The nutritional benefits of juicing are many (provided you keep it clean and stick to mainly vegetables – ideally only using a little fruit as a natural sweetener for fussy palates).
They offer a variety of nutrients to people that don’t naturally consume enough fruit and vegetables, boosting your immune system and overall wellbeing, and they help keep you hydrated.
What they don’t offer however is fibre (in fact, they remove it) –so if you are struggling to down your five serves of vegetables a day and you are low on fibre, why not give smoothies a go – they offer the same benefits, with a few extras thrown in.
FIND OUT: Does juicing really deliver all it claims?
The health benefits of smoothies
Smoothies are essentially blended whole fruits and vegetables that still retain beneficial fibre, says nutritionist Casey-Lee Lyons from Live Love Nourish
. This fibre content helps prevent constipation, reduce bloating and reduce cravings.
Smoothies are also easy to digest and may help to improve overall digestion. “The ‘pureed’ consistency takes the burden off the digestive process thanks to your blender doing all of the hard work breaking down the food for you. This easy digestibility also improves nutrient assimilation and absorption,” she says
Smoothies can help you eat more green vegetables – boosting your intake of calcium, magnesium and iron. In fact, smoothies high in leafy greens will provide your body with a rich supply of chlorophyll, a natural detoxifier and alkaliser.
But are smoothies better than juices?
Lyons says smoothies do have a nutritional edge over juices in a number of areas beyond the retention of that all important fibre.
“The consistency of smoothies do make for a more satisfying and filling effect making you less likely to over-eat, and juices can’t truly replace a meal the way a smoothie can.” You can also add more ingredients to a smoothie – there are fruit and vegetables that really don’t juice well that offer a lot of nutritional benefit.
“By adding healthy fat to your smoothie such as avocado, chia seeds, coconut oil, nuts or nut butters can turn a simple smoothie into a nutritious meal that contains the essential components needed to absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K found in your green leafy vegetables.”
What's your number 1 must have smoothie ingredient? Tell us in the comments section below.
Make the most of your smoothies
- Add a protein source such as good quality pea protein or brown rice protein powder
- Add health promoting powders such as spirulina, maca powder or super greens that boost your smoothies nutritional profile
- Avoid adding artificial or processed sugar into your smoothies, and go easy on natural sources of sugars such as those found in honey, maple syrup, agave and coconut nectar
- Don’t add concentrated fruit juice as a liquid to your smoothies as it unnecessarily increases the sugar content of your smoothie. It is best to utilise the natural liquid components found in whole fruits and vegetables with additional water if needed
- There’s no value in adding sweetened yoghurts, frozen yoghurts, ice-cream and sorbets - again these all contain sugar and can contribute to unbalanced blood sugar levels, cravings and unwanted weight gain
Try this: Green smoothie with a twist
A nutritious smoothie packed with vitamins, minerals and an added boost of tumeric to kick-start the day
Prep: 5 minutes
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 large ripe avocado
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- 1 small cucumber or 1/2 long cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/4 teaspoon spirulina
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (freshly grated or dried powder)
- A few cubes of ice
1. Place all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.
2. Pour into a large glass to serve. Serve chilled.