The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day. Getting the adequate amount of fruits and veggies helps us resist illness and reduce the risk of serious conditions like stroke, heart disease, cancer, and dangerous obesity. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Americans aren’t getting enough of either one.
Juicing and blending are excellent ways to get whole fruits and vegetables into your diet with optimal convenience. While juicing and blending make fruit and vegetable consumption easier, when it comes to juicing vs. blending, which one is healthier? Read on to learn the key differences, and check out our specially designed recipes once you decide which is right for you.
Juicing vs. Blending Benefits: Is Juicing or Blending Better?
The difference between juicing and blending is what gets left behind. When you’re juicing, you’re in essence removing all the fibrous materials from your fruits and vegetables. When you’re blending, you keep pulp, fiber, and all. There are separate health benefits to each.
Juicing: Quick Facts
The perks and drawbacks of juicing include:
- A higher concentration of vitamins and nutrients.
- An easier absorption of nutrients.
- Juicing leads to a lack of fiber, which is essential for controlling blood sugar, healthy digestion, and lowering the risk of heart disease.
Blending: Quick Facts
Blending has its own set of benefits, including:
- Blending fruits and vegetables retains fiber content.
- The fibrous parts of fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, increase your satiety, and aid your digestion.
- The bulk of the fiber in blended drinks fills you up, so you can only consume limited quantities.
Studies have shown that the content of a fruit drink changes based on whether it’s been blended or juiced—blending the edible parts of whole fruits brings a higher concentration of polyphenols and flavonoids, but lower levels of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Juicing, on the other hand, allows you to consume more fruits and vegetables, and the nutrients are quickly and easily absorbed because your body doesn’t have to digest any fiber along with them.
Juices contain very little, if any, fiber, and fiber is incredibly important for your digestive system. Fruit and vegetable juice, while healthy and full of vitamins, does not bring you the soluble fiber that otherwise is contained in foods like carrots, apples, and citrus fruits. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps to slow down your digestion, a great tool for managing blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber, also missing from juices (found in foods like dark green leafy vegetables), adds bulk to your stool and helps to create a more comfortable digestive process.
Fiber isn’t the only important component of the pulp from fruits and vegetables. A 2012 study on the antioxidant compounds in grapefruit juice vs. blended grapefruit showed that the blended fruit had higher concentrations of phytochemicals, which are primarily found in the fibrous portions of the fruit and not the extracted juice. Phytochemicals and other antioxidants have potential anti-cancer properties, making them valuable nutrients.
Ease of Digestion
One of the benefits of juicing is that the lack of fiber gives your body a rest from the work of digesting it, thus allowing for better absorption of nutrients. One study showed that beta-carotene was more concentrated in juiced produce than in whole food form, resulting in a higher content in the blood levels of those who ingested it. High levels of blood or plasma beta-carotene have been associated with a lower risk of cancer. Consuming higher amounts of soluble fiber with beta-carotene lowers absorption by 30-50%.
There are certain gut diseases and malabsorption disorders that require “low-residue” or low-fiber diets, and juicing is not only appropriate in such circumstances, but also recommended to help the bowel rest and recover from inflammation. There are also reports suggesting that juice cleanses have health benefits, though fiber is often under-consumed in American diets, and cannot be entirely done away with.
Both smoothies and juices can cause spikes in blood sugar due to their sugar content, though the fiber in smoothies helps to control blood sugar levels better. Likewise, with blended fruits and vegetables, you can only consume so much before you’re full, which limits your calorie consumption as well. Drinking juice, however, does not lead to feelings of satiety, and while fresh juices are sugary enough, commercially produced juices tend to have even more added sugars, sometimes even more than is found in your average soda. When choosing juices and smoothies, be cognizant of their sugar content relative to the nutrients they provide.
When it comes to juicing vs. blending for weight loss, both methods add sugar to your diet, with smoothies bringing higher feelings of satiety that can help lower your calorie intake throughout the day. Likewise adding protein powders, chia seeds, or avocados can help increase the fiber, protein, and healthy fat content, as well as your feelings of fullness.
Juice and Smoothie Recipes
There are benefits unique to both juicing and blending, so when trying to decide which one is healthier, it really depends on what you’re looking for from your all-natural beverage. Here are some of our healthfully designed recipes for juices and smoothies that may help you decide!
- Purple Passion Juice for Heart Health: With purple cabbage leaves to help cut cholesterol, plus apples, and ginger, this cardiovascular booster is an eye-catching treat.
- Anti-Inflammatory Juice: This green juice is full of natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories like pineapple, green apple, kale, and lemon.
- Red Apple Detox Juice: With apple cider vinegar, celery, and liver-aiding beets, this heart-healthy juice is easy to make and even easier to enjoy.
- Orange-less Orange Juice: With carrots, apples, and ginger, this tasty alternative orange juice is perfect for Sunday mornings!
- Heart Helper Juice: With carrots, yellow beets, celery, and turmeric, this juice can help lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation.
- Plant-Based Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Smoothie: Combine peaches, oats, almond milk, nutmeg, and more for tasty immune support.
- Metabolism-Boosting Cranberry, Almond and Granola Breakfast Smoothie: Full of fruits and granola to start your day with a metabolism boost that also helps promote healthy weight loss.
- Frozen Berry Dairy-Free Smoothie: This non-dairy frozen berry smoothie can act as a meal replacement shake, packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and both soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Rise and Shine Chocolate Matcha Smoothie: A chocolatey treat with all the benefits of green tea, perfect for starting your day off energized.
- Be Strong Smoothie: With kiwis, raspberries, and coconut water, this smoothie is a vitamin C powerhouse.
Juicing and Blending: Coming Together
Both juicing and blending are excellent ways to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, and when it comes to which is the winner in the juicing vs. blending debate, the winner is you! No matter which you choose, or if you juice on some days and blend on others, you’re doing well by your health. Fire up your Vitamix or Nutribullet, grab yourself a few servings of fruit, up your vegetable intake with green smoothies, or get the concentrated nutritional value of a green juice!