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The Diet FItness Diva Newsletter Archives

Entries in juice (2)

Thursday
Apr072011

I have a blender and have been making smoothies with fruits, yogurt, water and a little ice. My friend told me that juicing is superior to blending but when I went shopping for a juicer they were very pricey! I like my blender! Is juicing better than blending?

Blending fruits and vegetables and juicing them are beneficial in different ways. Juicing fruits and vegetables leaves the bulk and pulp behind so you have mostly juice. The nutrients, vitamins and minerals from many items can then be consumed in a concentrated form.  The difference with blending is that it retains the fiber of the fruits and vegetables.  That fills us up and prevents the absorption of a lot of calories and fruit sugar in one or two big gulps. Here are the differences between juicing and blending:

Pros of Juicing:

  • No pulp. Some people just don’t like the mix or thickness of the pulp (fiber).
  • Accelerated nutrition uptake. The nutrients in freshly squeezed/pressed juice enter your bloodstream almost immediately after consumption since there is no fiber to slow the digestive process down.
  • Easy digestion. Because of the lack of fiber the digestive organs do very little work. This is ideal for people with delicate digestive tracts or irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Energy! Quick nutrition absorption means your body is instantly replenished and revitalized.
  • No bloating. After drinking a glass of juice you won’t ruin your appetite or feel full.
  • Variety. You can juice just about anything!

 Pros of Blending (smoothies and shakes)

  • It’s harder to overdose on fruit sugar. Juicing lots of berries, apples and oranges  multiple times a day delivers a lot of fructose (sugar) to the body and it can seriously increase your blood sugar and insulin levels. Blending fruits and sweet vegetables retains the naturally occurring fiber in these plants. That helps regulate the speed at which the natural sugars enter your bloodstream.
  • FIBER! As indicated above, blending fruits and vegetables retains the fiber which cleans the walls of your digestive system. Fiber keeps us regular.
  • It’s a more complete meal. Since the smoothie is packed full of fiber and nutrients you can have a glass or two as a meal and be completely satisfied for 2-3 hours with just a few hundred calories. Try adding a 1/4 of an avocado, a handful of walnuts or a teaspoon of coconut oil for some healthy added fat to your smoothie.
  • Easy to blend in protein and fats. Unlike juicing, with a blended smoothie you can add all kinds of great stuff: nuts, seeds, protein powder, and still have a great drink.

So which is better? That really depends on you and what you are looking for from your beverage. For a more complete type of standalone drink you probably will want a shake or smoothie from your blender. If you are serving a beverage with a meal, you may want to use a juicer.

Why limit yourself? Do both!

Monday
Feb072011

I have heard that coconut water is the best thing to drink after a workout and that it is better than sports drinks, orange juice or water. I saw some in the health food store by my house and it is very expensive! Is it worth the price? Are the claims about it true?

Coconut water is the liquid juice stored inside young coconuts – sometimes called coconut milk. It has long been a staple liquid of Southeast Asian nations, where the fruit is harvested for its flesh, oil and milk.  Coconut water is a fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie, super-hydrating drink naturally rich in electrolytes, all of which are touted as benefits of this latest health drink. Dubbed "nature's sports drink" and "life-enhancer" by marketers, it’s no wonder celebrities have replaced their acai berry drinks with it. Coconut water hit the health food stores five years ago with Vita Coco and Zico being the big distributors. The health claims are that it will cure diabetes, cancer and hypertension.  Unfortunately, that tends to become the selling point of the product so the real health benefits get lost in the hype.

At $2-3 for 11 oz. is it worth the price you ask?  After a hard workout, the body needs to hydrate and replace the electrolytes we lose, especially potassium and sodium.  A serving of coconut water offers 569 mg of potassium but only 160 mg of sodium. A typical commercial sports drink offers 53 mg of potassium and 192 mg of sodium.  After a hard workout, the body needs sodium more than potassium because when we sweat we lose more sodium than potassium. Keep in mind that we are talking about a HARD workout! Drinking coconut water is definitely much better than “energy drinks,” cola or processed juice especially because most of us don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, so we typically don’t get enough potassium. 

As far as being worth the cost keep this in mind:

  • most people don’t exercise hard enough or often enough to need a sports drink or coconut water as a recovery drink
  • the body doesn’t distinguish between potassium and sodium sources be they coconut water or a less expensive sports drink

For most of us, water is just fine and much less expensive.