens. Cucumber and celery are naturally sweet and have low glycemic index compared to carrots so be mindful of the portions.

© Some folks add healthy fats like flax or hemp oil to slow down the rapid absorption of sugar and they claim that juices taste delicious.

© Adding something as simple as chia seeds will also enhance the nutrition of your juice, chia is good source of protein and healthy fat.

Sharing some of my delicious juice combinations:

© Celery- Cucumber- Carrots

© Apple (green)- Beets- Celery

© Any greens (kale/collard greens)-Celery-Cucumber-Green apple- Ginger
BOTTOM LINE

We all need plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit in our diet (something that most of us lack) whether we eat, juice, or blend them. So it’s important to make sure you incorporate either or both into your lifestyle.

Raw form being the best way to consume this powerhouse.

Personally I juice 2-3x/wk and have smoothie 5-7x/wk. To save time, I make my juice and smoothies little extra, and freeze them in individual mason jars, next best to making it fresh every day.
I recommend you to try out both and play with different combination. Invest your time and money by consuming nature’s own vitamins and minerals v/s buying commercial man-made supplements. Remember you are what you eat, food creates our blood and our blood creates our cell, so nourish it sensibly.
(Sneh Jaisingh, MS, is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She will write about nutrition, diet and weight loss. She works for Berkshire healthcare’s skilled nursing facility in the north-shore area of MA. Along with that she is also a free-lance Health &Lifestyle coach. She combines the best of nutrition science and holistic nutrition to help people get to the root of their imbalances and find optimum health. Her personal interest includes coaching younger generation helping them make better food choices. Jaisingh runs a blog on Facebook called NutriAge- Nutrition for all ages, which is followed by many around the globe.)

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