“What are your thoughts on juicing?”
There is a lot of hype around juicing, especially in the cancer world.
If you want my quick answer to this question, I can tell you:
I don’t have a juicer.
I don’t have a juicer for several reasons, including the fact that they’re expensive, can take up a lot of room, and I always wonder what individuals do with all of the leftover pulp/fiber after juicing. It seems like a lot of waste, and not to mention a lot of unused nutrients!
It likely comes as no surprise that the consumption of whole fruits is better than drinking fruit juice. But contrary to popular belief, the consumption of whole fruit is associated with significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Whereas, fruit juice consumption is associated with higher risk. (1)
What is the big difference? Fiber.
We used to think the role of fiber was simply to bulk the stools for healthy bowel movements. And while that still holds true, we know now it isn’t fiber’s only role. And in fact, likely not even it’s most important role.
Fiber is the fuel source for gut bacteria. That may sound like a bad thing, but it isn’t at all.
When we eat fiber, we provide the good bacteria fuel, and in return, the gut bacteria creates short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Why do we care?
SCFAs = anti-inflammatory
Not to mention several other benefits of SCFAs, such as improving bone health (2) and preventing the growth of bad bacteria.
When we juice, we don’t just lose fiber, we lose much more. We lose phytochemicals -- cancer and other disease fighting properties. This is because phytochemicals are often attached to fiber.
Consuming smoothies instead of juice allows us to take advantage of the fiber found in whole, plant-based foods. In fact, by chewing food we are able to break down some of the cell structure of the plant leading to increased absorption of phytochemicals. But when we blend our fruits and veggies, the high-speed blade breaks down the cell structures more than our teeth can which maximizes our ability to absorb all of it’s great disease fighting nutrients. (4)
Now, keep in mind all smoothies are not created equal. Many can be loaded with added sugars, juice, and other products not found to protect against disease.
There are thousands (millions? billions?) of smoothie recipes available in the world. And truth be told, you don’t even need a recipe. All you really need is frozen fruit and a liquid. But here are a few of my favorite things to add:
Non-dairy, unsweetened milk
Old fashioned oats
But for today, I wanted to share with you my favorite smoothie lately. It’s just sweet enough, rather creamy (hello oat milk!), and hits the spot.
In the end, if you are looking for a great way to add beneficial gut properties (fiber!) all while maximizing disease fighting nutrients, smoothies beat out juicing. Plus, it’s a tasty way to consume nutrients for even the pickiest of eaters!
What is your favorite type of smoothie or smoothie addition?
Let us know in the comments below!
Berry Oat Smoothie
Makes: ~3, 16 ounce smoothies
Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend. Add more or less milk, depending on your desired consistency.
2 cups organic, frozen strawberries
1 cup organic, frozen blueberries
1 medium banana (fresh or frozen)*
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1-2 cups spinach
2+ cups oat milk (i.e. Oatly)
(1) Muraki, I. (2013). Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: Results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. BMJ, 347. doi:10.1136/bmj.f6935
(2) Abrams, S. A., Griffin, I. J., Hawthorne, K. M., Liang, L., Gunn, S. K., Darlington, G., & Ellis, K. J. (2005). A combination of prebiotic short- and long-chain inulin-type fructans enhances calcium absorption and bone mineralization in young adolescents. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 82(2), 471-476. doi:10.1093/ajcn.82.2.471
(3) Arranz, S., Silván, J. M., & Saura-Calixto, F. (2010). Nonextractable polyphenols, usually ignored, are the major part of dietary polyphenols: A study on the Spanish diet. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 54(11), 1646-1658. doi:10.1002/mnfr.200900580
(4) L Lemens, S Van Buggenhout, AM Van Loey, ME Hendrickx. Particle size reduction leading to cell wall rupture is more important for the β-carotene bioaccessibility of raw compared to thermally processed carrots. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Dec 22;58(24):12769-76.