Inside Scoop: Is Blending Better Than Juicing? Short answer, there could be benefits to both, and here’s what you need to know to reap the benefits.
This post was submitted by Ali Wilson, a former nutritionist who took a step back when she became a mom and decided to spend more time educating her family on good nutrition and healthy lifestyles
If you assumed that consuming fruit whole or in a blended state (i.e. with its pulp and natural fiber) was always better than juicing, take note. Recent research – including a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has found that the answer isn’t quite so clear cut.
When it comes to orange juice, for instance, some nutrients can be more easily absorbed in the juice rather than whole pieces of fruit. These include carotenoids and Vitamin C. At the same time, flavonoid levels decrease up to 8 times in juicing versus the whole fruit because a lot of the healthy compounds are found in that little white layer called the albedo. But, this study was in vitro and doesn’t accurately represent how our body will process these same nutrients. Plus, what about the lost fiber and added sugar in the juice?
As summer hits its peak, juices and blends appeal to adults and children alike. In terms of home preparation, however, the question remains – which is right for your family, juicing or blending? We take a look at the latest studies, books, and professional advice on the subject as we help answer the question ‘Is blending better than juicing?’.
Is Blending Better Than Juicing? Here’s What You Need To Know
Blending Boosts Your Daily Fiber Intake
Health buffs often espouse the superiority of blending, because doing so simply involves popping one or more fruits into a blender and drinking the blend – pulp and all. Thus, blended fruit is high in fiber and it will help keep hunger pangs away. Fiber especially when combined with some healthy fat and protein also helps battle insulin resistance, ensuring you don’t consume too much sugar in a glass.
If you are trying to lose a few pounds or maintain your wealth at a healthy level, take note. Pure fruit juice can be high in calories and sugar. Just one eight-ounce glass of orange juice, for instance, has almost 2.5 times the sugar contained in a typical piece of fruit, yet it only has one third of its fiber. The case is even worse for apples. One eight-ounce glass has around twice the sugar but just a tenth of the fiber of an average-sized apple. Blending is preferable over juicing if you wish to boost your digestive health. Enjoying either whole or blended fruit will help you be more ‘regular’ in addition to the benefits mentioned above. A few highly rated blenders are the Vitamix 5200 Series Blender and the NutriBullet High-Speed Blender/Mixer System as a budget-friendly option.
Blending Can Boost Your Antioxidant Quotient
Antioxidants are present throughout individual fruits. By blending in lieu of juicing, you consume the antioxidant-rich fiber, as well as the pulp and juice of fruit. One study published by researchers at the University of Queensland found that fiber helps stave off colon cancer by transporting antioxidants to the large intestine.
Researchers noted that after being released from the cell “80 percent of available antioxidant polyphenols bind to plant fiber with minimal release during the stomach and small intestinal phases of digestion.”
Therefore, consuming juice in a blended form can boost your colon health and the antioxidant availability. By juicing, you may be losing up to 80% of those beneficial compounds.
Juicing May Be The Ideal Choice for Some
Specific conditions may mean that juicing is preferable to blending. This is the case, for instance, for people on low-fiber diets. Your doctor may recommend juicing as opposed to blending if, for instance, you have recently had digestive surgery, you have inflammatory disease, or you are having a treatment that irritates your digestive tract (e.g. radiation).
If you are trying to lose weight or you are on a low-carbohydrate regimen, juicing (in this case vegetable juicing) is an ideal way to pack your body with nutrients while keeping your caloric intake low. Vegetables differ very much from fruits when it comes to the blending-juicing debate. This is because a lot of the vegetables’ nutrients are in its juice. By juicing, you can obtain a concentrated cocktail of goodness without having to swallow an overly thick or stringy concoction. To avoid the high sugar content that can arise from juicing, try to include more vegetables in your beverage. Ideal vegetables for juicing include celery, cucumber, and fennel. Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are also juice-rich and packed with nutrients like iron, Vitamins A, C and E, Vitamin B6, folate, iron, and more.
The Quality of Your Juicing Equipment Counts
Juicers come in two basic ‘types’: centrifugal juicers (which cost less and run quickly) and masticating juicers, which are more expensive but run more slowly, therefore avoiding nutrient oxidation. Masticating juicers are also able to remove more juice from the fruit available. Finally, they are quieter (and longer-lasting) than centrifugal juicers. In addition to purchasing a masticating juicer, you may also find it convenient to have a citrus juicer. The latter essentially stims reamers into your fruit, thus enabling you to enjoy a seed- and string-free glass of O.J. or make a delicious salad dressing with juiced lemon or lime.
Celery and Juicing
This article wouldn’t be complete without talking about one of the biggest hypes, celery juicing. One 2017 study showed that a natural compound found in celery (‘luteolin’) could improve treatment of triple negative breast cancer. Another study by University of Illinois researchers found that a compound in celery can reduce the inflammatory response in the brain. Juicing rather than blending celery may be a good option to concentrate the nutrients, but celery makes a wonderful raw snack that you can simply munch on throughout the day as well and you will still get the benefits. Other vegetables and herbs that contain luteolin include thyme, green peppers, chamomile tea, radicchio, artichokes, and kohlrabi (to mention just a few).
What about Combining Juicing and Blending?
Some consumers prefer a mix of both methods. For instance, to obtain a smooth orange juice that is higher in bioavailable compounds, you may decide to juice your oranges first, then pop the juice into a blender with spinach or kale leaves. You can also juice foods like celery and ginger, blending them afterwards into a smoothie. Combining methods will also allow you to whip up a smoothie with the right percentage of protein, fat, fruit and veg. It will also enable you to add superfood ingredients like wheatgrass, chia seeds, or even acai fruit.
Check out this Smoothies 101 guide that explains how to build the best smoothie ever and started with some of the delicious recipes below.
The Bottom Line
So is blending better than juicing? Most nutritionists would have a preference for blending, but both juicing and blending can be a good way to get your recommended daily amounts of fruits and vegetables. According to the CDC, the vast majority of Americans are failing to do so, owing to factors such as time and lack of custom. Although juicing and blending each have their own conveniences and benefits, when making your selection, practicality, cost, and time are important considerations. This is because in order to make a difference to your health, eating your fruits and veggies whether in whole, blended or juiced form needs to be a regular part of your day. Choosing the right recipes and proportion of fruits, veggies, protein and healthy fats is also key. Sometimes, simple blends or even one-ingredients blended or juiced beverages are all you have time for. Embrace what is possible and set reasonable goals for your daily juicing or blending habits.
Do you juice or blend? Share your favourite recipe below.
A former nutritionist, Ali Wilson took a step back when she became a mom and decided to spend more time educating her family on good nutrition and healthy lifestyles - whilst taking up a career writing about them too. When not writing, she volunteers for a range of local mental health charities, as she herself has battled depression and anxiety throughout her life.