Smoothies and juices are a great way to pack fruit, vegetables and other healthy products into an easily consumable glass of nutrition. The reason I enjoy utilising these drinks so much is that the thought of sitting down in the morning and being faced with a big plate of fruit, vegetables and nuts can be rather daunting. However, with a smoothie or juice these healthy foods can be incorporated into your daily food plan with ease and enjoyment!
What You Should Put in
When I make a smoothie or a juice I always ensure that it is balanced and not too sugar-heavy! Here are a few tips about what you should be blending and juicing:
By adding fruit to your smoothies and juices you will get that great taste as well as the natural fibres, sugars and vitamins found in fruit, however, some are better than others. I find that berries are the perfect addition to a healthy juice or smoothie, even if you only add a few you still get that fruit taste without excessive sugar. Blueberries are a fantastic antioxidant, whilst other berries such as strawberries and cranberries are rich in potassium and vitamins. Be careful not to use more than two pieces of fruit in one juice or smoothie as this will be too sugary!
Leafy greens such as kale and spinach have an alkalising effect on our bodies and help to maintain that essential balance. When we eat the wrong foods our bodies’ acidic levels can rise to an unhealthy level which can have some nasty repercussions. Leafy greens are naturally alkali and can combat this problem; great additions to your diet if you suffer with acid re-flux or gut issues. These vegetables are a great source of vitamins, and are especially rich in vitamin K which is beneficial for bone health. In fact, what makes these greens so particularly healthy is the concentration of vitamins and minerals without being calorific or sugary.
Herbs and Spice
What I love about juices is the way you can add such a variety of ingredients, not just fruit and vegetables. You can add a little chilli, ginger or raw garlic to your juices; these natural spices not only provide flavour to our dishes but some surprising health benefits too. These ingredients benefit the heart and have anti-oxidising and anti-inflammatory properties.
As well as spice, there's plenty of room for a few herbs in your juices too. By adding fresh herbs from your plant, herb garden or freshly bought selection in the fridge, you receive their benefits in full. I like to add herbs such as mint, parsley and turmeric to my smoothies for their antibacterial qualities. Furthermore, herbs such as mint have a great effect on gut issues, soothing our stomachs, as well as their naturally powerful and refreshing taste. If you want to give spice a go in your nutritional drink, then try this Fruity Green Juice recipe.
Smoothies vs. Juices
So what is the difference between a smoothie and a juice? There are a couple worth bearing in mind.
A big difference is that when you make a juice you remove the fibre. As juices are squeezed from the ingredients the fibre is removed from the drink; this can be a positive or a negative. If you are already having enough fibre then this isn't an issue and in fact, your body will not use as much energy when processing your juice as it would with a smoothie. However, if you aren't having enough fibre then a smoothie is a better option as you will retain all of the natural fibres from the fruits and vegetables in your smoothie.
As smoothies contain whole food products and not just the juices, they fill us up more and can be a great breakfast on the go or for those of us who aren't too keen on eating a big breakfast. Furthermore, due to the fibre being retained in smoothies, they are processed and digested slower than juices, meaning we get more sustained energy from them. Try this Coconut and Berry Smoothie recipe for a healthy and filling breakfast!
Another difference is the quality of the product at the end of the process. As blenders and juicers process fruits and vegetables differently, these foods have more or less exposure to oxygen. In a smoothie the foods are blended with air in the container. Therefore the cells of the fruit have more of an aggressive interaction with the oxygen which causes them to lose some of their natural benefits, such as vitamins and minerals. This is similar to taking a bite out of an apple and leaving it, after a minute or two the apple will become somewhat browned and loses some of its natural qualities through oxidisation.
So Which One is for You?
If you want a breakfast on the go, something to really fill you up, then a smoothie is certainly the way to go! If instead you would just like that boost of energy, vitamins and minerals then give juicing a try.
These drinks are a healthy and easy way to pack goodness into your daily routine. You can combine your favourite fruits and vegetables to create your own personal nutritional energy drink. As well as benefiting our insides, having a healthy amount of fruit and vegetables in our drinks works wonders for our skin, hair and nails. Vegetables in particular are packed with the vitamins and minerals which sustain and support a healthy appearance. Smoothies and Juices allow us to easily consume our 5-a-day and fill our food plans with natural and unprocessed products. Give it a try and let me know how you get on!