One of the best things you can do for your physical and mental well being is to include more fruits and vegetables into your diet. The average adult should be consuming at least 7 to 10 servings of produce daily. Unfortunately many adults don't reach this goal, with some not even consuming half the required amount on a daily basis.
While grains, meats, nuts, and other foods certainly have their place in a healthy diet, it is fruits and vegetables that should make up the foundation of what you eat. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals, low in calories and vegetables are low in sugar. A diet high in vegetables and fruits will reduce your risk of disease and illness.
Often people struggle more with their diet than exercise, which is unfortunate since diet has more of an effect on improving health. There is no magical pill for a better diet and it does take perseverance to develop new healthy habits. Thankfully there is a perfect solution out there for those struggling to consume more produce - juicing and blending!
At first glance juicing and blending seem like similar practices, but upon further investigation you'll find there are important differences. Depending on your health goals you may get better results from one over the other. The way to find out is by comparing their strengths and weaknesses.
Juicing is one of the most efficient ways of giving your body a plethora of important nutrients, in a way that makes it easy for your body to access. The process of juicing is fairly simple. All you need is a juicer and fresh produce. The juicer is a machine that breaks down vegetables and fruits, separating the juice from the pulp. The pulp is all the fiber in the produce, and while it is important (more on that later) it does limit how much you can consume.
Most people first hear about juicing in reference to detoxes and fasts. Juice fasting is a method of flooding your body with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that may last anywhere from a few days to a week or more. There are many different types of fasts, all of which have their own recommendations and recipes to follow.
Another type of juicing method is feasting. As the name suggests, juice feasting is simple indulging in these delicious juices to supplement your regular diet. The purpose of this method is to improve and maintain health. Those with very specific diet needs may also feel better with feasting than fasting, which is why it's important to ask your doctor for his/her opinion prior to fasting.
If you're considering adding juicing to your diet, keep these factors in mind.
- This is one of the most natural ways of kickstarting weight loss or other health goals.
- Juices are an efficient way for your body to access and use nutrients quickly. Since juices lack fiber and unusable by-products your body can immediately absorb nutrition without the extra work for digestion.
- Similarly to nutrient absorption, juices are overall easier on the digestive system. Those with sensitive stomachs or conditions that inhibit digestion, juices can ensure you are still fueling your body properly.
- The lack of total nutrition and fiber makes juicing not appropriate as a meal replacement. You will also find that juices aren't as filling as smoothies which means you'll be hungry again quickly.
- The most common newbie mistake when it comes juicing is focusing heavily on fruits. While fruit is absolutely healthier than a candy bar, it still contains sugars which can spike blood sugar. Always focus on vegetables first and foremost, using only a small amount of fruit to sweeten up a green or bitter juice.
Blending is more popular than juicing since smoothies are easier to make. Not to mention most people already own a blender. Just like a milkshake or fruit smoothie, the blending process pulverises the produce into a thick liquid mixture. Blending simply breaks down the whole fruit or vegetable without removing anything as juicing does.
This leaves you with all of the nutrition you would get from eating the same produce, just in an easier to digest way.
The major difference between juicing and blending is fiber content. There are two outputs on a juicer - one for juice and one for the pulp. As mentioned before, juicers remove this pulp which does have its benefits. However, fiber is extremely important in well-rounded diet, especially since many adults are lacking proper fiber content already.
There are two types of fiber - soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber becomes almost like a gel in the body which slows the digestion of carbs and sugars. This helps to control blood sugar allows your body to process these sources of energy naturally. Insoluble fiber also plays a part in digestion but instead helps cleanse the tract by binding together leftover by-products of the food and pushing them out of the body.
Here are some things to consider if you're going to add blending to your diet.
- Smoothies are much more satisfying in terms of satiating appetite. All of the fiber means you'll feel full more quickly and for longer.
- Due to the process of blending and the result of keeping the fruits and vegetables whole nutrition you can use smoothies as a meal replacement.
- You have more of a variety of produce you can use, especially when it comes to fruits. Soft fruits like berries, peaches or plums can't be juiced but will be delicious in a smoothie.
- Smoothies do have an overall lower nutrient content than juices. Since blending maintains fiber content you won't be able to drink as much. This means it would take more smoothies to match the same nutritional value of a juice.
- Fiber leads to slower absorption of nutrients. Sure, you will digest more naturally but you won't be able to achieve the same "nutrient flooding" effect that you can with juice.
Who's the Winner?
When it comes down to juicing versus blending, they are both winners! While both methods are very similar and involve breaking down produce for easier consumption, they have different purposes and results. Both are incredibly beneficial for health and many health aficionados end up doing both juicing and blending.
To better understand the difference between the two you may also check this juicing vs blending infographic.
It's easy to compare the differences between juicing and smoothies by looking at them as a snack and a supplement. A smoothie can easily function as a snack or even a light meal replacement. You don't want to have smoothies for every single meal, just as you wouldn't eat any other snack for every meal, but it is a useful addition to your daily diet.
Juicing on the other hand is more like a dietary supplement. The purpose of a dietary supplement is to provide additional nutrients that may otherwise not be consumed in proper quantities. Since majority of adults do not consume enough vegetables and fruit on a daily basis, juicing is a way to ensure your body is getting what it needs.
Everyone can benefit from adding both juicing and blending to their daily diet routines. Even those that eat a very clean, healthy diet can find blending useful for quick meals or juicing as an added boost of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Zoey is a part-time blogger and a full-time nurse. She is the founder and editor of juicingjournal.com an avenue for sharing her passion about juicing, plant-based diet and living a healthier lifestyle.
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