Juices vs Smoothies which on is better? This is a question that comes up a lot in my practice. Both juices AND smoothies are beneficial for your health. Let’s look at the special qualities of each and some key tips for making and using them.
These are the common benefits:
- Both make the nutrients easy to assimilate by breaking down the indigestible elements.
- Both allow you to consume more vegetables than you would be able to if you had to eat them whole.
- Both unlock vital nutrients from the cellulose in the vegetable which is an insoluble fiber and part of the rigid cell wall.
- The nutrients are locked away in the cell wall unless properly broken down. The rigid cell walls are broken down by:
- If you don’t break down the cell wall the nutrients pass through you and not get into your cells.
- Both have lots of water to keep our cells hydrated.
• One of the best qualities of a smoothie is they consist of the entire fruit or vegetable including the nutrient rich skin and all of the fiber
• Blending breaks open the hard cell walls, unlocking the minerals, chlorophyll, and enzymes, making it easier to digest.
• You get more of the nutrients without having do so much chewing. The blender chews it for you.
• Since you have the fiber part, you get a slow, steady release of the sugar into your bloodstream and avoid blood sugar spikes
• Smoothies tend to be more filling because of the fiber.
• The fiber in smoothies will bind to toxins in your intestinal tract and “sweep” them out of your system.
• You can add additional ingredients to a smoothie, like chia or flax seeds for protein, coconut milk for fat, additional protein powder or whatever you like.
• Adding fruits can make the greens taste sweeter which can be more enjoyable for many people.
• They are easier to make, with less clean up than a juicer, great for a quick breakfast or snack.
• Smoothies are great before a workout because they are light enough but still full of nutrition to carry you through. They are great after a workout to help with your recovery.
Tips for Making the Most Nutritious and Digestible Smoothies
- Fruits and green vegetables combine well together.
- It is best to use only small amounts of high glycemic tropical fruits (bananas, pineapple, mango) as they can spike your blood sugar.
- Berries are low glycemic fruits and are best for preventing blood sugar spikes.
- Younger greens and tender greens tend to be less bitter if you’re trying to keep the flavor sweet.
- If you have thyroid problems steam your kale or use romaine.
- Coconut, coconut milk, coconut oil and avocado are good fats to add to help keep your blood sugar even and sustain your energy through the day.
- Chia seeds, flax seeds or hemp seeds are good to add for protein.
- It is good to use frozen berries or add ice cubes both to keep the smoothie from overheating in a high speed blender and to make it refreshing if it the weather is hot.
- Sit and enjoy your smoothie, chew it briefly to activate the enzymes in your mouth and stimulate the your digestive juices.
- Rinse your mouth after drinking your smoothie to remove the acids and seeds from your teeth.
Vegetable juice floods your body with beneficial nutrients immediately.
Juices differ from smoothies in that the water and nutrients are extracted from the vegetables and fruits and the indigestible fiber is discarded.
- Since the fiber is removed from the plant the nutrients don’t need to be digested, they are an infusion of nutrients that are highly alkaline to quickly balance your pH and flood your cells with nutrients.
- Juices are especially helpful if you have a sensitive digestive system or any illness that makes it hard for your body to process fiber.
- Juicing gives you nutrients but bypasses the digestive process allowing that energy to be used toward repair and renewal.
- Freshly squeezed vegetable juices are a good part of a fast or detoxification program because they are so nutrient rich and restore the body at a cellular level. They let you use your energy toward ridding the body of built up waste and toxins instead of digestion.
- Like smoothies, juices allow us to larger amounts of green, even more so than smoothies and are a beneficial addition to your diet.
Tips for Juicing and Optimizing the Benefits of Your Juice
- It is best to drink juice on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning is ideal.
- Ideally you want to drink your juice 20 minutes before consuming anything else but this is not necessary.
- Drink your juice within 15 minutes of making it to get the most amount of nutrition.
- If you are pressed for time you can make your juice the night before. Drink some right away and store the rest in a glass jar. Full it up to the top, so no air is in there. This will keep it fresher. While this is not ideal you will still get lots of nutrients. The juice will be good for up to 24 – 72 hours depending on your juicer.
- Balance the darker greens with lighter greens like cucumber, romaine and celery
Cucumbers are refreshing and sweet
Celery is very alkalizing, great for your blood and heart
Dark greens like spinach, kale, Swiss chard are potent detoxifiers
Good additions to include:
- Lemon with peel if organic, peeled if not
- Ginger for some spice
- Green apple or beet to sweeten it up
A Word of Caution
- It is best to limit the amount of fruit you juice as it is hard on your liver. Sugars are released too quickly into your blood stream and your liver has to work hard to filter them. I like to use small amounts of green apple to sweeten up my green juice.
- Use a variety of dark green vegetables. Some vegetables like spinach and chard are high in oxalates which contribute to the body not being able to absorb calcium as efficiently. Vegetables like kale and cabbage are goiterogenic which affect the thyroid’s uptake of iodine. These green vegetables have many great properties so it is best to switch them up. Romaine is a good choice too.
Best Juicers and Blenders
You can get a Centrifuge Juicer, which will have a blade or disk that spins at high speeds, grating your fruits and veggies, and then straining them through a fine sieve in order to extract the juice. These are the least expensive of the juicers. I like the Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus. This type of juicer is great if you juice occasionally or when doing a cleanse. They are inexpensive, easy to use and can accept large pieces of vegetables and fruit so you have less to prep. The downside is they create more heat and oxygen which can destroy a few of the nutrients in your fruits and vegetables. The juices also don’t stay as long.
If you are planning to do a lot of juicing I recommend getting a Cold Press Juicer which uses a slower pressing action to extract your juice. There are a few I think are good Hurom Slow Juice and Omega VRT350 Heavy Duty Low Speed Juicer. These mastication or cold press juicers compress the fruits and vegetables to squeeze out their juice. They yield more juice. The juices last longer since there is less oxygen introduced. The juice will also stay longer up to 72 hours. They work at lower speeds so less heat builds up preserving more of the nutrients.
By far the best blender on the market is the Vitamix. The downside it is expensive. The price on Amazon is good. It is the same as Costco if you are a member. It makes ultra smooth smoothies, raw soups and dressings. One of the best things about a Vitamix is you don’t need to blend for a long period of time. You get the most benefits from your blended food by blending for the shortest amount of time. The longer you blend your food the more oxygen it is exposed to which contributes to destroying it’s nutritional value. The key to getting the most benefits from blended foods is to keep oxidation to a minimum by blending as little as possible. The Vitamix does this.
Another great blender and much less expensive is the Magic Bullet. This is a kitchen appliance that is small, efficient, multi-functional and very easy to use. It is perfect for making smoothies, blending soups or chopping up vegetables.
Juices vs Smoothies which one is better? As you can see both smoothies and juices have their place in a healthy meal plan. The best one is the one you eat and enjoy. They have different applications and are both fabulous.
This Rainbow Juice recipe below is refreshing and slightly sweet with a wide variety of antioxidants and minerals from the different color vegetables. It looks like a rainbow for a minute or two if you do it in the order written but the beet is heavy and will float to the bottom very quickly as you can see in the picture.
This Rainbow juice is refreshing and sweet with a wide variety of antioxidants and minerals from the different color vegetables.
- 1 cucumber
- handful of parsley stems
- 2 stalks celery
- 3 leaves kale or a handful of spinach or 2 large leaves romaine
- 1/2 small beet
- Juice the vegetables in the order written. It looks like a rainbow for a minute or two.
- The beet is heavy and will float to the bottom to combine into a delicious juice.
- Enjoy immediately!