Drinking your fruit and veggies is the perfect way to get in more of those precious nutrients. Sure, you could eat a few extra cups of leafy greens, but having them in a tasty beverage is way easier and more delicious. But when it comes to the healthiest way to drink your produce, there’s some debate as to whether it’s better to juice or blend it into a smoothie. Here, we settle the debate once and for all.
The truth is, there are benefits to both juicing and blending your fruit and veggies, so which one you choose will depend on a few things. When you juice your produce, you’re extracting the juices and discarding the “meat” or fiber, which keeps most of their vitamins, phytonutrients, and minerals in tact. Generally, to make an eight-ounce glass of juice, you’d need to process four or more cups of produce (depending on what you’re using) in your juicer. This gives you a highly concentrated serving of nutrients in just one serving of juice! So if you’re a picky eater and struggle to eat your veggies, juicing could be a good way to add some more plant goodness into your diet.
Juicing is often used in complementary medicine to aid the immune system in battling health conditions like cancer, cardiovascular conditions, and autoimmune disease. Carrot juice has shown to increase antioxidant capacity and heart health. Consuming beetroot juice has been linked to improved cholesterol levels and brain functioning, and drinking citrus juices has shown to reduce heart attack risk. Juicing is also a great tool to use during detoxification programs, as the concentration of nutrients aids the body’s natural detox mechanisms in the kidneys and liver. A program of juicing for just three days also showed to improve microbiome function — a necessary component of good gut health!
All that said, there’s one nutrient that gets discarded when you juice that’s actually pretty important — fiber. The skins and “meat” of fruit and veggies contain insoluble fiber which slows down the digestion of sugar into the bloodstream. When you eat or blend your fruit into a smoothie, the extra fiber helps those sugars be digested slowly, rather than traveling directly into your bloodstream and causing a rapid blood sugar spike (which can occur when drinking fruit and vegetable juices). For this reason, blending smoothies is a preferable method in the long term, especially if you struggle with diabetes or have other blood sugar issues. Many argue that since we often blend smoothies with plant milk, yogurt, or other ingredients, they can contain a lot of extra calories. But consuming all the excess sugar without the plant's fiber is more likely to lead to other health problems like weight gain. If you're worried it, try blending your smoothie with water, coconut water, or a low-calorie plant milk like unsweetened almond milk!
And when you eat or blend your fruit into a smoothie, the extra fiber helps the sugars in your fruit and veg to be digested slowly, rather than traveling directly into your bloodstream and causing a rapid blood sugar spike (which can occur when drinking fruit and vegetable juices). For this reason, blending smoothies is a preferable method in the long term, especially if you struggle with diabetes or have other blood sugar issues. Not to mention, consuming all the excess sugar without the plant's fiber could lead to other health problems like weight gain.
In fact, many experts like those over at Harvard Health suggest that juicing isn’t a necessary part of any prolonged detox program. Juicing is absolutely a useful tool if you’re looking to give your digestive system a short break from processing fibers to cleanse and reset your system, however consuming blended drinks is considered safer in the long term because they contain the plants' insoluble fiber, a vital nutrient necessary for stable blood sugar.
Need a tasty health-boosting recipe to try? We love this Green Superfood Smoothie!