There’s no question that most of us could use more fruits and vegetables in our diet, but one question we often hear…. Which is better: juicing,
blending, or chewing your fruit and vegetables? Many people think that these modes of consumption are all the same and the same nutrients are going
into your body; however, there are some important difference in how your body processes the nutrients.
The three main distinguishing factors have to do with bioavailability, fiber, and ease.
Let’s first take a look at bioavailability, or nutrient absorption. Plant cells are made up of the carbohydrate, cellulose, and the enzyme responsible for breaking down those cellulose cell walls is called cellulase. Unfortunately, humans do not produce the cellulase enzyme. So when we eat fruit and vegetables, the two ways our bodies are able to harvest the nutrients from unbroken plant cells is either through the process of fermentation by the flora in the large intestine or by chewing very efficiently - both of which only break down a small amount of the cell walls.
When cell walls are popped, not only are our bodies able to utilize the nutrients within, but the broken cells, made of insoluble fiber, scrubs through your intestine on the way out. The unpopped cells just leave the body with their nutrients still inside. Through the process of juicing or blending, all of the cell walls are broken making the nutrients readily available through absorption.
Now the fiber factor. Obviously eating whole fruits and vegetable is a great way of getting all that wonderful fiber in and through your body; however, as mentioned above, the broken or popped cell walls creates an insoluble fiber that scrubs through your body maintaining great digestive health. Unbroken cell walls don’t work as well.
The difference between blending and juicing when it comes to fiber is pretty apparent. When you blend your fruit and vegetables, you are not only making the nutrients more bioavailable but you are also breaking open the cells and leaving in all that wonderful fiber to work it’s way through your body. You are also balancing the sugars with the fiber, allowing a slower release of sugar into your system.
On the other side, when you juice, the cell walls are broken and the fiber is taken out. Some may say that you are stripping the mix of a crucial component; however, with the pulp out of the way, the absorption of nutrients increases and is more efficient. The nutrients have more direct contact with the intestinal walls. That being said, there is no fiber/sugar balance, thus the juice will dump sugar faster into your bloodstream. That is why it is optimal to juice vegetables and fruits with low-sugar.
And now for the ease of consuming these crucial nutrients in fruit and vegetables. This comes down to your personal dietary habits. For the most part, it is much easier to blend or juice and consume far more fruits and vegetables in a sitting than eating the whole food. Blending and juicing also makes it easier to palate a variety of food at once, many of which you wouldn’t normally eat.
So which is better? It comes down to what you are trying to achieve and your personal preference. Outside of a juice cleanse, a balance of all three modes of consumption would be a perfect way of maintaining optimal health while taking advantage of the benefits of them all!