If you're trying to be healthier, then you've probably tried including juices or smoothies into your diet. I often get asked which is better?
As always, it's not that clear cut! Both have pro's and cons depending on what you need.
So here's my take on both smoothies and juicing.
Juicing extracts the water and nutrients from the fruit or vegetable. It excludes the bulk which includes the fibre. This makes a juice more like a supplement than a food.
The nutrients are very bio-available, meaning they get digested and absorbed very quickly. This has positive and negative consequences. Positive for nutrient absorption, however not so good for any sugars. They will go quickly into the bloodstream and could cause a blood sugar spike.
Pro's; Juicing is best for those with sensitive digestions (react to fibre) and for a quick nutrient hit (for those that are deficient)
Cons; can be time consuming and messy. No fibre or protein. Too much of a sugar hit if fruit or root veg are juiced. Can upset blood sugar and insulin levels.
By the way, if you’re doing a juice detox, without any fibre or protein, it's going to be harder for your liver to carry out it's detoxification process – kind of counter-productive!
Smoothies are blended whole fruits or vegetables. They include the whole food, including the fibre.
Fibre is beneficial for many reasons;
- it's broken down so it's easily digested
- it helps to slow down any sugar release into the blood
- it's good for detoxification, binding to toxins to eliminate them easier.
- it feeds your good gut bacteria, keeping your microbiome and immune system strong
Pro's; quick and easy to make (with a good blender), whole food, fibre benefits, filling (can easily replace meals).
Cons; less of a nutrient hit than a juice, fibre can irritate your gut if you're sensitive.
My Tips for Smoothies
You can certainly have both juices and smoothies in your diet, but here’s my recommendations for making smoothies part of your routine;
- Don’t buy ready made smoothies – most are loaded with sugar
- The greener your smoothie the better – prioritise veg over fruit (too much fruit will upset your blood sugar balance). The exception is low sugar fruits like berries and citrus. Avoid too many bananas and tropical fruits
- Mix up your greens – use spinach sparingly. It’s high in oxalates so too much in raw form can cause kidney stones. Swap for kale, salad leaves or other greens.
- Use nut milks for a creamy texture, or coconut water for a touch of natural sweetness
- Add your phytoestrogens – flaxseeds, organic soy milk. Chuck in other seeds too, like sunflower, pumpkin, chia, hemp.
- Add some superfoods, eg maca, matcha, green powder, collagen, coconut oil
- Add some protein – if you’re adding protein powder, make sure it's a good quality un-denatured whey protein or plant protein like Vivo Perform or PureBlend. Or one of my new favourites is MPowder Peri-Boost if you're peri-menopausal.
- Replace the odd meal – use a green smoothie for breakfast, a light lunch or dinner if you’ve had a big lunch. Or use it to perk you up in that mid afternoon slump!
- Get a decent blender so you can blend ice cubes and the hardest veg – ege carrots, broccoli stalks. A Vitamix or NutriBullet will do a nice job.
My Favourite Smoothies
Check out my favourite Smoothie Recipes (taken from the 30 Days to Happy Hormones programme) to get you started. And if you're buying anything from the Natural Dispensary, do use my discount code NJW010 for 10% off!
Do let me know your favourite smoothie recipes, you never know I might include them in my programme!
As always, do contact us if you need any help with your hormones or diet.
You can listen to the podcast episode here;