Juices and smoothies are both a great way to increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables. There are countless flavors of juice and smoothie combinations that can be created, so there are definitely options for everyone. It is often debated which one is healthier, and the answer varies. Choosing the healthiest drink option for you depends on a lot of factors. First, let’s go over the difference between the two.
The main difference between a juice and a smoothie is fiber. Fiber is an indigestible type of carbohydrate that can be found in plant foods. There are two different types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, and insoluble fiber does not. The process of juicing removes the insoluble, fibrous material from the fruits and vegetables and leaves a liquid, or juice, behind. This juice is nutrient dense and contains soluble fiber. Blending whole fruits and vegetables retains the fiber content, so smoothies contain insoluble fiber. Basically, what you put in to the blender is the same when it comes out. Conversely, what you put into the juicer is filtered out to produce the liquid juice. One type of fiber is not necessarily better than the other. To receive the greatest benefits, your diet should include a variety of both. Fiber offers a lot of great health benefits. Fiber helps to normalize bowel movements and maintain bowel health. Because it is not digested and absorbs water, fiber adds bulk to stool. Studies show that increasing fiber intake can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Blood sugar levels can also be improved and controlled by increasing fiber intake, because fiber slows the absorption of sugar. Foods high in fiber tend to be more filling, so eating a diet rich in fiber may encourage you to eat less and promote weight loss.
Juicing separates the liquid part of the fruit or vegetable from the pulp, or insoluble fiber. After going through the juicer, the liquid juice that is produced is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Juice is a very nutrient-dense beverage; the concentration of nutrients per ounce of juice is greater than the concentration of nutrients per ounce in a smoothie. Juice not only contains an abundance of nutrients, but it also allows for these nutrients to be easily absorbed. Juice flows through the digestive system and can be absorbed faster, because it does not require as much energy as digesting whole foods does.
Smoothies are created using whole fruits and vegetables. This allows for the retention of more of the nutritional components, like fiber. The presence of insoluble fiber in smoothies is what makes them more filling and promotes healthy digestion. The fibrous parts of the fruits and vegetables in a smoothie are also full of antioxidants. Antioxidants are powerful compounds that work to remove waste products in our cells and decrease cell damage. Smoothies contain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients just like juice does. The concentration of these nutrients is lower in a smoothie than a juice, because the use of whole foods to make a smoothie produces more liquid.
Best of Both Worlds
The great thing about smoothies and juices is that the combinations are endless. You can also combine the two to create your own superfood. Smoothies usually require a liquid base, like almond milk, to blend properly. You can substitute this base with any fresh juice of your choosing. At Fresh Vibes we offer a smoothie called the Hardcore Herbivore that does this. The Hardcore Herbivore is created using a cucumber, lemon, and celery juice base. This allows you to maximize nutrition and receive the benefits from the juice and the smoothie. You can use all types of juice as the base for a smoothie: apple, orange, cucumber, celery, pineapple, carrot, and the list goes on. These juices can be combined if you can’t decide or want to combine them for taste. Superfoods like turmeric and ginger can also be juiced and added to a smoothie.
There are a number of health benefits of drinking juices and smoothies. Choosing the best option is all about you! Whether you need more fiber, less fiber, a high concentration of nutrients, or a boost of antioxidants, there is a drink for you. Try something new, switch up your “usual,” or create your own juice and/or smoothie today!