Do you eat enough fruits and vegetables in a day? Be honest.
If your answer is no, you are not alone. According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, most people in the United States don’t meet their nutrient requirements through their diet (1). Canada and other Western countries have similar issues.
Living in polluted cities, being exposed to environmental toxins, leading a high-stress life, and having health issues can increase your need for micronutrients. Yet, in our modern world, people eat too many overly processed foods.
Processed foods are extremely low or are completely empty in nutrients because of production, processing methods, and storage (2, 3). On top of that, most people don’t eat enough leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits, and don’t even meet their five a day. This means they won’t be able to meet their vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, flavonoid, and other nutrient needs through their diet (4, 5).
But who wants to chew so much salad? Salad and vegetable dishes are delicious. Don’t skip them. But I hear you. You may find it difficult to eat enough to meet all your needs.
Juicing and blending greens, vegetables, herbs, and fruits are a simple way to meet your nutrient needs in a delicious glass of green juice or green smoothie. They’re an easier and faster way to get more plant nutrients into your diet. It’s like salad in a glass — a delicious one.
But what’s the difference between juicing and blending? Should you choose juicing or blending? How can you make the best green juice or green smoothie? If they’re like salad in a glass – a delicious one – which one better qualifies for this status?
These are great questions, and today, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about juicing and blending. Let’s get into it.
Juicing vs Blending
Juicing and blending are both popular. But what’s the difference between juicing and blending?
What Is Juicing
The trend of juicing began sometime in the 1920s and 1930s. It became more popular in the 1970s and really picked up among health warriors in the 1990s and 2000s. Today, there are juice bars everywhere. You can buy cold-pressed fresh juice at most grocery stores. And many households have a juicer.
Juicing is a process that extracts clear juice from fresh greens, vegetables, fruits, or herbs through pressing, squeezing, or grinding. Since juicing removes all fiber, you will end up with a clear juice without pulp. Juicing may be a good way to get nutrients from green, veggies, herbs, and fruits quickly.
What Is Blending
Blending is another way to make a nutrient-dense drink. Unlike juicing through, blending doesn’t involve squeezing, pressing, or grinding. Blending simply blends your ingredients together with the help of a blender creating a smooth, but thicker drink. Unlike juices, smoothies, shakes, and other blended drinks contain fiber. All parts of your ingredients remain in your glass but in a creamier and easier-to-digest format. Blending also allows you to add other ingredients beyond greens, vegetables, herbs, and fruits. You may add some nuts, seeds, nut butter, coconut water, coconut milk, nut milk, avocados, green juice powders, protein powders, and other healthy, plant-based ingredients.
The Benefits of Juicing and Blending
Research has linked a high intake of greens, vegetables, herbs, spices, and fruits to a lower risk of oxidative stress, inflammation, obesity, and chronic health issues (6, 7, 8, 9, 10). Juicing and blending may help.
But which one is better? Let’s find out.
Benefits of Juicing
Juicing removes all fiber from your fruit and basically only leaves the juice in your cup. It creates a drink with a more concentrated amount of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. Many believe that because green juices lack fiber, they may be easier on your digestive system than drinking smoothies or eating whole vegetables or fruits.
Increased Vitamin, Mineral, and Antioxidant Intake
Making green juices may be an excellent way to boost your vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant levels. A 2004 study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition has found that drinking vegetable and fruit juice for about 14 weeks may lead to an improvement in antioxidant and flavonoid levels (11). According to a 2011 review published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition, vegetable and fruit juices may improve your antioxidant levels (12).
Reduced Risk of Disease
Drinking green juices may help to reduce inflammation and lower your risk of health issues. A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Medicine has found that fruit and vegetable juice mixes may be beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease (12). According to a 2011 review published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice and a 2000 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, pomegranate and apple juice may help to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure (13, 14).
Used for Cancer in Alternative Circles
Juicing is not only trendy but it is used by certain holistic health practitioners to treat cancer. The Gerson therapy involves drinking 13 glasses of vegetable and fruit juices throughout the day. Though you may find much positive anecdotal evidence among controversial opinions online, there is no scientific evidence suggesting that the Gerson therapy can successfully treat cancer. According to a 2010 paper published in Oncology (Williston Park, NY) “case reviews by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the New York County Medical Society found no evidence of usefulness for the Gerson diet” (15).
Even though green juices alone will likely not heal you from cancer, adding green juices to your diet may help to support your body through treatment and recovery. According to the Academy of Nutrition of Dietetics, drinking green juices can be a great way to add more nutrients to your diet and can be helpful during cancer treatment (16).
Problems with Juicing
Fiber is an important part of a healthy digestion. Prebiotic fibers from asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, apples, onions, garlic, and other plant foods, are particularly important for feeding probiotics (good gut bacteria) and supporting your gut microbiome balance. Many believe that by removing the fiber, green juice makes digestion easier and gives your gut some rest. However, this may also be a downside if you are not paying attention.
Because of the lack of fiber and the concentration of your drink, you need to pay attention to what you put in there. Too many high-glycemic index fruits in your juice can lead to blood sugar fluctuation. There is no fiber to slow the sugar down. You may end up with too much sugar too quickly in your system, causing blood sugar spikes and then quick blood sugar crashes. If you are making green juices, I recommend focusing on greens, vegetables, herbs, and low-glycemic index fruits, such as lemon, lime, and green apples.
The Benefits of Blending
A 2015 study published in Sage Journals has found that smoothies may help to increase fruit consumption in adolescents (17). A 2018 study published in Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science has found that drinking smoothies may increase fruit and vegetable consumption, thus may increase energy and overall health (18).
People seem to be aware of the potential benefits of blending. A 2017 study published in The Journal of Nutrition and Intermediary Metabolism has found that most people drink smoothies because of its perceived health benefits (19).
But juices are healthy too. So which one should you choose? There are some benefits of blending over juicing.
Increases Your Fiber and Prebiotics Intake
When you are juicing, the dietary fiber gets removed from your ingredients. When you are blending, nothing goes missing, it only changes shape. Fiber is essential for your digestion. It supports a normal bowel movement and reduces your risk of constipation and other gut problems (20). Fiber may also help to reduce the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, blood sugar imbalances, cardiovascular issues, and other health problems (21, 22, 23, 24). Moreover, prebiotic fibers from prebiotic-rich foods support good gut bacteria and gut microbiome balance.
Reduced Risk of Blood Sugar Issues
Thanks to the fiber, your system won’t be exposed to a quick dose of sugar from fruits and higher-carb vegetables. Drinking smoothies may help to keep your blood sugar levels steady. Blended green drinks may also help to reduce your risk of diabetes and metabolic issues (21, 22, 23).
Supports Nutritional Balance
Just like green juices, green smoothies and other healthy blended drinks are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, green juices don’t provide much else and can’t cover all your nutrient needs. Blending is more versatile. You can improve both your macronutrient and micronutrient needs.
You can add avocados, nut butter, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, omega-3 supplements, and other ingredients for healthy fats. You may add nuts, seeds, and protein powder for extra protein. You may add bananas, mangos, papaya, or other sweet fruits for healthy carbohydrates. You may add some green juice powders or your favorite supplements, including vitamin D drops, magnesium drops, liquid probiotics, omega-3 oil, or collagen.
Reduces the Risk of Inflammation and Disease
According to a 2012 review published in Advanced Nutrition, consuming more greens, vegetables, and fruits may help to reduce inflammation, heart disease risks, and obesity (24). Thanks to the antioxidant boost, you can support your immune system. Through the versatility of the ingredients, you may address your specific needs. For example, by adding omega-3s, you may reduce inflammation and support your brain health (25, 26). Vitamin D drops support immune, muscle, and bone health (27, 28, 29). Collagen supports skin and joint health (30).
Supports Satiety and Weight Maintenance
Green juices are delicious. However, they are not exactly filling. You may be tempted to reach for some higher-calorie snacks soon after you’ve finished your glass. Green smoothies, protein shakes, and other healthy blended drinks can be incredibly satisfying. They can be a great breakfast or a satisfying snack. They may help to reduce cravings for unhealthy foods and extra empty calories. Thus blending may support weight loss and weight maintenance (31).
My Take on Juicing vs Blending
Though both juicing and blending fruits and vegetables have their benefits, I believe blending is better because it keeps all the nutrients and fiber in. Juices can also have a high glycemic index and throw off your blood sugar depending on the ingredients.
Personally, I’ve done both juicing and blending. I eventually ditched my juicer and use my blender daily. I own a Vitamix blender, as a high-quality blender and great investment, having used the same one since 1999. I mostly use it for making protein shakes.
Here is my go-to shake:
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2 ice cubes
- 1 cup frozen mixed berries
- 1 scoop FITFOODLean (Xymogen) or UltraMeal (Metagenics)
- 1 scoop Advanced Whey (AOR)
*These powders provide 30 grams protein.
- I add fish oil, collagen liquid, vitamin D drops, and calcium and magnesium liquid on most days. Smoothies and shakes can be customized based on your personal health needs. My focus as I get older is healthy connective tissue, reducing inflammation in my joints, and brain health.
I also enjoy making vegetable soups in my blender. The blender generates heat without ice cubes so it’s perfect for some delicious soups, especially in the winter.
How to Make the Perfect Green Juice
To make a nutritious green juice, I recommend that you choose 1 – 2 base ingredients, 1 – 2 greens, 1 citrus, 1 sweet component, and 1 – 2 herbs or spices from this list:
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
- Bok choy
- Other greens
Herbs or spices:
How to Make the Perfect Green Smoothie
To make a nutritious smoothie, I recommend that you choose 1 liquid or base, 1 – 2 servings of fruits, 1 – 2 servings of greens and vegetables, 1 – 2 servings of protein, some healthy fats if desired, any powders you’d like, and ice cubes as desired. You may add some flavor by adding some cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, cacao powder, or other spices.
Base or liquid ingredients:
- Coconut water
- Purified water
- Almond milk or other nut milk
- Coconut milk
Greens and vegetables:
- Bok choy
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
- Other greens and vegetables
- Protein powder
- Hemp seeds
- Chia seeds
- Other seeds and nuts
- Nut butter
- Coconut oil
- MCT oil
Powders and supplements:
- Green juice powder
- Omega-3 fish or algae oil
- Vitamin D drops
- Magnesium drops
- Calcium drops
- Collagen powder or drops
- Any other supplements
If you want to improve your health and well-being, I highly recommend that you try blending and juicing. They are a fantastic way to add more greens, vegetables, herbs, and fruits to your diet. And sometimes an excellent choice for the little ones in your home that might be picky when it comes to vegetables. They also work well for meeting nutrient needs in the frail and elderly, and those undergoing treatments for cancer for example. Through blending, you can also improve your fiber intake and add extra nutrients, including vitamin D, omega 3s, or magnesium, to meet your health goals. Try my protein shake recipe and follow my guide to make some nutritious drinks. You may also find some delicious juicing recipes and smoothie recipes online.
If you are looking for personalized tips and dietary recommendations or want to improve your health, wellness, and mental well-being, I welcome you to start a personalized functional medicine consultation with me. You may book your consultation here.