By Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapist)
There is nothing better than giving your body a homemade nutrient boost as we move into summer. I am often asked which is best a juice or a smoothie? Well to be honest they are both good, but in slightly different ways depending on what you are wanting to get out of them.
What’s in a smoothie?
Smoothies are made by blending whole vegetables and fruit including the fibre. They are easy to make, can be more filling than juices – depending on which ingredients are used and contain plenty of fibre.
Fibre is good for the body in many ways. It cannot be broken down by the body and so it moves through us, removing toxins as it does so (detoxification), preventing constipation and helping to slow down the release of sugar into the blood helping to prevent those sugar ‘spikes. I always like to go with the positive but just to be aware that if your gut is sensitive to fibre maybe introduce half of one homemade smoothie a day and see how you go.
The fibre from fruit and vegetables also play a very important role in the gut as it can be digested by certain ‘good’ gut bacteria which helps their growth. Apples, Artichokes and Blueberries have all been found to increase the amount of Bifidobacteria in humans, a beneficial gut microbe which has been found to decrease inflammation and enhance gut health(more to come on this in a further article).
What’s in a juice?
Juicing involves the extraction of nutrients and water from vegetables and fruit. It involves removing the fibre part of the fruit or vegetables. This makes the nutrients more readily available for absorption into the body, however, depending on which fruit/vegetable combination has been used, this may cause a quick rise in blood sugar levels. Juicing is great for those who may want a quick nutrient boost – say between workouts or on a detox. But the downside is that due to the lack of fibre involved they may spike those blood sugar levels especially if tropical fruits are included!
So overall – both juices and smoothies are good for you as they are packed full of vital nutrients that the body needs and are an easy way to pack in some of your 7 a day!
If you want to avoid those sugar spikes go easy on the tropical fruit and top up on the vegetables, berries, apples, pears and citrus fruits as these have a lower Glycemic load which means less sugar spikes and slumps!
Try to go for organic where possible too and if this is not possible, do give fruit and vegetables a good wash.