Eating fruits and vegetables does a body good.
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that vegetables and fruits are essential for a healthy body.
I bet your parents told you that you need to eat fruits and veggies one time or another.
So it is a no-brainer that consuming fruits and vegetables is good for the body. The problem is how.
That’s where blending and juicing come into play.
Five servings per day
Experts recommend consuming at least five servings per day. And if you don’t know how this looks like have a look at this article from CookingLight.com.
In this article, we’ll compare two alternative ways of consuming them aside from old fashioned cooking.
I’m talking about juicing and blending and how both these methods differ.
More often than not, people confuse one from the other.
We’re going to clear things up in this article and break down and answer questions like
- What’s the difference between Juicing and Blending?
- Which one is better?
- Do I need fiber?
- Can I use a blender for juicing?
- Some “best practices” tips from experts
- The Verdict?
What is Juicing?
Juicing is the process of extracting juice from produce, separating it from the pulp (or insoluble fiber).
How the machine does it would depend on the type you’ll use. Centrifugal juicers utilize a sharp blade that cut into fruits and vegetables and separates it from the rest of the pulp.
Slow juicers (or Masticating) use an auger to squeeze out the juice. These machines will generally extract more but will take longer and more prep time.
There are a lot of nuances in selecting the right type of juicer. And I’ve written a detailed article about it and feel free to read up on it to see which one works well for you.
The body will absorb nutrients immediately because there’s no pulp.
Our body’s digestive tract does not have to work hard to separate nutrients from the pulp because a juicer does it for you.
It makes juicing suitable for people who have a condition like diabetes or high blood pressure.
It’ll also work if you have a weak stomach. Juicing will enable you to get the nutrients still your body needs.
Warning: Don’t rely on juicing as a substitute for a proper meal because it lacks the fiber to fill you up.
Avoid using lots of fruit because of the absorption issue where the sugar goes directly to the bloodstream. Fruit will cause the blood glucose level spiking leading to diabetes and excess weight.
What is Blending?
Unlike juicing that separates the pulp and juice, blending retains everything – it’s like eating a whole fruit or vegetable. But the blending process will break down fiber into a puree like consistency.
It helps make fruit and vegetables easier to digest. The presence of fiber slows down the release of nutrients and helps avoid blood glucose spikes if you happen to make recipes with lots of fruit.
The body will absorb all the nutrients because everything remains intact, including the non-soluble fiber that helps with cleansing the gut.
Blending can also technically replace a meal because the fiber remains in the drink. Making smoothies is a great alternative to eating a traditional breakfast just in case you’re in a hurry.
If you need a pre-workout meal, a blended drink is also an excellent alternative to give your body the right amount of fuel it needs for something intense.
It all boils down to what you want to achieve.
Juicing can be beneficial for the following scenarios
- Going through a fast and need to rest the gut for a short period
- Just had surgery, chemo or radiation therapy and need something that absorbs quickly to rebuild your immune system
- Looking for an alternative treatment to conditions such as high blood or diabetes – you can concoct recipes that contain ingredients that help treat these conditions naturally
- Have a health issue and you need a quick way to absorb nutrients
Remember that if you include fruits, only include those with low sugar levels such as blueberry or lemon.
Blending can be beneficial for these situations:
- It provides a quicker option to consuming foods just in case you’re in a hurry
- Helps you consume more leafy greens and improve your overall health
- Great for concocting pre-workout drinks as you can mix in protein powder to the mix of greens and low glycemic fruits
There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble fiber. And you need a balance of these two in your diet.
Soluble fiber will remain inside the juice even without the pulp. It helps to absorb water inside the intestine that forms a gel to slow down the transit of food inside the digestive tract.
Another benefit of soluble fiber is it acts as a probiotic that supports healthy bacteria in the gut. It can also help lower blood cholesterol and glucose.
Insoluble fiber is the pulp that’s inside the smoothie.
The gut will not digest this type of fiber, so it’ll take up space.
When this goes in the gut passes through it undigested, and this will help move the bowel and increase stool bulk.
Helps improve gut health
A diet that contains lots of fiber help soften the stool and prevents constipation. It’ll also help folks who may have soft watery stools by solidifying it because soluble fiber will absorb water and will add bulk [source].
Achieve a healthy weight safely
Eating a diet that’s rich in fiber is more filling compared to food that’s rich in fat and low in fiber. You’ll eat less and stay full longer.
If you aim to increase fiber intake, then go for more smoothies because these have more insoluble fiber that will fill you up.
And since you’re consuming lots of vegetables and fruits, these will be “energy dense” which means you’ll consume fewer calories for the same amount of food.
You can use a blender for making juices. It all depends on how much pulp you’re willing to tolerate.
If you don’t like pulp, then you’ll have to use a nut bag or strainer to separate pulp and juice. I’ve written a detailed guide about this process – make sure you read that.
But if you don’t mind having a little pulp then add more water than usual to the recipe to lighten up the consistency. Some juicers have a juice preset that chops ingredients into smaller bits that almost has a juice-like consistency. But you’ll need to add more liquid to achieve a similar texture.
Just remember that adding more liquid will dilute the flavor and won’t be as nutrient dense.
So weigh your options.
1. Don’t combine starchy vegetables with fruit
In his book “Food Combining Made Easy,” Dr. Herbert Shelton said that you couldn’t mix starchy food with other food groups.
That’s because the body uses a different enzyme for digesting them and another for other food types.
So when a starchy vegetable such as broccoli, beet, carrot, or zucchini is combined with fruit, it may result in fermentation and gas [source].
2. Limit amount of fruit in juice or smoothie
It’s best to minimize the amount of fruit you put in the juice or smoothies to reduce sugar consumption. Some experts recommend that you limit this to 1 to 2 servings per drink. If you’re making green juice, I’ve created an infographic that will guide you on exactly how much fruit to add depending on the recipe.
3. Citrus juice helps mask the bitter taste from vegetables
Adding citrus fruits will help mask the bitter flavor that vegetables might have.
When my blood glucose level spiked up dangerously close to the border, I immediately spend the next week or so drinking bitter melon juice.
Drinking it undiluted makes it hard to swallow, so I mixed half a lemon and cucumber to dilute it.
It still tasted terrible but not as bad without the lemon and cucumber.
The great thing about these citrus fruits is that it almost has zero sugar, so you don’t have to worry about spikes in your blood sugar levels.
Please avoid using orange though because it contains a relatively high amount of sugar. Stick to those three I mentioned above.
4. Drink your smoothie right away
The process of blending introduces a lot of air into the drink. Air and light will destroy all the nutrients inside and spoil.
If you’re making a smoothie, it’ll be best to drink it within 15 minutes, or you’ll have to store it in a dark, airtight container to preserve nutrient content.
5. When juicing, try to ingredients like celery and cucumber
Both these vegetables have high water content and will dramatically increase volume in any juice recipe. It’s also a trick that I use to dilute the strong flavor of leafy greens or any ingredient with a strong taste.
6. Add coconut water or regular water to smoothies to make it less pulpy
One trick that a lot of people use to lighten up the consistency of smoothies is to add coconut water or just plain water. Yes, it may dilute the flavor, but it helps lessen the pulp. The choice between a thick or think smoothie will be up to you – it’s a personal choice.
Eating more fruits and vegetables is a no-brainer way of living a healthier lifestyle.
No gimmicky diet that starves you to death can beat proper nutrition that contains lots of leafy greens and fruit.
With our busy lifestyle, eating a plate full of these goodies can be tough, and this is where juicing or blending comes in.
Both methods are great options in speeding up the process of consuming healthy foods. Avoid buying store bought juicing because these have added sugars. And most of the time these drinks aren’t as fresh. The pasteurization process kills bacteria but also beneficial enzymes that benefit the gut.
Picking one will depend on your need
Juicing is great for individuals looking to infuse themselves with nutrients without having to work their digestive system. People who have conditions like diabetes or high blood would benefit. So as individuals who just came from surgery or radiation treatment who require a soft diet.
Juicing will help in those scenarios.
Blending will benefit folks who’d like a quick way to eat their fruits and veggies without having to remove the pulp. If you work out a lot, then smoothies can be an excellent option for a pre-workout meal. It’s pretty easy to integrate protein powder to a mixture and greens and berries to create a nutrient-rich shake.