Juicing vs smoothies: What are the Health Benefits?

Juicing vs. Smoothies

Everyone is trying to be healthier these days.  Whether you’re training for a race or just looking to drop a few pounds, calories and food content are important.  So is the better choice for you freshly squeezed juices or a blend of ingredients into a fruit smoothie?

Both juicing and smoothies help increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables.  That’s a good thing especially as Americans age.  Consuming fruits and vegetables have shown to help improve heart health as well as decrease the risk of cancer and dementia.  Studies also show that on a regular basis, Americans don’t consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables.

Here are some things to consider as you make your choice.

There are benefits to both juicing and smoothies.  

The Benefits of Juicing

Benefits to juicing include:

Faster absorption of nutrients:   There’s no fiber in juicing, so the thought is that juicing vegetables and fruit will give you the most concentrated source of vitamins and minerals.  Plus with no fiber involved there is nothing really to digest.  The thought is that the juicing process allows the fruits and vegetables to be pre-digested.

You can consume more fruits and vegetables:  It takes a good amount of fruits or vegetables to make just an ounce of juice.  So you get to add a lot more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet.  This can be especially helpful if you don’t enjoy consuming a lot of produce.

Variety:  It’s all about variety.  You can juice up vegetables that you otherwise would never consume, and with the right combination, you’d never know they’re in your glass.  You get more nutrients and a more balanced combination.

Juice is dense with nutrients:  Eating fruits and vegetables means you’re consuming a good amount of water, vitamins and minerals, but also fiber.  Juicing removes the fiber but retains the water, vitamins and minerals.

Health benefits:  The concentration of vitamins and minerals in juicing is believed to be a great source of phytonutrients which help fight cancer and other illnesses.  Juicing is also believed to be beneficial in clearing out the liver.  The high concentration of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium and folic acid are helpful in fighting off depression.

Staying young: The antioxidants in juice are believed to combat the aging process on skin and internal organs.

But if you’re more inclined to consider smoothies, consider these benefits.

Benefits of Smoothies Benefits to Smoothies include:

It’s a meal:  By adding protein such as yogurt, milk, whey or eggs to a smoothie, it can become a nutritious, balanced meal.

Blood sugar and energy levels:  Unlike juicing, smoothies do contain fiber.  That means the sugar and calories are absorbed into the blood stream at a slower rate.  This helps to stabilize the blood sugar and sustain energy.  There’s no denying, however, that juice can give a burst of energy.

More filling:  Tastes great?  Again the fiber contained in smoothies will give a feeling of fullness.  While your system is digesting the fiber, you’re not as likely to become hungry very quickly.

Regularity:  Are you seeing the benefits of the fiber that juicing lacks?  Fiber in smoothies will keep your digestive track regulated and will help provide the good bacteria that’s needed for that process.

Weight loss:  Sure you can lose weight while juicing.  But you also have the tendency to become hunger more quickly.   It’s that fiber again, plus all the other nutrients in smoothies that will help keep that full feeling longer and help stave off those hunger pangs.   Since juicing requires more of the fruits and vegetables, the juice will also contain more calories and sugar than a smoothie.

Nutrition:  With a smoothie, you get all the same benefits of the fruits and vegetables that you get when juicing.  The vitamins and minerals are there, the anti-aging properties are there.

Cost:  When making a smoothie, because you’re using the whole product you don’t need as many of the fruits and vegetables to fill your glass.  Plus, you won’t have to buy an expensive juicer.  Your blender or food processor will work just fine.

Whether you choose juicing or smoothies, keep these things in mind.

For juicing you’ll need a juicer, but for smoothies, as noted, your blender will work just fine.  A blender can be used for juicing with a little extra work.  Blend your ingredients with some water added.  Then strain out the fiber using a nut milk bag or a paint strainer bag from your local hardware store.

When you are choosing recipes or making your own, watch the fruit content.  Fruits are high in sugar content.  That’s also a calorie consideration.  And you don’t get away from those by choosing smoothies over juicing.  Balance either out with a good helping of vegetables when juicing, or added protein when making a smoothie.