The road to healthier living can, at times, seem bumpy, often paved with uncertainty and half truths. Particularly when it comes to consuming produce in drinkable forms, health connoisseurs have split into two camps - those who tout blending as their method of choice, and those who back cold pressed juicing as their go-to method. While both of these methods are great ways to up your intake of fruits and veggies, one may provide some added benefits. So, which camp has their facts straight, and which is missing out on essential nutrients? Let’s get to the bottom of this heated debate, with a rundown of the pros and cons of juicing vs. blending.
Cold Pressed or Standard Juicing - Which Is Best?
While we are all about the benefits of juicing, we need to first define what type of juicing we’re actually talking about. There are three methods of extracting juice from a fruit or vegetable. The first way uses a centrifugal method, chopping and spinning produce very quickly. The second grinds the produce to extract juice and separates it from the pulp, referred to as a masticating juicer. The third method applies intense pressure to the produce, pressing out all the liquids and leaving the pulp behind. While all three methods are fine choices, the centrifugal and masticating methods of juicing create and apply heat to the produce from quick spinning and grinding motions. While this may seem harmless, few realize that heat can kill off live enzymes and vital nutrients from the produce, making it less nutrient dense than before. The cold pressed method of juicing does not create any heat, therefore retaining 100% of the live enzymes, vitamins and minerals from the produce.
Many health conscious people opt for standard juice made from a centrifugal or masticating machine because it is often cheaper. However, they are simply not getting the same bang for their buck when it comes to nutrient-density. While cold pressed juice can be a bit pricier than its centrifugal counterpart, cold pressed juice packs three to five pounds of fresh produce into one bottle, far more than a standard juicer, and it retains all of the essential nutrients. Think of it this way - would you want to eat a sandwich with nothing in between the bread? After all, that’s the best part! If you consume juice that has lost most of its essential nutrients, you are missing out on the best partof your juice. While you may save a few bucks by not opting for cold pressed juice, you will lose a lot more in terms of health benefits.
The Benefits of Cold Pressed Juice
Now that we’ve defined the type of juice we’re talking about, let’s outline the pros of cold pressed juice, compared to blending.
By consuming produce in juice form, with no pulp leftover from the produce, the nutrients are easily and quickly assimilated into the bloodstream and readily available to be used for detoxification. Consuming produce without the fibrous parts allows your body to skip the time-consuming and energy-zapping digestion process, so not only does your gut get a rest from breaking down foods, but all of the nutrients from the juice are available to your vital organs immediately. It is one of the most efficient ways to flood the body with vitamins and minerals.
If you’re not one to reach for raw celery or carrots as a yummy bedtime snack, cold pressed juice offers an excellent method of masking your least favorite vegetables with sweet, palatable fruit. By consuming vegetables in juice form, you’re able to reap all of the benefits of a giant kale salad, chock full of collard greens, beets, and more, without actually having to sit through a vegetable-based meal.
Another huge benefit of juicing is that you can consume more produce in one bottle of juice than it would be physically possible to consume over an entire day. One bottle of cold pressed juice contains three to five pounds of fresh veggies and fruits, and takes no time at all to drink.
While there are plenty of benefits to cold pressed juice, it’s only fair that we also highlight some potential negatives about juice.
To start, many people reach for juice as a meal replacement, often choosing vegetable-rich juices to obtain all of their essential nutrients. While including juice in an everyday diet is fantastic for your overall health, we generally only recommend replacing a meal with juice if you are doing a juice cleanse. However, juice makes a great accompaniment to a balanced breakfast or lunch.
Another potential downfall is the price. Many people cite the cost of cold pressed juice as a reason to stay away. What they don’t take into account, however, is the amount of produce packed into one bottle. Imagine how much you’d pay for five pounds of produce at the grocery store compared to one bottle of juice, and let this inform your decision.
If you do not live in a big city where cold pressed juice is readily available, this could also be a potential downside. However, for those with easy access to fresh, cold pressed juice, there is simply no reason to to drink it regularly.
All About Blending
While cold pressed juice removes the fibrous part of a fruit or vegetable, blending is different in that it delivers a fruit or vegetable in its entirety. Smoothies and juices are very similar in that they are both nutrient packed, but there are some key pros and cons to blending that you should consider.
Blending fruits and vegetables in the form of a smoothie is an excellent way to deliver vital nutrients to the body. Many people opt to add in proteins like nut butters or protein powders for an extra nutrient kick. Not only will these kinds of smoothies provide energy and stamina, but they also act as an excellent meal replacement, as they are still calorically-dense and filling enough to hold you over all day.
Another reason to opt for a smoothie over a juice could be for the cost factor. In general, smoothies are less expensive than some juices, and provide more calories, so they do not need to be supplemented by a meal. For the price of a fancy coffee at your local cafe, you could flood your body with essential nutrients in smoothie form, and stay full through the morning.
While juice provides more readily-absorbable nutrients to the body, blended smoothies are often more antioxidant-rich, as most of a fruit or vegetable’s antioxidants are found in the peel. Keep this in mind when making a smoothie, and don’t ditch your peels!
We can’t forget about fiber. The majority of Americans do not get enough fiber in their diet, and this is essential to optimal digestion. Consuming the entirety of a fruit or vegetable provides plenty of fiber, and consuming produce in smoothie form is the easiest way to increase your fiber intake. Would you rather gorge yourself on a giant plate of salad, or drink a quick smoothie to fill up fast?
Beware of Blending Pitfalls
As you can see, the benefits of blending fruits and vegetables are innumerable. However, there are a few key things to keep in mind when consuming smoothies.
Many people like to toss in seeds, nuts, butters, oils and powders when making or ordering a smoothie. While these additions are full of nutrients, they are not lacking in calories. It’s easy for the calorie count of a smoothie to jump well over an average meal. We recommend watching your portion sizes when throwing in extras, and paying attention to how many of these extras you really need in your smoothie.
Another risk factor when making a smoothie is the sugar contents, as fruit can quickly increase the sugar content in your seemingly healthy smoothie. Make sure to stuff your smoothie full of leafy green vegetables, even if you don’t particularly like them. The flavor of sweet fruits like bananas and strawberries will easily mask the flavor of green veggies, and you’ll fill up on less sugar and more essential nutrients.
Blending vs. Juicing: Which Is Best?
Now that we’ve fully explained the pros and cons of juicing vs. blending, how do you decide which is best? It’s simple - as long as you’re mindful, both methods are exceptional ways of consuming more fruits and veggies on a daily basis. It all comes down to what your body is asking for and what you hope to accomplish in terms of your health. If you are looking to increase muscle mass and fuel your strenuous workouts, opt for a smoothie. If you’re looking to replace a typically sweet and calorically-dense breakfast with something lighter that will burn fat, opt for a vegetable-based smoothie with a fat burner. If you’re looking to detox your body and give your digestive system a rest, a juice could be the best option for you.
When it comes to your health, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Listen to your body and what it’s asking for and you will feel energized in your body and your mind. And remember to keep this list of the pros and cons of juicing vs. blending handy the next time you’re deciding between a smoothie or juice.