Juicing v. blending
Juicing essentially means extracting the juice and nutrients from a fruit or vegetable without including any of its fibre, creating a very easily digestible liquid. However, the absence of fibre means that the nutrients (and sugars) hit the bloodstream very rapidly, providing a quick burst of energy followed by a crash in blood sugars.
Unlike juicing, blending does not discard the fibre. Instead, it whizzes up the entire fruit or vegetable – skin, pips, cores and all. The fibre means that a blended drink is more filling than that produced by a juicer, and takes longer to digest and metabolise, helping to prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels.
• If you plan on making juices or blended drinks a part of your lifestyle, we advise splashing out on one of the pricier models out there. Cheaper alternatives break more easily, and a really good model is a long-term investment.
• Look for a blender rather than a juicer to reap the benefits of the whole fruit and vegetable, leaving you with longer-lasting energy reserves.
• Wash all of your fruit and veggies before using them.
• Always clean your juicer or blender straight after using it. This prevents staining and stops the pulp drying up to the point where it becomes difficult to remove.
Reap the benefits
• Base your juices mainly on vegetables, adding some fruit for sweetness. Too much fructose (the sugar found in fruit) can cause your blood sugar levels to spike, leading to an energy crash; this is especially bad for those with diabetes.
• Keep it green. To obtain the maximum health benefits, ensure there is at least one type of green vegetable in every homemade blend.
• Don’t forget herbs and spices. These don’t just add extra flavour, but plenty of them have associated health benefits, too: ginger aids digestion and helps to fight the common cold, for example, while turmeric is a known anti-inflammatory. Try adding about half a teaspoon of dried, ground seaweed for a multitude of good-for-you minerals, or seeds such as flax or chia for added good fats and protein.
• Don’t view juices as meal replacements. Instead, add them to your diet as an easy, efficient step towards your five-a-day.
• Work from a variety of recipes using different ingredients. This helps to avoid boredom and provides your body with balanced nutrition.