There’s a lot of chatter recently about the health benefits of juicing vs. blending. It's a great thing if you're like me and find it challenging to consume five full servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
Fortunately, it's simple to concoct a healthful drink that packs several days' worth of nutrients into a single glass.
But what’s the difference between juicing vs. blending? Is it merely a matter of preference? Do they have the same health benefits? What does science have to say about it?
Let's take a look:
The Difference Between Juicing vs. Blending
Juicing is a means to separate the liquid in fruit or vegetable from the pulp. The result is a thin, though highly concentrated drink.
Juice has tons of vitamins, minerals, and tons of nutrients. These phytonutrients are plant-based compounds, and they lead to better health.
On the flip side, blending uses whole fruits and vegetables — skin, seeds, and all. Due to the fiber content, blended smoothies have more volume than juice.
Technology has come a long way but the methods of juice extraction are not so different.
All About Blending
Mediterranean people and Eastern cultures have used fruit and vegetable purees for hundreds of years.
However, it wasn’t until the 1900s after the advent of the home blender that Americans started experiencing the benefits of blended juices.
Always innovative, Americans were the first to include things like ice and fresh milk in their blended juices.
Commonly used ingredients were peaches, strawberries, and citrus fruits.
But then things changed:
After the U.S. began to import produce from other countries, flavors like bananas, pineapple, mango, and papaya became the most popular ingredients.
The rise of the smoothie
Blended drinks became popular during the first half of the 20th Century. However, their popularity exploded during the macrobiotic nutrition movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
According to the Juice and Smoothie Association, once health-food stores began serving them, the consumer demand for blended juice drinks grew.
Soon, nutrition and fitness experts began exploring the idea of using smoothies to promote weight loss.
In the 1970s smoothies went commercial. A lactose intolerant teen, Steven Kuhnau started experimenting with smoothies to replace milkshakes.
The product so inspired him, he started Smoothie King. Today there are more than 600 stores across the nation.
Smoothies have certainly come a long way over the years. Today, a quick Google search delivers thousands of recipes containing hundreds of different ingredients.
Juicing vs. Blending: 11 Health Benefits
There are some differences in the nutritional benefits of juicing vs. blending — we'll cover that in a bit.
But because blending and juicing use whole, raw, vegan foods, they share many impressive health benefits.
The traditional American diet leaves a lot to be desired, especially nutrition.
Processed and high-calorie foods may satisfy your hunger, but they lack the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function.
Blended drinks and juices made from raw fruits and vegetables are nutrient-rich.
In addition to providing more fiber and antioxidants, the beneficial plant compounds found in extracts are high in potassium, folate, and magnesium, as well as vitamins like A, C, and E.
The bottom line:
Because whole-food vegan diets are naturally higher in certain nutrients, supplementing with juices makes sure you'll be getting all of the nutrients your body needs.
Research shows that consuming a raw vegan diet including smoothies and juices improves health.
What’s more, multiple studies observe that diets high in raw foods are effective at reducing LDL or bad cholesterol.
Studies show that raw fruits and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that decrease inflammation and neutralize dangerous free radicals that cause disease.
Further, juices and smoothies improve blood cholesterol levels and also lower your risk of heart disease.
Prevents high blood pressure
Studies on vegans indicate that, as a group, they are 75 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure.
Protects you from heart disease and strokes
Did you know?
One study suggests that the antioxidants found in fruit and vegetable juices play a role in delaying and preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
Few studies observe the effect of juicing vs. blending specifically. Yet, they are nutrient-rich and plant-based foods. Therefore, they offer similar benefits.
Mixes things up
Humans are creatures of habit. Most of us fall into the rut of eating the same foods day after day. In order to consume the vitamins and minerals you need, it's necessary to mix it up a bit.
When you incorporate more of a variety, you'll not only increase your nutrition, but you'll also protect yourself from developing food allergies.
In addition, you'll be able to consume the raw superfoods you usually don't enjoy eating.
Let's face it.
It's hard to eat the recommended daily dose of fruits and veggies. However, drinking them is easy. Plus it's a great way to include a larger variety of raw vegetables and fruit in your diet.
Makes your gut happy
Whether juicing vs. blending, adding vegetables and fruits into your diet is one of the best ways of improving your intestinal flora.
Plant-based juice provides healthy soluble fiber, sugar micronutrients, and antioxidants needed to feed your good bacteria.
A healthy gut biome is important to your health and well-being.
Gives you instant results
The processes of blending and juicing breaks down the cell wall of the plants. This releases the extracts and beneficial nutrients.
When you drink raw juice, vital nutrients go to work immediately. In this case, juicing is preferred over blending.
Fiber slows down the absorption process.
Great for picky eaters
Getting your kids and other picky eaters to consume more fruits and veggies is a challenge.
Luckily, everyone enjoys the taste of berries and sweet yogurt. They'll never notice you added all of that spinach or kale.
Keep in mind:
You don't want to give up on serving vegetables, altogether. To forge healthy eating habits, use smoothies or juices to supplement when needed.
There is some debate over whether using blended drinks to hide vegetables by masking their flavor is a good idea. Some experts say that it sets your child up for a lifelong aversion to eating veggies.
Promotes digestion and colon health
Due to the high fiber content, particularly when blended, whole and raw foods help improve your digestion.
Blended juices have high amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stools which helps food advance quickly through your digestive system. This reduces constipation.
As we mentioned earlier, soluble fiber helps feed your good intestinal bacteria.
However, it also improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and inflammatory ulcerative colitis.
Did you know?
Cooking food destroys many of the enzymes in food. Your body needs the enzymes to break down the food we eat.
Eating cooked fruits and vegetables, it places a more significant burden on your body and prevents you from getting as much nutrition out of the food.
Furthermore, cooking food removes the natural cancer-fighting nutrients found in veggies.
If you are eating food for its cancer-fighting effects like purple grapes, don't use a juicer. Instead, blend the entire fruit including the seeds and skin.
Other cancer-fighting foods are:
Saves you money
Use up leftover produce for juicing and blending to save money on your grocery bill. Be sure to use all parts of the fruit and vegetable, so there is no waste.
Protects against diabetes
One recent review study found that vegetarian and vegan diets led to a 12 percent lower incidence of type 2 diabetes.
Another study had participants increase their daily intake of green leafy vegetables by just one serving. They found this simple act, lowered the risk of getting type 2 diabetes among women.
Lose weight and keep it off
A diet high in fruits and vegetables is very useful for helping people lose weight and maintain their weight loss over time. Studies link raw food — including fresh juice — to lower percentages of body fat.
Now that we've looked at some of the benefits of juicing vs. blending let's talk about how to achieve specific results.
Juicing vs. Blending for Weight Loss
Juicing and blending are both excellent ways to jumpstart your weight loss journey.
Studies show that when our nutritional needs are fully met, we experience fewer cravings and less hunger.
We already know that fruits and vegetables have lots of vitamins and minerals. But which types of foods promote weight loss?
Let's have a look:
Carrots are low-calorie and fiber-packed.
Furthermore, carrot juice increases the secretion of bile acids which promote fat-burning and aids in digestion.
One study found that ginger suppresses obesity in high-fat diets.
And another study discovered that drinking a ginger beverage after eating helped balance blood sugar levels, which prevents overeating.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has many uses over its thousands of years in existence. Research shows that ACV has many healthful benefits like lowering or stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Juicing vs. Blending for Detox
You can utilize juicing and blending to create the perfect green detox drink.
Our recipe uses green apples for their ability to ramp up the metabolism and clear the intestines. Also, green apples are packed with vitamins A and C.
If you haven't heard about magical benefits of celery juice, you've been living under a rock. Celery juice is known to help rid your body of toxins and clean your digestive system.
Fiber-rich kale is high in many vitamins and minerals. Plus it acts as a pressure washer to your GI tract.
Juicing vs. Blending for Kids
The most important factor when considering juicing vs. blending for kids is crafting something that tastes and looks appealing.
Getting your kids to try a green drink might be impossible unless you blindfold them first.
You also don't want the drink to be overly sweet.
This kid-tested fruit and veggie smoothie recipe is guaranteed to please even the pickiest pallet.
Kid-Friendly Fruit and Veggie Juice Smoothie
1 cup milk or yogurt
1 small banana (peeled)
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup sliced zucchini
- hemp seeds
- chia seeds
- ground flaxseed
- nut butter
Blend with ice cubes and serve cold.
Doing a Juice Cleanse
As with everything in life, there is a right way and a wrong way. Juice cleanses are no different. To start, you need to prepare before starting your juice cleanse.
Some experts recommend doing a "pre-cleanse" for 5 to 7 days before starting your juice cleanse. In short, this means you will cut out caffeine and other toxins, like processed foods, from your diet.
Make sure to drink plenty of water. Cut out animal protein. Finally, begin incorporating more raw veggies into your diet.
This helps ease your body into "cleanse mode" without shocking your system.
During your cleanse you'll start every day with lemon and water.
Then throughout the day, you'll need to consume no less than 40 oz. of juice and water. Dilute 1 oz. of concentrated juice in 5 oz. of filtered water.
Consistency is key.
For some, this may feel like too much juice. However, if you space it out through your waking hours, it is easy to consume the juice needed.
Juice cleanses may last from 3 to 7 days or longer. During this time, you may feel the urge to chew. This is perfectly normal and to be expected. You may chew gum or rosin until the urge passes.
Lastly, if you are experiencing true hunger, you should stop the cleanse.
Don't beat yourself up. Honor your body's signals by eating a sensible snack like an avocado, a salad, fruit or a small amount of nuts.
Then get right back on your juices cleanse. Don't worry, you will not undo any of the good that you're doing.
After the cleanse
After your cleanse is over, take a moment to celebrate your accomplishment. This is important for your mind and for your body.
For each day you cleansed, you fed your body the equivalent of 20 pounds of organic goodness.
Juice cleanses work to heal your body at the cellular level, elevating your health and well-being.
Meditate on any lessons you learned during your cleanse and decide what things to take away from the experience as you transition back into your regular way of eating.
Begin to incorporate solid foods back into your diet slowly.
It's not unusual to find that your taste in food has changed after a juice cleanse. You may prefer raw food over animal protein.
Juicing vs. Blending: The Equipment
Much of the juicing vs. blending debate comes down to one factor:
While most kitchens are equipped with a blender, fewer households own a juicer. If you are new to juicing and blending, you're probably wondering what the difference is.
Let's take a look:
How juicers juice
There are four main types of juicers on the market today. They achieve the same result but in very different ways.
Those who choose to juice as a way of life have a wide variety of reasons why they feel one type of juicer is better than the others.
Here are the facts:
Also known as slow juicers, these feature a gear with blades.
It extracts juice from fruit and veggies by "crunching" them into pulp. The device separates the fiber from the juice as it goes along. These are high-yield and low waste juicers.
This is the most common type of juicer. It makes quick work of juicing.
First, the blade chops and grinds the food into a basket. Next, while spinning, the basket separates the juice from the pulp through the use of centrifugal force.
This type of juicer is less efficient.
Also known as triturating juicers. These operate at an extremely slow speed.
They don't produce heat which ensures a thorough juicing of the produce. It also prevents air from getting trapped inside the juice.
Hydraulic press juicers
The least common type of juicer is the juice press. However, it creates the best end product.
First, the machine chops the food. Next, using metal plates, it extracts juice via a cold-press process.
All about blenders
If you are going to be blending fruits and vegetables regularly, you will need a high-quality counter-top blender.
Hand-held or emersion blenders will not do the trick. And blenders of an inferior quality won't stand up to the tough plant fibers.
Unlike juicers, there is only one mechanism used in blending.
Two factors determine whether a blender is suitable for making smoothies:
The motor and the blade.
Make sure to choose a blender with a motor capacity of at least 750 watts. For best results, select a blender with multiple blades.
Juicing vs. Blending Pros and Cons
There are both pros and cons to juicing vs. blending.
Juicing results in a small amount of very nutrient-dense liquid. This is perfect for those who need a low-fiber diet.
With blending, the fiber stays in. This has the benefits of helping you to feel fuller longer and improving digestive elimination.
Here are some other pros and cons of juicing vs. blending:
Smoothie pros and cons
Because you are blending whole foods, you’re getting more of the nutrients from your fruits and veggies intact.
However, the natural fiber may slow down or prevent the absorption of some critical nutrients.
Another significant benefit to blending is being able to add in extra other ingredients.
You can increase your protein intake by adding a dairy component like protein powder, yogurt, or milk. Need more fat in your diet? No problem just toss in an avocado or a handful of seeds or nuts.
On the other hand, because you are consuming more calories, you may face a tougher time losing weight or reaching other goals.
Juicing pros and cons
Many people love veggies and have no problem consuming five or more servings each day.
However, some people go days or weeks without eating anything that is raw, fresh, or green. For these people, juicing helps to fill a severe nutritional gap.
Also, juicing is great for athletes who are monitoring the macro and micronutrients, to fine-tune their health and ultimately their performance. In this case, juicing is a great resource.
The major drawbacks of juicing include the inability to incorporate other ingredients. Also, juices are less filling than smoothies because the process removes the fiber.
Further, when you juice high sugar foods like beets, carrots, and most fruit you can experience a blood sugar spike due to the excess carbohydrates.
This is actually a "plus" if you are consuming juice prior to physical exercise, though.
Fresh Juice Vs. Bottled Juice
The question of whether pre-made bottled or pasteurized juices are as good for you as freshly prepared juice is common.
Here's the thing:
Bottled juice that you buy from the store has been heat-treated or pasteurized to preserve its shelf-life.
This process kills any potentially harmfully bacteria. However, it also degrades the beneficial nutrients in fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, the longer the juice is stored on the shelf or in the refrigerator, it loses more of these important nutrients.
Still, studies some processed juices maintain higher levels of antioxidants than others.
In fact, tomato juice is one that benefits from the bottling process. That's because tomato juice has high levels of lycopene.
The interesting thing about lycopene is it actually becomes more available for absorption into our bodies after it is processed.
There are other problems with bottled juices too.
First of all, you can't be certain of the source of fruits or vegetables used. Secondly, manufacturers often hide other ingredients like flavor boosters and even added sugar.
Some commercially prepared juices are diluted. Others are made using juice concentrates and reconstituted.
Juicing vs. Blending: The Fiber of Truth
Both processes help to improve overall health by increasing your nutritional intake. They also work to reduce waste.
How many times has your left-over produce gone bad because you didn't have time to cook it?
It boils down to this:
When you juice you take out all of the natural insoluble fiber -- the pulp.
While fiber is good for you, it also inhibits the absorption of some nutrients. Therefore, juicing provides a better product for targeted nutrition.
However, blending produces a more flavorful product targeting over-all health and well-being.
But who says you have to choose?
Aside from the extra clean-up, there is nothing wrong with blending juices and smoothies. You can spice up your life by adding both to your diet.
What do you think? Drop us a comment below and let us know what your preference is: juicing vs. blending.