Everyone I meet these days is taking some form of juice or blend for health and swearing with the amazing changes they are experiencing! Well I started to sift through scientific evidence to see what made them so good for the body, was I missing out on the secret to amazing?
After a lot of reading, this is what I comprehended.
Yeh Juicing /Blending Kya Hai?
Basically both are liquid forms of solid food.
Juicing is a process of separating the liquid from the fibre of the whole vegetable or fruit.
Blending on the other hand is basically mashing up the fruit or vegetable, and any other ingredient, it converts solid whole food into a liquid form. The drink thus obtained is also called a smoothie!
We get some we lose some!
Juices basically lose out on fibre which is one of the most important nutrient that helps protect us against life style diseases also helps fill us up faster. The juice however retains decent amounts of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Vitamin C is one important nutrient that seems to be lost on juicing.
I firmly believe that if nature wanted us to have juices she would have given us the fruit as a juice but she chose to pack it in the fibre which is has well documented benefits. Nature then added some wonderful colours pigments that have amazing health benefits, they are powerful anti-oxidants. Vegetables is the same story so why change something that is perfecto?
Certain juices like kanji, which is fermented drink of either black carrots or beetroot or bael sherbet are health drinks that must be consumed seasonally.
Fresh fruit juices may also cause bloating because of the large amount of fruit sugar –fructose that enters the digestive system at once.
It should be based on your heath goals. Choose juicing occasionally as a part of an overall balanced and healthy meal pattern. Fruit juices with a meal isn’t a good idea, in fact the only fruit juices I would recommend as a snack or rehydration tool would be fresh coconut water or fresh lemon water. For the rest choose whole fruits. The same applies to vegetable juices, try eating them whole.
If you are trying to manage your weight then a glass of vegetable juice may help as a snack, but the whole vegetable will give you more satiety and feeling of fullness for a longer time.
Blends or Smoothies
Blends on the contain 100% of all nutrients present in the vegetable and fruit. Their fibre content is much higher and includes both soluble and insoluble fibre and there is no loss of any mineral or vitamin. Additionally blends can be converted into complete meals by adding yogurt, milk, oats, nuts, milks, nuts and seeds making them a liquid balanced meal with carbs, protein, healthy fats, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
Drink blends and smoothies if you like liquid meals. Blending fruits and vegetables is equal to eating it whole and you do not lose any important nutrient, however if you are planning on replacing a meal with a blend then make sure you add other healthy ingredients like yogurt, milk oats, nuts and seeds.
But I still feel that eating a whole food in the form it is made is the best.
To back this up let me introduce you to the benefits of chewing: chewing helps mix the food with saliva in our mouth which is the first step in digestion and saliva also helps kill a lot of bacteria which will be lost when we gulp. Chewing also slows down the passage of food into the stomach and allows the stomach enzymes to deal with mouthfuls effectively, while drinking this is dependent on the rate of consumption.
Use blends as a change of the way you eat your meals or on days you are rushed for time. Athletic and people who follow active life styles can use smoothies as a pre or post workout snack before a meal. Blends are a good choice for people with chewing and swallowing medical problems but only under the guidance of your health care provider.
Both juices and blends/smoothies are nice for a change and can be incorporated into a healthy life style, however too much of a good thing is also not the best always. Choose wisely and listen to your body, what works for your friend may not be the choice your body prefers.
(Rupali Datta is a clinical nutritionist who has led teams in corporate hospitals. She has an in-depth knowledge of health care, food and nutrition – both in wellness and diseases.)
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