I’ve been a huge fan of juicing since Jay Kordich pitched the “Juiceman” juicer in the early ’90s. So much so, that I once partook in a 21-day juice fast, which ultimately led to my converting to veganism. Although I’ve since introduced seafood, poultry and selected meats into my diet, I remain somewhat of a juicing enthusiast. But, I’ll admit that fresh juice has taken a bit of a backseat since I purchased the Vitamix 6300 and started blending. Believe me when I say that there is absolutely nothing better than the smooth rich flavor of a perfectly blended spinach, strawberry and peanut butter smoothie made with Greek yogurt. Funny enough, in the world of liquid meal replacements I’ve noticed some glaring friction between juicing fans and blending fans, both of which offer very compelling reasons to choose one over the other. So, here’s the underlying question: Is it better to juice or blend? Well, honestly, comparing juicing to blending is really like comparing apples to oranges, as the nutritional composition of these beverages is not the same. For instance, in pure form, freshly extracted juice is very rich in high-quality carbohydrates but essentially devoid of dietary fat and protein, as only small quantities are housed in vegetables and fruits. This is where juice pretty much falls short as a standalone meal. To keep your body functioning at optimal levels throughout the day, ideally, all your meals should be well balanced in carbohydrates, fat, and protein. However, if you’re simply looking for an excellent way to sneak more vegetables and fruits into your diet, juicing is definitely a winner and your options are virtually endless. Some of my personal favorite blends include broccoli, spinach, kale, wheatgrass, sweet peppers, carrot, and tomato. For added flavor, I typically add remnants of apple, pear, or mango juice. Now, when it comes to blending you’re not at all limited to vegetables and fruits, as there are countless ways to incorporate all three of the essential nutrients into smoothies. Since smoothies are simply a blend of whole foods, you can easily mix your favorite vegetables and fruits with healthy fats (nuts and seeds) and protein-rich foods (milk or yogurt) that otherwise couldn’t be added to a juicer. Moreover, when a wide array of nutrients are combined, smoothies tend to be much more filling than juice, which makes them especially beneficial if you’re seeking to lose weight. Fiber content is another way in which the general composition of juices and smoothies differ but it’s not what you might think. There’s actually a very common misconception that fresh juice lacks fiber, which is a type of carbohydrate that greatly contributes to disease prevention and overall good health. Contrary to popular belief, any beverage comprised of vegetables and fruits will naturally contain fiber. The fiber contained in fresh juice is soluble. Soluble fiber slows the digestion and absorption of sugar (glucose) from the small intestine, which inhibits sudden spikes in blood glucose and insulin levels. It’s also been proven effective in stabilizing blood sugar levels and lowering blood cholesterol. Unlike juice, smoothies have the added benefit of containing both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber promotes healthy elimination of wastes from the body, as it binds water making the feces bulkier and softer for quick and easy passage through the intestines. In addition, insoluble fiber has a unique appetite-suppressing effect, which further adds to the weight loss promoting potential of smoothies. Remarkably, regular consumption of insoluble fiber also reduces the risk of pancreatic and colorectal cancers. Taking all of these facts together, most people will conclude that blending is actually better than juicing. Truth is, neither juicing nor blending is inherently better, as fresh juice and smoothies are both quick and convenient sources of vital nutrients. In the end, it all comes down to your personal taste and preference. If you tend to make these beverages at home, smoothies are definitely the easiest and most convenient of the two, as a blender is all that’s required. Since fresh juicing involves extracting juice from vegetables and fruits you’ll need a juice extractor. This can be costly depending on the type, as using a high-quality juicer is essential for preserving the nutrients and enzymes in these foods. Still, if you wish to regularly incorporate fresh juice into your diet, a good juicer is, in my opinion, a great investment. While I’m now a fan of blending, I still love a good mix of fresh juice as a post-workout rehydrating elixir or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. All and all, fresh juice and smoothies make excellent inclusions in a healthy balanced diet. To ensure that you’re taking in adequate amounts of key nutrients and fiber, you can easily make it a practice to include both in your daily eating plan. Again, it all comes down to your personal preferences.
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