There’s no question that fresh vegetable juices and green smoothies are both great ways to get more raw leafy greens into your diet. But, how do you choose which is best for you? Let’s break it down. A green smoothie which is a blended mix of leafy greens, fruits and nuts and/or seeds makes an excellent breakfast. It is very satisfying because it contains all the fiber from the greens and fruit, plus fat from the nuts or seeds that help keep you full and limit the rise in glucose from the fruit.
On the other hand, a vegetable juice made with a small amount of fruit, depending on size, may have as many calories as the smoothie, but will not be a satisfying meal on its own due to the absence of fiber. For this reason, if you have weight to lose, consider not juicing too often because it will likely add too many extra calories and could compromise your weight loss efforts. Also if you are dealing with diabetes, juicing may not be the best thing for you to do because the sugar in the juice enters the bloodstream rapidly without fiber from the original vegetables and fruits to slow the process.
Both blending and juicing both breakdown the mechanical structure of plant cells, which makes the micronutrients in fruits and vegetables more available for absorption. Micronutrients like carotenoids, polyphenols, and folate are often bound to large molecules within the plant cell like fiber, proteins, and starches. Now here’s where the green smoothie shines! Because the smoothie is blended, it increases our likelihood of absorbing these nutrients. The micronutrients that are bound to fiber within the plant cell may be removed with the fiber by juicing and therefore be more available via blending than juicing.
Also, with smoothies, it’s typical to add nuts or seeds as a healthful fat source. While blending alone increases the accessibility of micronutrients, research shows that the presence of fats is known to increase absorption of these micronutrients from leafy greens. So, make sure to add in some nuts or seeds in your smoothie. Chia seeds are great for this. To read all about how amazing chia seeds are, click HERE.
Now back to juicing. Juicing can work well for those who have nutrient absorption problems, gastrointestinal conditions, or other medical conditions as vegetable juices can supplement a healthy diet. They can provide additional beneficial nutrients to promote healing.
A good guideline to follow is to limit smoothies and green juices to one per day, and remember that you still need to eat some fruits and vegetables in their whole form as well every day.