At this stage of life, you probably know well the importance of eating fruits and vegetables. In fact, you’ve probably been told from a very young age to do so! So, if fruits and veggies are a staple in your diet and something you try to incorporate into each and every meal, good for you! You are certainly on your way to good health.
A diet containing fruits and vegetables provides your body with several biologically active compounds that decrease the risk of serious conditions, including heart disease, explains Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S, D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition, DrAxe.com and author of Ancient Remedies. “Fruits and vegetables are also rich in fermentable fiber, which has prebiotic activity, promotes a healthy gut microbiota, and therefore supports various aspects of health.”
Nowadays, we have more access to fresh fruits and vegetables than ever before. Even fruits and vegetables that are not native to our land or available during the particular time of year, we can access and consume. There are also several ways in which we can consume these fruits and veggies, such as juicing, where you extract or press the juice of the fruit or vegetable, that can make the process of garnering all those nutrients easier. However, it begs the question: Is it better to juice or eat the whole fruit and vegetable?
Is it better to juice or eat the whole fruit and vegetable?
The answer is that both are a great way to get your fair share of nutrients. Juicing essentially pulls the vitamins, minerals, and liquids out of the produce, but it does eliminate the fibrous material (the pulp) of the whole fruit or veggie, explains functional nutritional therapy practitioner Tansy Rodgers, F.N.T.P. Therefore, she notes that eating the whole fruit or vegetable is going to give you the beneficial fiber and a higher level of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants—not to mention fill you up with less calories and be very supportive for a weight-loss program. “Juicing takes the fiber out, which means that juicing is like a straight shot of sugar to the bloodstream, not having anything to help the glucose slow down in it’s absorption rate,” says Rodgers. “All of this is why whole food produce nutrition is critical for a healthy body and lifestyle when compared to juicing.”
But that’s not to say that juicing doesn’t have its benefits, too. Because it takes fiber out of the equation, the fruit and veggies consumed in a juiced version are far easier on the gut and for digestion, Rodgers points out. “In addition to serving as a concentrated form of nutrients in such a small glass, juicing is great for hydration and energy,” she says. “The glucose helps give the body more energy and the extra hydration from the liquid helps your body stay replenished (not to mention that there are naturally occurring electrolytes that you are getting at the same time).”
The downside to juicing, as already mentioned, is the fiber aspect. Considering the fact that only 5 percent of Americans meet the daily fiber recommendations set out by the Institute of Medicine, per a research study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, we should be putting every effort forth to meet our 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men.
What’s more: Juicing can be fairly high in sugar, especially when sugary fruits and veggies (beets, mangoes, bananas, etc.) are added. “If you have diabetes or any other underlying condition that needs to keep sugar intake low, then keeping juicing to a minimum (or having your juice with your other breakfast or snack foods) or doing more green juice will be better,” says Rodgers.
Bottom line: However you choose to consume fruits and veggies—be it juiced or whole—is great for your health. You do sacrifice on fiber, however, if you opt to juice, so make sure to also consume fruit and vegetables in whole form now and then to make sure you’re getting your fair share—or add other fiber-rich foods in your diet such as avocado, lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas and quinoa.