The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommends that individuals following a 2000 calories/day diet should eat a minimum of 2 servings of fruits and 2 ½ servings of vegetables every day. According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), Americans aren’t getting nearly enough of either. This is a shame because fruits and vegetables are major dietary contributors of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients which are essential for optimal health and preventing the development of chronic diseases.
For the many people who just can’t fathom eating the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables every day, drinking those foods may be the solution. The two methods of processing fruits and vegetables into a drinkable beverage are juicing and blending. These methods allow for the mixture of various different fruits and vegetables into a convenient and delicious beverage. These methods are also helpful for picky eaters since flavors from other produce can mask the taste of vegetables that are not so pleasing if eaten alone.
So lets take a closer looks at the differences between juicing and blending.
Juicing is mechanically extracting juice from a fruit or vegetable. In juicing, the skin and pulp that makes up a large majority of the produce is removed leaving only the liquid. Blending on the other hand is mechanically breaking down whole fruit or vegetables into a drinkable liquid state known as a smoothie.
During juicing a large quantity of fruits and vegetables are used compared to blending. This allows for a higher concentrated dose of vitamins and minerals per serving of juice. Even though juicing offers a high concentration of vitamin and minerals, blending will offer you more bang for your buck in terms of total nutrients. The pulp and skin of fruits and vegetables is where the majority of the dietary fiber is found. Dietary fiber is plays important roles in digestion, heart health, blood sugar control, and normal bowel function. Antioxidants are also usually found in the skin and pulp of many fruits and vegetables. This gives blended fruits and vegetables an advantage with higher concentrations of beneficial phytonutrients.
There is an almost unlimited possibility to the types of juice or smoothie that you can make. One drawback to juicing is that only fruits and vegetables can be used. With blending, a variety of ingredients other than fruit and vegetables such as seeds, nuts, and plant-based milks can be incorporated to further enhance to taste and nutritional value of the smoothie.
One of the characteristics of dietary fiber is that it slows digestion. Since the dietary fiber found in the pulp and skin of produce is removed during juicing, nutrients pass much more quickly from the stomach into the small intestines where it is more rapidly broken down and absorbed. This can be very beneficial for athletes who need to consume something that will breakdown fast and provide an quick source of energy before workouts. With that being said, the slow digestive characteristic of blending has its own benefits. The fiber found in smoothies will make you feel fuller long and will slow the release of carbohydrates into the blood stream allowing for better blood sugar control.
The amount of waste that is produced is a huge drawback for juicing. Since the skin and pulp make up that vast majority of produce, a lot of fruits and vegetables must be used in juicing. When blending smoothies, nothing that goes into the blender is wasted.
The final verdict
In closing, juicing and blending are both great ways to improve your overall health. In my opinion I think blending is a bit more advantageous. Juicing definitely has many health benefits such as providing an easy way increasing fruit and vegetable intake, getting a more concentrated source of nutrients (vitamins & minerals) per ounce, and offering a tastier way to incorporate vegetables that may not taste good by themselves. But one major con of juicing is that most if not all of the fiber is removed along with some of the health promoting phytonutrients found in the skin and pulp of fruits and vegetables. With blending, you’re able to get all of the nutrients fruits and vegetables have to offer with very little waste.