So you want to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet but don’t have the time to eat that much of them.
Why not get them in juice form?
But before you can do that, there’s the one decision you may need to consider.
Juicing vs. Blending.
These are 2 of the best ways to extra the nutrients out of fruits and vegetables.
The problem is deciding between the two to see which one fits you, your lifestyle and what you’re looking to get out of juice extraction.
Juicing vs. Blending
To start off, we compare the 2 methods and explain how to do them as well as what kitchen appliances you’ll need to accomplish the job.
What is Juicing
Juicing, either manually or using specialized juice extractors, extracts juices from moist fruits and vegetables, leaving behind their fiber-rich pulp.
With juicing you discard the pulp, or most of it and only get the juice of the fruit or vegetable. This makes it easier to consume since all you need to do is drink the juice that’s extracted into your cup or glass.
However, one of the drawbacks of this process is that by leaving the pulp behind, you don’t get the benefits of the fiber that’s contained in the pulp.
To juice you’ll need a juicer…
Here, you can choose between the
- cheaper citrus juicer, or more expensive units like
- centrifugal juicers or
- masticating juicers.
- Citrus juicers are cheap, many within the $20 to $30 range. However, they only work for citrus fruits. For more versatile juicing you’ll need to use one of the other 2 types mentioned above, which are more expensive.
- If you’re starting out or looking for a more economical choice, go with centrifugal juicers. They better for the money, with $100 to $200 giving you an excellent machine. Centrifugal juicers work faster so you wait less for the juice to be extracted. However, they aren’t able to extract as much juice or nutrients as masticating juicers.
- Masticating juicers meanwhile, are more expensive, with many running around $300 to $400. In contrast to centrifugal juicers, these crush the fruits or vegetables to give you your juice. They’re much slower, which is one reason they’re also called slow juicers. But the different process and time allows you to yield more juice as well as nutrients from your foods.
What is Blending?
Blending meanwhile, is less elegant than juicing. Instead of trying to extract the juice from the fruit, vegetable or other foods, it blends everything together.
With this process, the blender chops and slices whatever you place in it. So you get all the pulp, skin as well as the fruit. If you leave the seeds in, it blends those too.
So there’s no discrimination here, anything you put into the blender’s jar, you get in return (just in a smoother consistency).
Because they go through everything you include, you get all the nutrients that’s in the fruit or vegetable.
When it comes to blending, all you need is a blender. This makes it easier compared to juicers.
However, with blenders there’s the issue of size and power.
Size is easy as you pick the one you need.
- There are many personal sized blenders to make single serve smoothies with cups you can take on the go.
- For larger batches you’ll need to decide on how big a jar you need.
Then there’s the issue of power.
The more powerful your blender the faster it can do the job, as well as give you a smoother drink consistency. Stronger blenders also let you crush ice easily, are more durable and can handle frozen fruits as well as leafy greens that are fibrous.
The more powerful the motor, the more expensive the machine. Plus, often the louder the noise.
Blenders can range from the:
- Cheap $12 to $50 blender, which we don’t recommend for blending fruit or veggie smoothies, unless you’re talking about the personal sized ones.
- Mid priced blenders run from around $50 to $200. These are the sweet spot for most people. Those around the $100 price range offer value for money. At this price you get something that lets you crush ice, doesn’t wear out is a few months and can make frozen smoothies.
- The best ones are expensive ones. I guess that’s obvious. These can run anywhere from $200 to over $500. If you want something that is made to last, and will go through anything, look at Vitamix blenders. They’re expensive but are very efficient and can blend anything. Another option are Blendtec blenders.
Blenders liquefy whole fruits and vegetables. Unlike most juicers, they can also purée foods containing little to no juice, like banana, avocado, papaya, and leafy vegetables.
Why Juice or Blend?
Puréed fruit juices and green smoothies are beneficial to drink at any time of the day. They allow you to get the vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables much easier since it isn’t always easy to get enough through eating.
While drinking them anytime works, research suggests that drinking them on an empty stomach or promptly before eating maximizes nutrients absorbed in the body.
Do note that neither smoothies nor juices should supplant whole fruits and vegetables as a source of nutrition. They’re there to supplement them.
Benefits of Juicing
Pure juice is loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants, supplying the body with nutrient-rich hydration. While most types of juice extractors can only handle fruits, masticating types extract from leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. So you’ll have to get the latter if you want to juice greens.
According to the Stanford Cancer Center, 1 cup of carrot or celery juice provides almost all of the same nutrients found in 5 cups of the same vegetables. In other words, a single 8-ounce glass of pure juice packs an entire day’s recommended amount of fruit and vegetable servings.
Unlike fibrous blended smoothies, the body expends no additional energy when digesting pure juices.
This also allows you to take in more than you normally would through eating, making it a good way to get your 4 to 5 servings each of fruits and vegetables.
Drawbacks of Juicing
- Due to their lack of substance and fiber, juices cannot be substituted for a meal; those who supplement meals with juices often end up eating more than planned.
- Many people enjoy the spike in energy that comes with pure juices. Neglecting to juice leafy greens and juicing fruits only could result in blood sugar instability, inviting mood swings and, ironically, loss of energy.
- Flavonoids have been found to prevent stomach cancer and are found in the peels of citrus fruits. Juice drinkers aiming to increase flavonoid intake may need to add some zest to their drink after juicing.
- Manual juicers take a long time to extract juices, and electric juicers have less availability than the average blender. Fortunately, as juicing increases in popularity, the appliances are becoming easier to acquire.
Benefits of Blending
Blended drinks contain significantly more nutrients than juices. Studies have shown that blended drinks contain seven times more naringin, an anti-inflammatory flavonoid with cancer-fighting antioxidant properties.
Blending whole fruits will preserve the fruit’s macronutrients, allowing them to be absorbed faster and easier.
The average American consumes only 15 grams of dietary fiber per day, well under the recommended daily amount (25 grams for women, 38 grams for men). Those lacking fiber in their diet stand to benefit the most from blended drinks.
Because you use the entire fruit or vegetable, there’s less waste, it is more filling and doesn’t spike your blood sugar as much (thanks to the fiber).
One extra advantage of blending is you can make mixes with other ingredients like chia seeds by just throwing them in together in the blender jar.
Drawbacks of Blending
- Air pockets can form in smoothies while blending. In some people, this trapped air can lead to bloating and gas.
- Because blended drinks are packed with fiber, they require more enzymes and energy from the body to properly digest. However, a diet already full of fibrous foods like berries, beans, and whole grains, might not benefit from the added fiber a green smoothie could afford. Eating too much fiber can result in digestive problems like bloating and diarrhea.
- Poor digestive health could suggest imbalanced bacteria in the gut. Additional fiber in smoothies may feed these lurking pathogenic bacteria. In this case, restoring gut bacteria with probiotics is recommended before drinking regular smoothies.
Okay, So Which is it Really, Juicing or Blending?
Unfortunately, the choosing between blending and juicing isn’t as straightforward as one may think. There are a lot of factors involved as seen from the benefits and drawbacks above.
However, if you’re only concerned with the health benefit, in which case we’re looking at the nutrients as well as antioxidants from either method then here’s the deal.
Blending wins over juicing when it comes to getting all you can out of the fruits or vegetables. Because your blend the entire item, you get the nutrients from the skin as well as the pulp, with nothing left behind. This includes the fiber.
When it comes to the polyphenols, organic acids and antioxidants, it isn’t as cut and dry…
Researchers at the Sungshin Women’s University in South Korea found that blending fruits give you more antioxidant activity and also larger amounts of phenolic compounds compared to juicing.
That said, the study also observed that when it came to getting the most out of the ascorbic acid (vitamin C) as well as organic acids from fruits like pears, apples, and mandarin oranges, juicing was the clear winner.
There’s more. And here’s where it gets a bit more complicated.
When it comes to total polyphenols and flavonoids, the type of fruit determines the method.
Blending gives you the most polyphenols and flavonoids when you’re doing grapefruit, pomegranate, persimmon and mandarin orange.
However, for apples and pear juicing produced more flavonoids and polyphenols than blending.
While juicing and blending are both excellent sources of quick nutrition, there are two clear unique benefits to each:
- Smoothies are an excellent choice for people with healthy gut microbiomes who need more fiber in their diet.
- Juices improve hydration while providing the same nutritional value as smoothies, but cannot serve as meal supplements for most people due to their lack of substance.
When it comes to the health benefits, blending does give you more antioxidant activity along with the phenolic compounds.