A question I get asked a lot is whether juices or smoothies are better for you. It’s an interesting question. And, while both are health promoting, you may wish to choose one over the other in pursuit of a specific health goal.
So, what's the difference between a juice and a smoothie?
When you juice fruits and vegetables, you remove the fibre and make the nutrients more readily available to the body in much larger quantities than if you were to eat the fruits and vegetables whole. When you drink fresh juices, your body doesn’t have to use up any of its precious energy to access the available nutrients. If you were to sit down and eat four large carrots and an apple, for example, it would cost you quite a bit of energy to break them down to access their nutrients.
Unlike juices, smoothies still contain all the fibre from the fruits and vegetables. This makes them more filling than juices. The soluble fibre helps keep you fuller for longer (it delays the rate food leaves the stomach) whilst also slowing the rate of absorption of glucose, so your blood sugar is less likely to spike. The insoluble fibre gets broken down by friendly bacteria in the colon. This promotes bowel regularity and provides nourishment for the large intestine.
Smoothies are more versatile than juices, as you can use a wider variety of ingredients to create them. Alongside fruits and vegetables, you can add nuts, seeds and whole grains, which aren't possible to juice.
You can also easily elevate the nutritional content of smoothies by adding superfoods, protein powders or green food powders such as the ones below:
You can also add healthy fats to smoothies, such as avocado and coconut oil which help create a smooth, thick texture whilst slowing the rate of absorption of glucose and keeping you fuller for longer.
Generally speaking, smoothies are faster to make and quicker and easier to clean up after than juices, so they’re a great option for breakfast if you’re a bit pushed for time.
So, which is better for you?
Well, it depends on your health goals.
If you're recovering from illness or surgery, then adding juices to your diet is a fantastic way to support healing without taxing your body's energies for digestion.
If weight loss is your goal, then you might also want to consider incorporating juices into your diet. That way, you’ll lower your caloric intake whilst ensuring your body has plenty of health promoting vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Juices can be surprisingly filling too, so you'll avoid the hunger pangs that can often lead to poor food choices and binge-eating.
Juices are also ideal if you're you're simply looking to improve your overall health.
My Go-To Juice Recipe
If you’re looking to regain lost weight in a healthy way, then smoothies are an ideal option. They're also great if you're looking to maintain weight and improve your overall health.
My Go-To Smoothie Recipe
Whether you opt to make a juice or a smoothie, aim to drink it straight away to minimise exposure to light and air. If you can’t drink it straight away, transfer it to a dark, airtight container and store it in the fridge until you can.
The great thing about juices and smoothies is that they make it easy for us to consume more fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, and that can only be a positive thing.
If you're looking to increase your fruit and veg intake, check out my top tips for 10-a-day success!
Choosing the best equipment
To get the most benefit from your juices and smoothies, it’s important to use the right equipment.
So, if you're committed to incorporating juicing into your daily life, it's worth investing in a good-quality juicer. Cheaper, centrifugal juicers will yield less juice while introducing heat and oxygen to the nutrients which have the potential to degrade them. They’re also not the best when it comes to juicing green leafy vegetables. While you may have to spend a bit more initially, a premium cold-press juicer will produce a superior-quality juice and allow you to extract more yield from your fruits and vegetables, saving you money in the long-run. The machines themselves will also generally last longer. In contrast to the rough extraction of centrifugal juicers, masticating or cold-press juicers compress fruits and vegetables to ‘squeeze’ out their juice. That said, if it’s a choice between a centrifugal juicer or no juicer at all, then it’s worth buying a centrifugal juicer.
The same goes for a blender. You want a quality blender that will give you a nice smooth result whilst not introducing too much heat while it’s creating your smoothie. My favourite blender is the mighty Vitamix. Blentec also make great quality blenders and Nutribullet offers good quality blenders at an affordable price.
Wondering which juicer to buy?
If this has made you want to start juicing then grab a copy of my Free Top 10 Juicers Guide. In it you'll learn the 3 types of juicer available to buy, the differences between them and the best ones in each category at different price points.
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Hi, I'm Sian Burns.
This is where you'll find my thoughts on health, wellness and cancer recovery. Whether you’ve experienced a cancer diagnosis, or you’re just interested in healthier living, WELCOME! I hope you’ll find helpful information and resources in these pages.