Should I eat my fruits whole or blend them?

To blend or not to blend? This is a question that a lot of people ask when they’re just getting started with smoothies. There’s been a lot of debate online (and on TV) regarding the benefits and potential tradeoffs of smoothing compared to eating fruit whole. If you’re looking for a little more insight on blending vs eating raw, this article provides some clear, useful pointers.

But before we dive right to the blending vs eating debate, let’s look at some of the perceived benefits of making smoothies.

  • Blending leads to less waste – blending is much less wasteful compared to juicing (where you nearly all the fiber is filtered out of your fruits and vegetables).
  • Unlike juicing, blending doesn’t lead to a blood sugar spike – fiber lowers the glycemic index of food. While juicing does away with just about all the fiber in your fruits and vegetables, blending does not.
  • You can make superfood cocktails – some superfoods such as cacao, maca, chlorella, spirulina, goji berries, flax seeds and chia seeds can be hard to eat right out of a ziplock bag. By dumping these into your blender and making a smooth, you have an easier way to deliver a load of powerful nutrients to your body.
  • Blending makes it easier to eat vegetables and fats – making giant salads can be as time-consuming as juicing. Of course, it’s a great idea to make a salad. But during those days when you don’t have a lot of time on your side, you can easily and quickly make a smoothie and take in all those nutritional vegetables. Also, by dumping your coconut milk, coconut oil, hemp seed oil, flaxseed oils and other fats in your blender, you can easily hit your daily need for omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Blending is filling – if you blend your fruits and vegetables at the right thickness, your smoothie will be filling. Compared to eating bacon, eggs, and other quick bites before leaving your home for an errand, you’re better off making a thick smoothie and eating it with a spoon.
  • Blending is fast – compared to juicing, blending is way quicker. To juice, you need to spend a lot of time preparing your fruits and vegetables. And even after juicing, cleaning your juicing machine can be a headache. This is the probably the chief reason why more people blend than juice.

Eating fruit vs blending – fiber

Fiber is not a specific nutrient but rather an entire class of associated compounds, which have a similar use in the body. Fiber is constituted of carbohydrate molecules (just like starch and sugars). However, the molecules in fiber are bound together by bonds that our bodies cannot digest. This means that our bodies cannot absorb the carbohydrates that make fibers, and that’s precisely why fiber is referred to as ‘indigestible’. With regards to fiber, the only difference between blending vs eating raw is that blending chops fiber into small pieces. Thus, we wouldn’t say that blending your fruits and vegetables destroys fiber.

Blending vs eating fruits – availability of nutrients

I have seen a lot of claims that blending releases the nutrients in vegetables and fruits. Some studies have shown that juicing and blending (to some extent) releases nutrients in vegetables and fruits so that they are better absorbed in the body. It’s recommended that to preserve the nutritional value of your smooth, you limit the storage time.

Essentially, blending is part of doing the work that your gut should be doing. This saves your stomach a lot of time and energy it’d take to digest whole fruits and vegetables. Breaking down the fibers during blending slows down release of sugars, and gives the body more time to absorb minerals, vitamins, and other healthy nutrients.

Heat and soaking

Two other factors that play into whether you should blend or eat your fruits are heating and soaking. If you’re planning to eat your fruits and vegetable whole, don’t overcook since some nutrients are sensitive to heat. Also avoid over-blending (fruits should only be blended for a short period of time) to avoid heating in the blender. Some common nutrients that are sensitive to heat include Vitamin C, and Pantothenic Acid. Folate and Thiamine also tend to be sensitive to heat especially high temperatures.

To prevent nutrient loss when preparing your fruits and vegetables for the blender, avoid washing peeled or cut pieces of fruit. Unless you’re planning to blend the soaking liquid with your fruits, there’s no reason why you should soak the cut pieces. Some vitamins such as C and many B vitamins are water soluble. These vitamins do leach out of the fruits when exposed to water, which obviously would reduce the sum nutritional value of your smoothie.

Ten things to consider before buying a juicer

With the health benefits of juicing, more and more people are purchasing juicers. Just what should you consider before buying one of these and do you really need one? Here are a few things you should consider;

  • Do you actually need one?

You might think you do but perhaps you actually don’t. Think of it this way, juicers turn a lot of fruits and vegetables into a very small amount of juice. Basically, means you will have to do way more shopping than you used to. Besides this, the fructose content in juice made from juicers is very high and may be a risk to your heart. Lastly, with all the loss of fiber by the juicer, you will still have to eat vegetables and fruits to obtain the required nutrients. Do you still need a juicer?

  • Type of juicer

Juicers come in the centrifugal or the masticating variety. The centrifugal juicer has a blade that grinds the ingredients and separates the pulp through a mesh. Masticating juicers on the other hand crush the ingredients slowly and thus produce less heat. The masticating juicer costs more but preserves more nutrients by producing less heat. Centrifugal juices on the other hand have the cost benefit.

  • Cost

Centrifugal juicers are the most common and thus tend to be the cheaper ones. You can get one of these for as low as $100. Masticating juicers on the other hand are more expensive and cost up to $400. Price differences could also be brought about by the specific manufacturer and materials used.

  • Additional equipment

Some juicers come with additional equipment that makes it easier to dice or slice ingredients. In most cases however, this comes at an additional cost. If you feel that you require the added equipment, then some juicers will fit your particular needs more than others.

  • Alternatives

Blenders are much cheaper and healthier alternatives to juicers. This is due to the fiber retention of smoothies produced by blenders. Perhaps prior to purchasing a juicer you could consider buying a blender instead. It will save you money, will be faster and will definitely be healthier for you.

  • Commitment

Juicers take quite some time to work with. This includes the actual juicing process, cleaning and maintenance. Masticating juicers for example utilize the cold press extraction process which can seem to take forever especially if one is in a hurry.

  • Manufacturer

Like every other type of equipment out there, you might want to consider the reputation of the manufacturer whose juicer you are interested in buying. You do not want a juicer with sub-standard internals since this may pose a health hazard to you.

  • Size

Juicers are of different capacities. The size you choose will depend entirely on you. For large families with frequent usage, purchase a high capacity juicer.

  • Nutritional requirements

Juices with high nutritional density can only be made using juicers due to the absence of fiber. If you have specific high-density needs, then a juicer will suit you perfectly than a blender would. However, if you have no such specific needs, then you could very well be better off with a blender.

  • Aesthetic appeal

This one goes without saying. You definitely don’t want a juicer that looks like it left the manufacturing plant in the early 1600s.

Juicing vs Blending- What’s the difference?

Juicing and blending both help increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables by producing juices and smoothies respectively. However, what are the main differences between juicing and blending?

1.       The equipment used

Juicing is done by use of a juicer. There are two types of juicers; centrifugal juicer and a masticating juicer. However, the principal in operation in both is that the juicer separates the pulp from the juice. Blending on the other hand uses a blender. Again, there are various types of blenders; the regular blender, vitamix blender and nutribullet blender. Blenders do not separate pulp from juice but rather pulverizes whatever is put into it.

2.       The process employed

Juicers have gears or/and blades that grind whatever is placed inside them. The blades squeeze the juice out of the pulp and then separate the pulp from the juice. Juicers therefore have two end products. The juice from juicers contains no fiber and is therefore easily absorbable into the bloodstream. Blenders on the other hand pulverize the ingredients but the pulp remains mixed with the juice. This produces a thicker product known as a smoothie.

3.       Preparation of ingredients

It is easier to make juice from a juicer than it is to make a smoothie. This is because blenders giver better results if the ingredients are peeled and cut into smaller pieces before blending. This does not apply to all blenders however. For juicers, it is possible to get perfect results by putting a large chunk of fruit which leaves the only preparation task of washing.

4.       Fiber content

Blended smoothies have 100% fiber content from the ingredients. This includes the soluble and insoluble fiber. For juicing however, only the soluble fiber remains since the insoluble fiber is separated as part of the pulp. The body requires both types of fiber.

The advantages and disadvantages of each method depend largely on each person. However, the juice from juicers lacks fiber and is therefore easily absorbed into the bloodstream. This implies that rapid intake of the same could cause rapid increases in blood sugar level with negative effects. Both methods are however suitable for everyday use.

immune system juicing

Ten cold fighting juices for the immune system

Boosting your immunity can be done through a variety of dietary methods. However, vegetable and fruit juices may just be the most delicious of all. These juices help boost your immunity while at the same time providing your body with much-required nutrients for the day to day body requirements.

1.      Spinach lettuce and kale Juice

This is basically a vegetable-only juice which means it also has the added benefits of less sugar and fewer calories. The ingredients include 1 lettuce leaf, ¾ cup kales, 1 cup spinach, 1 stalk of celery, 1 medium cucumber, 1 carrot and 1 beet. For the cold fighting juices, we will use a juicer to make the juice. However, feel free to use a blender if you do not have a juicer, you will reap additional fiber content benefits.

  • Washing and drying all the ingredients
  • Cutting the vegetables and fruits into quarter inch pieces
  • Mixing all the ingredients prior to putting in the juicer
  • Adding all the ingredients into the juicer and processing into juice (this should be done in line with the product usage instructions)

2.      Pumpkin seed milk

Pumpkin seeds have a nice nutty flavor and have excellent anti-inflammatory qualities. The recipe requires 1.5 cups raw pumpkin seeds (soaked), 3 cups of water, salt, natural vanilla extract and maple syrup. This juice is best made with a blender to reap the full benefit of the small pumpkin seeds. Juicers will probably not give the best results. Pumpkin seed milk will also come with the added benefits of healthier bones, urinary health, and better hair and skin.

3.      Strawberry Kiwi Juice

Another one for the blender, this is a strawberry, kiwi fruit, and strawberry smoothie. You will require 3 mint sprigs, 2 kiwi fruits, 6 ounces of strawberries, 5 ounces Greek yogurt and orange juice. Blend all the ingredients together for a tasty smoothie. The smoothie is full of vitamin-C, magnesium and zinc goodness.

4.      Watermelon Juice

Watermelon greatly boosts immunity but also does a great job in relieving sore muscles that’s quite common with the flu. Watermelons have very high water content and can, therefore, be juiced easily. For this juice, one will require a medium-sized watermelon, a mint leaf, salt and ice cubes. Blend these together or juice the melon and add the other ingredients.

5.      Strawberry and Mango Juice

This recipe makes use of frozen fruits. Feel free to use fresh ones if you so desire. Mangoes add the much-required vitamin E to boost the body’s immune system. The recipe requires 1 peeled mango, ¾ cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon honey, 10 strawberries, lime juice and ice cubes. Again, feel free to blend or juice the ingredients.

6.      Beet, Turmeric, Ginger and Carrot

This juice reduces inflammation in the body, a common symptom of the flu. Those with rheumatoid arthritis will also benefit greatly from drinking this juice. To make this, you will need ground pepper, 1 medium beet, 3 carrots, 1 blood orange, ½ lemon, turmeric root and a fresh ginger. Pass all the ingredients through a juicer.

7.      Kale, Tomato, and Celery juice

The horseradish in the recipe provides anti-inflammatory benefits. You will require 1 teaspoon horseradish, soy sauce, ¼ cup kale juice, 0.5-pound kale, fresh celery juice and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Garnish with a rib of celery. This can be prepared by stirring all the ingredients together.

8.      Tomato Juice

This is perhaps the simplest cold-fighting juice you can make. You will only require tomatoes, salt, pepper and spices of your choice. Simmer the ingredients for thirty minutes then pass through a strainer and bring to a boil. Place the contents in a canner and let cool overnight.

9.      Orange and grapefruit Juice

This juice is very high in vitamin C content and thus facilitates enhanced wound healing, the ability to fight infections and a robust immune response. You will require two oranges (navel), 1 grapefruit, 5 oranges (Clementine) and ½ a lemon. Simply peel all the fruits and juice them.

10.  Apple, Carrot and Orange Juice

As you have probably guessed, this one is really sweet and full of nutrients such as antioxidants and vitamins. Carrots are usually bursting with beta carotene goodness and potassium, very beneficial to the body. You will require a large apple, pineapple chunks (10 ounces), carrots (2) and ginger. Follow the above-mentioned preparation method.

Ten Juicing Recipes for Fast Weight Loss

Losing weight sits right at the top of many people’s priorities. Some weight loss methods actually work, others don’t, some are safe while others aren’t, some lead to muscle loss and so on. The pros and cons associated with the numerous solutions out there are just about endless. However, there is a healthy way to shed off the excess weight while at the same time keeping your body nourished with essential vitamins through consumption of fresh-made juice. Here are the top ten weight loss juices you can make right at home and at relatively low costs too.

1.       Best Green Detox Juice

This is perhaps the best balance of fruits and vegetables in a juice and the apples make the juice sweeter and serve to cancel out the celery taste. You will require 2 green apples, a sprig of mint, a single piece fresh ginger, eight leaves of kale, 1 cucumber and three stalks celery. For the preparation of detox juices, each variant will use a similar preparation method that involves:

  • Washing and drying all the ingredients
  • Cutting the vegetables and fruits into quarter inch pieces
  • Mixing all the ingredients prior to putting in the juicer
  • Adding all the ingredients into the juicer and processing into juice (this should be done in line with the product usage instructions)

2.       Apple Lemon Juice

This is perfect for a detox early in the morning and has a slightly tangy taste. The main benefit will be the anti-oxidants. The main ingredients are lemons (2 peeled), half a cup water, cucumbers and 3 apples. The preparation method is similar to the other detox juices.

3.       Best Green Juice (For kids)

It is basically prepared for kids with several fruits to mask the taste of vegetables in the juice. The vegetables however do provide excellent sources of iron, folic acid, calcium and vitamins. You will require one large kale leaf, ¾ cup baby spinach, 1 green apple, 1 lemon and three peeled oranges.

4.       Red zinger

This is another perfect-for-breakfast type of juice with an unrivalled nutritional profile. The juice has a sweet taste with a slight tangy taste from the lemon. The ingredient list is pretty simple with 2 beets, apples, carrots and lemons. Prepare using the earlier mentioned juicing method.

5.       Spinach Lemonade

This juice contains high amounts of kale and thus has high level of nutrients and very low-calorie count. One can add two spoonfuls of honey if they prefer a sweeter taste. The ingredients include half cup baby spinach, 3 stalks of celery, a lemon (peeled), 1 apple and a clove of ginger.

6.       Orange Dreamsicle

This is perhaps the most delicious of all weight-loss juices. Feel free to freeze the juice for an even better-tasting treat. You will require 2 apples, 2 stalks of celery, a medium sweet potato, 2 pears and 1 large orange (peeled). Prepare the juice as you would with any other juice (explained above).

7.       Easy Start Juice

This juice is targeted at those starting out with detox juices due to its relatively simple ingredients with subtle flavors. Prepare the juice using 3 stalks celery, 3 carrots and 2 green apples.

8.       Ginger ale

This is a great detox juice especially for those with stomach problems. The main spice in the juice is ginger which comes with the exceptional benefits of nausea prevention from a wide range of events. The ingredients are 4 apples, 3 stalks celery, cucumber, 1 cup baby spinach, 2 peeled limes and one ginger root (medium).

9.       Green diuretic

Diuretics remove excess water from the body. This juice requires a few simple ingredients; 1 cucumber (main diuretic), 3 stalks celery (anti-inflammatory), 1 carrot, 2 apples and three spinach leaves. Prepare as explained above.

10.   Apple Carrot Juice

As you have probably guessed, this one is really sweet and full of nutrients such as antioxidants and vitamins. Carrots are usually bursting with beta carotene goodness and potassium, very beneficial to the body. You will require a large apple, pineapple chunks (10 ounces), carrots (2) and ginger. Follow the above-mentioned preparation method.