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On average, Americans tend to consume less than two-thirds of fruits and vegetables every day that is recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)1. Of course, the caloric intake and the amount of each food group tends to vary person to person, based on weight, height, sex, and most of all, activity level. But, there is no denying that fruits and vegetables should be the main source of nutrition on our plates. I for one, get extremely excited to see a rainbow on my dish!
For a quick fix, Americans have turned to juicing and smoothy-ing (yes, I just turned that into a verb), because each are effective (and delicious) while also offering up a slightly different way to obtain several servings of fruits and vegetables in a quick drink. As a rule of thumb, a juice is less filling than a smoothie because the juicing process extracts water and phytonutrients that make fruits and vegetables so important for disease prevention, among other health benefits., On the other hand, smoothies include all of the fresh and healthy produce fiber that is in the skin and pulp of the fruits and vegetables. Juicing and smoothie making are not necessarily at war with one another, as we often might think. In fact, I think each are great at different times of day. Next time you go to grab that second cup of coffee, you might consider replacing it with a juice instead. But which is better in the battle of juicing vs blending?
Benefits of Juicing
The process of juicing fruits and veggies is one that extracts water and nutrients and leaves behind the indigestible fiber. Juicing makes it so that your body can access all of the nutrients in a more direct, express way, than eating the fruits and vegetables whole. An easy way to think about it is that all of the good stuff from the fruits and vegetables is being directly shot into and more quickly absorbed by the bloodstream. With this in mind, juicing only fruits can quickly spike your blood sugar which can result in undesirable results. In fact, it is likely the opposite results that we seek when we eat nutrient-dense foods to help stabilize our mood and energy levels.
I always find it a good idea to add in a green (kale or spinach, even arugula) to cut the sweetness of bananas, mango, apples, pears, etc. I recently acquired this amazing Breville Juicer, and I use it almost every weekend to make fresh green and red juices (think kale and spinach and beets/carrots). I like to pump my system clean and reenergize with a hydrating fresh juice after a Saturday morning spin class or Sunday morning yoga. Juices are also a great ‘go-to’ later in the day, when you might be feeling tired and start to crave sugar and caffeine to keep you afloat. They are a natural “pick me up”.
Benefits of Smoothies
Smoothies, on the other hand, are a bit of an easier and faster process and include all of the fiber from the vegetables and fruits. This makes smoothies a great option for a meal replacement because they are more filling and take longer to digest. I particularly like to make green smoothies for breakfast. It is a great way to start my day hydrated and energized by lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. I also usually include a few superfoods such as: chia seeds, maca powder, flax seeds (or flaxseed meal), and goji berries.
If you are someone who loves smoothies (and soups) as much as I do, I highly recommend investing in a great blender that will last a long time, and get the job done excellently. Though they can sometimes be cost-prohibitive, for me, a Vitamix is pretty much equivalent to having a white picket fence. So I look forward to the day when I can upgrade to one, from my oh so trusty Ninja Ultima. Sounds scary, but it’s not. And, it’s much more affordable than the Vitamix. It’s probably the kitchen appliance I use most frequently, all in the name of green smoothies!
Don’t Forget the Greens
Juices and smoothies are both great ways of incorporating more nutrients into your day. They are both excellent hydrators, because fruits and vegetables have quite a bit of water in them, and as we now know, the process of juicing extracts that water with the nutrients and combines the drink into a serious power punch! Smoothies are a great option for a meal, or for a snack because they are more fibrous and therefore, digested over a longer period of time. You can’t really go wrong, in either case, so long as you remember to include your greens. Remember that what you put into your body directly correlates to what you will get out of your body so if you are looking to improve health, putting in fresh, clean produce is one of the best ways to improve your performance at the gym and tone your body.
Video: Green Smoothie Recipe
Watch this great how to with Kimberly Snyder, a fabulously knowledgeable nutritionist, featuring a Vitamix blender and her recommended daily meal, the Glowing Green Smoothie.
Do you prefer smoothies or juicing and why?