Smoothies and juicing have become a popular way to make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and getting the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that you need for good health. If you’ve not started getting the benefits yourself yet, it’s time to learn why smoothies and juices can help you to live a longer, healthier life and get some tips on what not to do with them to ruin the health effects.
Why Smoothies and Juices Are Healthy
Smoothies and juicing have a few plus points working in their favor and one of the biggest is the ability to pack a lot more fruit and veggies into your life. If you’re someone who could do with getting more helpings of fruit and veg every day, smoothies and juicing can be an easy way to bump up your intake and chances are, you’ll be consuming far more than you would if you ate the whole food versions. It’s also a great way to broaden your horizons with the type of vegetables you eat and get nutrients from ones you wouldn’t normally eat whole.
Vegetable based juices can be a super easy way to make sure you’re absorbing lots of the nutrients you need for good health. If you’ve not been eating great until now, your digestion may not be as efficient as it could be and can mean you don’t absorb vitamins and minerals as well.
One of the great things about smoothies in particular is the chance to use different combinations of fruit and vegetables to boost your intake. Green smoothies are a perfect example of this as they usually have a fruit in there too (often blueberries or banana). You can tailor them to include ingredients that offer more nutrition. For example, blending leafy greens, berries and avocados will give you vitamin C, vitamin E and a huge range of vitamins and minerals that you may not otherwise get from your diet.
Getting Started with Juicing and Smoothies
If you’re totally new to the idea of juicing or making smoothies, it’s often best to start small and build things up. Try juicing and creating healthy smoothies once a week to begin with and look to build up to doing it every day. It can help to only juice smaller amounts at first and drink it throughout the day rather than all at once.
This can be really important with juicing, especially if you’re trying out new foods that you didn’t eat whole in case they don’t agree with you in reasonably large amounts. Start off with fruits and vegetables that you already like to eat whole and gradually branch out into other options.
Some of the veggies that are usually easy to digest include celery and cucumber. The next step up is red and green lettuce, Romaine lettuce and spinach. From here, you can work your way towards leafy greens. These are more dense and can be a lot harder to digest so although they’re super healthy, they’re not always the best way to ease yourself into juicing in particular. If you’re not keen on the taste of juices, try adding a bit of ginger to help your taste buds get used to it.
What to Include in Your Smoothies
One drawback of juicing is the lack of fiber content. Smoothies keep the fiber content of fruit and vegetables intact as you’re blending the food as a whole but it tends to be lost when you’re just extracting the juice. This means you can’t rely on juicing to give you fiber so you’ll need to make sure you’re getting plenty from elsewhere in your diet. Smoothies are a great way to do this as you can easily add ingredients that bump up your fiber intake. You can pack in more fiber through oats, chia seeds and flax seeds.
It’s also easy to blend healthy fats and protein into smoothies too. Some fruits are a natural source of healthy fats, including avocado, or you can add chia or flax seeds. For protein, you can include Greek yogurt, nut butters, cottage cheese, hemp and pumpkin seeds, almonds and kale.
What Not to Include
Just be careful not to add in too many sugary ingredients into smoothies. This can quickly turn an otherwise healthy smoothie into a sugar bomb that spikes your blood sugar levels. Stick to a balance of fruits, veggies, protein and healthy fats, which will give you a nice balance of nutrients. Lots of fruits are naturally sweet and can satisfy cravings for something sweet without needing to add too much else. You can also keep the sugar content down by opting for more greens in your juices or smoothies.
I would love to hear from you on your thoughts on juices and smoothies.