Blender vs Juicer – The best way to get your juice in
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According to recent data from 2017 published by the CDC, over 90% of American adults do not eat enough vegetables, while 87% don’t eat enough fruits. Fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies are a great way to quickly and easily add whole fresh goodness to our bodies. They should definitely be part of your new clean eating diet.
But here comes the dilemma: which one is best: clean juices or creamy smoothies? To help you choose which equipment would suit you and your family best, we’ve compared blender vs juicer and highlighted the pros and cons for each.
Difference between blending and juicing
Basically, a juicer will separate the fibers, while the blender keeps everything.
The preparation is the same, although some vegetables and fruits lend themselves more to one type of juice than the other. But in both cases, you have to wash your produce and chop it into smaller pieces that will fit nicely into your equipment. Preferably right at the last minute, to preserve the freshness.
The benefits of juicing
- You’ll end up with just the water, flavor and nutrients. Without the fibers, and provided you have your juice on an empty stomach, those will be quickly absorbed for a quick health fix.
You can pack more fruits and vegetables in your glass. So if you just need to cram your 5-a-day quickly, this is an easy option. I find I can more easily “hide” some vegetables in my kids’ juices than in a smoothie.
- As fibers accelerate gastrointestinal transit, too much of it can cause diarrhea. Which means your body won’t have the time to absorb your precious nutrients. By removing the fibers, the vitamins and minerals stand a chance to be fully absorbed.
For that reason, I, for one, would not be able to have my basic juice recipe in one sitting if I was blending the ingredients. I would have to spread my intake of raw food over the course of the day.
- You don’t have to peel every fruit and vegetable you put in, as it will break the cells and extract the nutrients for you. Great for making the most of the vitamins and minerals contained in your fresh produce and saving time in prepping.
- You can basically juice any hard fruit or vegetable, even leafy ones. Cheaper blenders might battle to give you a smooth texture with hard vegetables or leafy ones.
The benefits of blending
- Fibers play a positive role in your digestive system. By feeding the good bacteria in your gut and keeping you full longer (soluble fibers). And by bulking up, flushing toxins and keeping you regular (insoluble fibers).
- Even though too many fibers can accelerate your transit, the right amount of it will slow it just enough to ensure the nutrients are absorbed. It helps in particular with the absorption of minerals, like calcium.
- They have a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels.
You end up with less wasted products at the end, as most of your fruits and vegetables are being used.
- They keep you full, so if you combine fruits and vegetables with some healthy source of protein or fat, you can turn your juice or smoothie into a full meal.
- They are easier to clean than juicers, which will require you to dismantle and rinse various parts every time. With blenders, you usually only need to rinse the jug.
- They take less space. Juicers tend to be bulkier and will take more space on your countertop.
They are cheaper. You can find some affordable juicers, but a good reliable juicer will set you back $100. Whereas a decent blender costs half that price.
Which juicer to choose?
There are a lot of juicers out there, with prices ranging from $35 to $800. Why such a big difference? While all juicers remove the bulk of the pulp, some do a better job at it than others, meaning that you’ll get more juice for your produce.
Some juicers also do a better job of preserving the nutrients than others. The centrifugal ones will heat the produce up slightly as it works, destroying a fair amount of nutrients in the process, for example.
The higher end juicers are more quiet, more powerful, last longer and are more versatile. You can, for example, use them to make nut milk or nut butter.
The juice is extracted through centrifugal force. These are among the cheapest on the market, but as the internal blade spins to separate the juice from the fibers, it destroys some of the nutrients.
They’re good level-entry juicers but might not be ideal if you’re aiming at juicing for optimum health benefits.
Also called slow juicers or cold press juicers. The fruit or vegetable is slowly squeezed to release the juice and separate the pulp, so there’s less loss of nutrients. You end up with almost pure juice, and each glass is guaranteed to be loaded with whatever vitamins and minerals.
They’re the ones to aim for if you need to juice for maximum health benefits. This is the one I have. I bought an Hurom HE series a few years back and have never had any issues with it. It’s a bit of an investment, but I wouldn’t (nor would my kids) be able to stomach the same amount of raw fibers in one go. You can read my review here.
You can also find twin-gear juicers, which are the Rolls Royce of the family. They extract far more produce and release more nutrients that the single gear version.
At the other end of the scale, you have hand crank juicers. They are like a bike. They’re cheap, and they will only take you so far: they’re usually specialized in one type of fruit, like citrus, or vegetable, like wheatgrass. But they can have their place in your kitchen. If you only want to juice that specific fresh produce, or if you need something portable and energy-saving.
Which blender to choose?
The blender’s job is basically to liquidize everything you put in the bowl. If you don’t want to taste some of the peels, like peaches or carrots, you might want to peel them off first.
The price tag for blenders is not as high as for juicers. The most expensive ones will give you a much smoother consistency, last longer, tackle most food and have some nifty features.
These are your standard blenders. They’re affordable and a bit of a must in most families, for blending soups and pureeing. An entry model might not be able to tackle harder fruits and vegetables, like carrots, dried fruits or even nuts. They will accommodate soft fruits, yogurt, nut butter without issues.
A sturdier model will allow you to blend virtually anything, including seeds and nuts. The larger jug makes it the perfect blender for a family or blending in larger quantities at a time.
These have appeared in recent years and offer a quick and portable solution. The Nutribullet is the market leader. The bowl is smaller and will usually only blend one serving at a time. A nifty system of tight lids means you can just blend, add the lids and go. Perfect for a takeaway smoothie.
These are great to turn your smoothies into a whole meal, adding proteins or fats to make them more filling. Some are even battery-operated, so you can blend your smoothie at the last minute at work.
Which one is best, a blender or a juicer? Which contains the most nutrients, a cold-pressed juice or a smoothie? Which option is best, with the fibers, or without? This could go on forever but is not particularly useful.
Forget the debates, just load up on juices and smoothies
It is far more useful to remember this:
- If drinking juices or smoothies allow you to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables, in their raw state, just do it. We don’t consume enough of the stuff anyway, and when we do, it’s mostly in processed form, at least for most vegetables. Get some great vegetable juice recipes here.
- If you do mind creating more waste, and your digestive system can stomach it, blend it. We have to go for juicing and find clever ways to use the leftover pulp. I make mini-quiches with it when juicing vegetables, and the fruit pulp goes straight to our worm farm.
- If the price is an issue, go for a blender, as expensive as you can afford. They are a useful tool in the kitchen for a variety of other dishes, so you won’t feel like it’s wasted money if you don’t do smoothies for a while.
- Fruits and vegetables are the only foodstuffs that can be consumed with no or minimal processing. They’re the perfect clean food and allow you to save energy along the way. They also have the lowest water footprint, so any way to increase your intake is good.
Almost forgot, my basic juice recipe is:
This takes care of most of my 5-a-day of raw fruits and vegetables. I don’t need to peel anything, just to wash them and chop them to fit.
If this recipe doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, feel free to check my other vegetable juice recipes.
What’s your favorite juice/smoothie recipe? Please share in the comments below!