Smoothies vs. Juices: Which is better?
There is nothing more refreshing than a big smoothie or a glass of fresh juice, but are smoothies and juices actually healthy? Are smoothies healthier than juices? The truth is there is no right or wrong answer, the choice depends on what you need as an individual.
What is the difference between smoothies and juices?
A smoothie is a pureed drink that can contain a variety of ingredients, such as fruit, vegetables, milk, yoghurt or chia seeds. Smoothies are made in a blender and contain all parts of the ingredients, including the insoluble fibre of the fruit and vegetables being used.
Juices, on the other hand, don’t contain any fibre as the juicing only extracts the liquid. Juices are made in a juicer rather than a blender and common ingredients are vegetables and fruit. The texture is much thinner than a smoothie because it is purely liquid.
Are smoothies healthy?
Smoothies are more quenching than juices because of all the fibre included as well as the option to add additional ingredients. Foods like protein powder, chia seeds or flaxseed can help boost the protein, fibre and healthy fat intake. Furthermore, when you include the necessary macronutrients a smoothie can become a complete meal, with many people opting for a smoothie for breakfast.
Try to have cold smoothies in the Summer and room temperature in the Winter. If you suffer from digestive issues then do not have a smoothie every day, and listen to your body’s intelligence and notice what makes you feel full of energy and what brings you down – try to be in tune with your body. Make smoothies more in the Summer and less in the winter, and try using a plant-based milk e.g almond milk. Try adding warming spices: cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, cloves, and raw honey in the Autumn Winter months.
However, in terms of whether a smoothie is healthy or not, it wholly depends on what you put in it! To make a healthy and filling smoothie focus on the following 5 things:
- Leafy greens – Greens are nutrient-dense, meaning they have more nutrients than calories. Nutrients include vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and magnesium. Ingredients that provide these benefits range from kale, spinach, watercress and parsley.
- Fruit – Fruit contains essential nutrients like potassium, fibre and vitamin C. Fruit is also a major source of glucose, the main source of fuel for the brain. Therefore, having a smoothie for breakfast helps your brain tackle the day ahead. Some great fruit to include in your smoothie are blueberries, mango, banana and pineapple.
- Protein-Protein increases satiety which helps prevent you from feeling hungry. Research has found that people who drank high-protein and high-fibre smoothies had a decreased desire to eat and a reduced subsequent food intake. Protein also provides amino acids that are necessary for energy balance and longevity. To incorporate protein into your smoothie, add nuts and seeds like almonds or egg white protein.
- Fibre – Fibre does wonders for digestive health and keeps your system regular. However, if you have IBS be careful not to overdo the fibre as this will aggravate. Fibre comes in two types: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre helps to cleanse the digestive tract and eliminate constipation. Fibre not only comes from leafy greens and fruit but you can incorporate additional fibre by adding foods like celery to increase the fibre content even more.
- Fat – Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to play an important role in brain health, including reducing the risk of depression and neurodegenerative diseases. Food that contains omega-3 fatty acids that you could include in your smoothies are avocados, nut butter or walnuts for example. When you incorporate fat into a smoothie it becomes a nutrient-dense meal that can nourish your body and provide energy.
How to make a healthy Smoothie:
For increasing energy, consider adding the following ingredients to your smoothie:
- Maca powder
- Fresh greens
- Fresh mint
- Raw organic cacao powder
- Chia seeds
- Coconut (water, flesh/meat, oil and butter)
- Flaxseeds and oil
- Hemp seeds and oil
- Matcha powder
Be careful when making your smoothie that you are not packing it with too much sugar as this can defeat the purpose of a healthy snack or breakfast. Keep it at roughly 20% fruit (if using) and the rest whole food ingredients, which includes a good quality protein such as:
- Almond butter
- Peanut butter
- Chia seeds
Protein powder is a great way to add more protein to your smoothie, but be sure to look for a brand that contains no added:
- Artificial sweetener
Are there healthy juices?
Dietary fibre is essential for digestive health and an important part of your diet. As juicing removes fibre, it isn’t recommended to do a juice cleanse where you only consume juices. However, because juices are purely liquid then the vitamins, minerals and live enzymes present in the juice are absorbed into your body with minimal digestion required.
For those individuals with compromised digestive systems, juices provide a low-fibre diet that if followed for a short period of time can actually benefit rather than hinder their health. Juicing can provide many health benefits, but be careful not to buy juices to be used to replace a complete meal as it lacks dietary fibre and macronutrients like fat and protein.
Juicing does, however, have anti-inflammatory effects and are great to positively boost your cardiovascular health, as there are high levels of antioxidant properties. Consuming fresh fruit and vegetables can lower your blood pressure. Juices are therefore a great way to incorporate more vitamins and minerals into your diet! They are a great snack or to have first thing in the morning to boost your vitamins and minerals.
How to make a healthy juice
When making your juice include water-rich items as your base as they are more hydrating. Celery and cucumber make a perfect base for a juice.
In order to make a well balanced healthy juice always include a mixture of both fruit and vegetables. If you only juice fruit, it will end up being a tall glass of sugar water. The sugar content of it will be high, calorific and toxic so you want to use more vegetables than fruit when making fresh juice. Also, make sure you include water-rich items as your base as they are more hydrating.
Celery and cucumber make a wonderful base for a juice, and you can add a multitude of different fruits and veggies to it. Carrots also work well as a base and pair wonderfully with fresh ginger root.
Here are some quick and easy juice recipes to try:
- 1 bunch celery, 1 cucumber, 1 apple
- 8 carrots, 1 orange, 1” piece of ginger root
- 1 bunch celery, 8 spears asparagus, 1 apple
- 6 carrots, 1 bulb fennel, 1 apple, 1” piece of ginger root, 1 lemon