Juicing versus Blending – What is “Healthier”
What is better – juicing or blending? This is a question that is much debated in the wellness community and, I have to admit, one that I have gone back and forth a few times for my own personal health.
Generally, for day-to-day intake, I am much more likely to recommend “blending” to clients vs. juicing of vegetables and fruits. There is a great advantage in benefiting from the entire spectrum of nutrition found in an apple or a stalk of broccoli, including the fiber and fiber-bound nutrients such as minerals.
Fiber is critical for maintaining gastrointestinal health and is a key source of nourishment for the beneficial microbes there which balance our immune system, nurture the intestinal mucosal lining, and help to escort toxins out of the body. Note: to truly make a palatable smoothie, you really do need a high-powered blender. Otherwise, you will be chewing your drink.
Juicing of produce, however, can be an excellent choice for individuals who cannot currently handle excessive fiber intake (e.g. IBS, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease). Obviously these individual still need – and perhaps even more so – nutrition from plant foods. It is also good for individuals whose appetite is highly suppressed due to medical treatment or medication (e.g. cancer patients) and who need to benefit from nutrient-loading at the same time. Juicing can also be a good choice for individuals who are not yet willing to consume much whole-food plant nutrition (e.g. disliking the taste or texture). It can take time for taste buds to acclimate to a wider array of more vegetal or bitter (especially in the case of crucifers) flavors in vegetables.
Juicing can be an effective way to boost plant-based nutrition for a short period of time. It Increases the cellular alkalinity (via overall higher intake of potassium in particular) and can help with toxin release. Many individuals, however, are vulnerable to the high sugar intake of juices that contain too much fruit, especially those who are overweight or who have insulin resistance or a high risk of Type 2 diabetes. For this reason, I only recommend vegetable juice with a small amount of fruit added (e.g. one green apple) or a few extra carrots or beets (whose juice is quite sweet) to help to balance the flavor.
Personally, I add juicing into my normal whole food diet when I feel like my immune system is struggling or I feel like a vitamin boost would serve me well. Mainly these are times when my energy is low, I am not sleeping as well as I am used to or I am struggling with my mood. Even when I do add juicing to my regimen, I do so early in the morning, prior to eating any whole foods, so that my body can absorb the vitamins quickly and efficiently.
The long and the short of it is that I use juicing as a vitamin supplement and not as an alternative to other ways of nourishing my body.