To Juice to Blend or to Eat?

Now anyone who knows me or follows me on Instagram will know I’m a fan of eating natural ingredients and making juices and smoothies.  Only this morning I found myself juicing a beetroot and pear to blend with some blueberries for my morning health fix.  However after I had drunk my little vitamin and mineral booster, and cleaned my juicer I couldn’t help but wonder what is the best way to consume your fruits and vegetables?  Especially as looking at my juicer there was a lot of bits left in there and only a small amount of juice.

The first thing to remember is that consuming fruits and vegetables is a good thing!   They contain lots of vitamins and minerals that your body needs, and eating a variety of fruit and vegetables helps you get these essential vitamins and minerals from a natural source.

But as with everything in life not all methods are created equally……to help you make informed choices when deciding how to eat or drink your fruit and veggies,  here’s my guide to what’s good about Juicing, Blended and Eating and what to watch out for.

Juicing

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The Good:

If you don’t like fruit or vegetables, it’s a good way to still get the vitamin and mineral benefits from these foods but without a taste or texture you don’t enjoy.  To bulk out a morning orange juice I like to add carrots.

You can use up fruits and vegetables before they go off, and experiment with different flavour combinations.

It’s a good way to consume fruits and vegetables alongside a meal such as a sandwich at lunchtime.

Watch Outs:

Juices aren’t as filling as eating whole foods, so you may end up consuming more calories than if you were eating the equivalent.

When juicing you lose the fibre from the fruit or vegetable as it is left behind in the pulp.

Crushing the fruits into a juice releases more of the sugars found naturally in the fruit, which could be bad for your teeth, if you are consuming a lot.

To minimise the sugar levels try and limit your juices to 1 small glass approx. 150ml a day.

Smoothies

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The Good:

Compared to juicing smoothies retain more of the vitamins, minerals and fibres found naturally in the food as the whole fruit or vegetable is used.  To get the most from your fruit and vegetables if the skin is edible keep it on when you blend.

They are really convenient to drink on the go.

You can add other highly nutritional foods such as nuts, seeds, oats and dairy products, which increases the nutritional benefit of your drink,

Watch Outs:

Similarly to juicing you are likely to consume more than if eating the raw foods.  But you tend to drink it slower than juices so it may be more filling.

Smoothies can be quite high in calories, especially shop brought or shop made ones.  To limit the calories at home use fat free yogurts, skimmed milk or milk alternatives.

Eat

The Good:

Eating fruit and vegetables provide a wide and varied range of essential nutrients and vitamins your body needs and provide a natural way to help you eat a balanced diet.

A lot of vegetables are best eaten raw to gain the most nutritional benefits, which can sometimes be reduced in cooking.

Watch Outs:

Be mindful of how you cook your fruits and vegetables, adding lots of oil or sugars to a fruit or vegetable when cooking can turn a very healthy choice into a not so healthy choice, stemmed vegetables tend to be healthier than heavily buttered vegetables.

The Verdict

For maximum nutritional value and fullness, eating your fruit and vegetables will give you the most benefits.   However juices and smoothies do still provide a much more nutrient rich and healthy option than a lot of soft drinks on the market, and provide a great way of sneaking fruits or vegetables into your drinks without noticing the taste, helping you get more essential vitamins and minerals.

Remember, eating or drinking fruits and vegetables will help you to lead a healthy balanced life, whichever way you choose to consume them, the key is finding what is right for you and enjoying the way you consume your 5 a day!

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