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Maximum Nutrition: Juicing Vs. Smoothies

According to studies cited by a Harvard School of Public Health article, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables every day offers numerous health benefits. (As well as a wide variety of them to get the many nutrients we need). Doing so can reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Also, it can improve our gastrointestinal health and even protect our vision from conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration.

I’ve read in several places that the Harvard School of Public Health used to suggest eating from five to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. They have now developed the “Healthy Eating Plate,” a visual guide to how much of each type of food we should consume each day. You’ll see that half of what you eat should be fruits and vegetables, leaning more toward vegetables than fruit. Unfortunately, and perhaps no big surprise to most of us, in the U.S. we eat far fewer servings of fruits and vegetables than is recommended. A 2015 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that only 24 percent and 13 percent of us meet the USDA’s recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables, respectively.

Why are we such poor fruit and veggie eaters?

Is it because we don’t like the taste of these nutrient-filled foods? In most cases probably not. What’s not to love about fruits and vegetables? Of course, it could be that we’ve never learned how to prepare them well. Or, many of us simply lack the time to prepare them in our jam-packed days of parenting, going to work, exercising, and all the things we fit into our lives. Regardless of the reason, something has to change. In part, this is why I set up saladmenu.com. I needed to improve my diet, too.

As I was making this change, I noticed that many people had begun juicing and blending both fruits and vegetables. They were trying to get in those recommended servings and benefits by drinking what they believed to be nutrient-dense beverages. In particular, I noticed a huge trend toward consuming juices and smoothies that involve greens such as kale, cucumber, spinach, and other vegetables. This made me wonder, is one preparation method better than the other from a nutritious and healthy standpoint?

What’s the difference between juicing and blending?

With juicing, as the name implies, you’re simply pressing the juice out of whatever fruit or vegetable you’re preparing. In blending, you’re throwing in the whole fruit or vegetable and simply pulverizing it into a consistent and somewhat thicker drink. In many cases, it’s with the skin on. A 2012 study by Texas A&M looked at the nutritional value of the resulting beverage from processing grapefruits by either hand-squeezing & juicing versus blending. In general, the blended beverage had much higher levels of phytochemicals. That’s seven times higher levels of naringin, a phytochemical believed to have antioxidants and other healthful benefits.

While the higher levels of phytochemicals offered by blending win me over pretty quickly, I think it’s equally important that you’re getting the fiber that remains present in the blended smoothies. Plus, if you’re juicing fruit, you’re getting a lot more sugar for the volume that you prepare. With blending, that sugar is spread out due to the extra fiber. For a great rundown on the benefits of blending over juicing, read Green Smoothies Vs. Green Juices – Which Is Better? Personally, it impressed me with how it hit on the key reasons for choosing blended smoothies over juices. I was certainly convinced.

Choosing a Blender to Make Smoothies

If you’re like me, you most likely believe that smoothies help solve the problem of getting the nutrients you may be missing. So, you may find yourself on the market for a blender! I know that I want a blender that can make a great fruit smoothie. But also, it has to be capable of breaking down tougher and more fibrous greens like kale. From the same site that discussed why green smoothies are superior to green juices, I found this excellent, fairly recent review of blenders by price point.

Superfood Salad or Smoothie?

Here’s a thought! You can buy all the ingredients to make my latest Superfood Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing recipe. Then, prepare and enjoy this exquisite salad. You can mix it up a bit by using those same green vegetables in some of the many recipes for green smoothies available through a simple online search. Be sure to let me know what you think of the salad, and share your favorite smoothie recipe in the comments area.

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