I am often asked whether I prefer juices or smoothies. Quite simply, I love both! I don’t think you need to choose one over the other. They both offer fantastic health benefits and they provide a convenient hit of fresh nutrients – the perfect addition to a healthy diet.
Smoothies tend to be more substantial than juices – thicker, more filling and energy dense. For this reason, I would classify a smoothie as a meal rather than a snack. A smoothie involves blending wholefoods, like fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts and seeds and protein into a liquid without removing the fibre. A heavy duty high performance blender like a Vitamix or Nutri-Bullet is essential if you want to make your smoothies super smooth and delicious.
WHAT’S GREAT ABOUT SMOOTHIES
The fibre in plant-based smoothies helps to promote gut function and peristalsis. A diet high in fibre has also been shown to help regulate blood sugars, reduce cholesterol and promote satiety – i.e. keeps you feeling full for longer. This is great for maintaining your energy levels and a healthy weight.
You can experiment with ingredients and can adjust the macronutrient balance more readily than with juicing by varying the combinations of healthy fats, proteins, carbs and fibre that you blend up.
Smoothies also make a convenient snack for people who have elevated energy requirements e.g. athletes, pregnant or nursing mums and growing kids. It’s a great way to pack in the goodness for fussy eaters or those who aren’t meeting their nutrient requirements through their usual intake.
Juicing extracts the fluid and nutrients from plant foods (fruits, veggies and herbs) whilst removing the fibre. Juices tend to have a thinner viscosity than smoothies and are less filling – perfect for a snack or to compliment a light meal.
WHAT’S GREAT ABOUT JUICING?
Juicing allows you to bump up your vitamin and mineral intake and adds a variety of nourishing plant-based nutrients in a concentrated and convenient form. Removing the fibre when juicing also means that the nutrients are absorbed rapidly into the blood stream, reaching your cells much faster than if you chomped through the whole vegetable or other ingredient used. For this reason, it’s best to base your juices on veggies and add a little fruit for flavour if necessary. In this way, your body gets all the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients it needs without the massive sugar storm.
When making raw juices, stick to vegetable and salad based juices and sweeten if required with a little fruit such as apple, pinepple or pear. Fruit only based juices have a tendency of elevating insulin and blood sugar levels, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight if you have them regularly.
JUICE + SMOOTHIE BOOSTERS
Ginger: relives motion sickness, nausea + morning sickness, stimulates circulation, soothing for colds + flu, relieves head + muscle aches, anti-inflammatory, fights infections.
Turmeric: anti-inflammatory, promotes liver function, supports cardiac health.
Chia seeds: healthy gut function, antioxidant, supports tissue growth + repair, anti-inflammatory, supports heart health, lowers cholesterol.
Cacao (in smoothies only): Antioxidant, releases endorphins, enhances mental alertness, supports blood vessel health.
Flaxseeds: regulates bowel function, omega 3 anti-inflammatory, supports heart health, promotes healthy tissue.
Kefir / yoghurt (in smoothies only): probiotic, promotes healthy gut function, supports bone + teeth health, immune support.
Wheatgrass: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, nourishes tissues, immune support, alkalizing, detox.
Parsley: relieves bloating + gas, stimulates digestive function, promotes thyroid + bladder + kidney health, anti-parasitic, antioxidant, alkalinising.
Mint: relieves bloating + gas, soothes + relaxes digestive system, relieves pain, reduces nausea, clears nasal + chest congestion.
Cinnamon: supports digestion, eases nausea, stimulates circulation, antiviral, anti-fungal.
Lemons: boosts immune function, fights colds + flu, antioxidant, antibacterial, promotes healthy tissue.
A FEW TAKE HOME NOTES…
- Your gut needs the stimulation from breaking down wholefoods – i.e. fibrous foods that you have to chew! Incorporate juices and smoothies into a balanced, wholefood based diet.
- Use organic or chemical free produce where possible, or wash them well under cold running water before juicing or making smoothies.
- Dilute your juices if you’re not keen on that strong vegetable flavour -water, coconut water or water rich veggies (e.g. cucumber) work really well.
- Be conscious of your energy needs – don’t go overboard with energy dense ingredients – calories still add up!
- Base your juices on veggies – the less starchy/sugary they are, the better.
- Berries, lemons + limes are great, low sugar nutrient dense fruits that add flavour.