Are you eating the minimum recommendation of 6-8 servings of fruit and vegetables daily? Few of us are, yet studies show people who eat the most fruit and vegetables have the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease.
Drinking your fruit and vegetables can be an efficient method for meeting the daily requirements, but which is better, juicing or blending?
Juicing concentrates nutrients helping to deliver more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your body. The idea of eating 2 carrots, 4 apples, and 3 cups of spinach in one sitting might sound implausible, but with juicing you can easily consume that in 12 ounces or less.
Juice has been involved in a number of studies, one published in the journal Clinical Nutrition found a 30% decrease of plaque in patients with heart disease after 1 year of drinking 1 ounce of pomegranate juice daily.
Unfortunately concentrating fruit and vegetables into juice also produces an abundance of sugar. Due to fiber being stripped away, along with phytonutrients, juice is digested quickly and can cause blood sugar spikes. Fast digestion can leave you feeling hungry 15 minutes later causing you to eat more than usual.
A study published in 2008 following 187,382 participants found those who ate whole fruit regularly had a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. Those who consumed 1 or more servings of fruit juice daily increased their risk of type 2 diabetes as much as 21%.
In extreme cases, where people consumed large amounts of juice frequently, hyperkalemia developed. This medical condition associated with high levels of potassium in the blood can cause abnormal heart rhythm, nausea, weakness, paralysis, and even death. While rare, the importance of keeping portion size in check cannot be overstated.
Little reputable research shows juicing is healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables, however it does make it easier to consume them on a regular basis and in sufficient quantity.
Blending maintains fiber helping you to feel full longer. You can easily add protein sources to a smoothie which also aids in slower digestion and a lower rise in blood sugar. Green smoothies which contain spinach, kale and other vegetables mixed with fruit provide a great source of nutrients hidden by the taste of fruit.
Smoothies can easily become high calorie milkshakes with sweetened yogurt, juice, ice cream, and sorbet. Be particularly weary of bottled and store bought smoothies which are notorious for being high in sugar. A standard size smoothie is 22 ounces; too large for most people.
Portion control is important when juicing or blending, since calories and sugar can easily get out of hand. One serving of juice is 4 ounces. Smoothies should be around 8 ounces and contain vegetables, protein, and even healthy fat such as flaxseeds to slow digestion. Making your juice or smoothie at home helps to better control the ingredients and portion size. There are many health benefits to eating fruit and vegetables, but moderation in all things is key.