I often get asked about the bone health benefits of juicing as compared to blending. While both are nutritious and good for your bones, there are some advantages of one over the other.
So today we’re going to take a closer look at what the science-based facts are on the bone health benefits of juicing vs. blending.
Fresh Juice vs. Smoothie: Which Is Best For Your Bones?
After careful review of the available research and considering the nutritional needs of mature bones, the data shows that smoothies are best for building bones.
Please don’t misunderstand – juicing is also highly nutritious, and can be just the thing for someone struggling with digestive problems or undergoing a cleanse. But as to the specific question of which one is best for building, nourishing, and rejuvenating your bones, smoothies win.
Now let’s take a look at the evidence-backed reasons why.
1. Less Sugar
Juicing concentrates the sugars in fruits and vegetables, whereas smoothies – as long as they consist of whole foods and no additional sugar – contain all the fiber, pith, and other components of the fruits and vegetables used. This is important where bone health is concerned, because too much sugar is harmful to your bone health (and your health in general).
In addition, smoothies may contain foods without sugar at all, such as seeds, nuts, and plain yogurt. You can even include foods that help stave off sugar cravings in your smoothie. And that brings us to the next point…
2. Additional Nutrients Like Fats And Protein
When you’re making your smoothie, you can toss in all kinds of whole foods that would never work in a juicer. Whey protein powder, almond butter, dried or frozen berries, bananas, avocados, herbs, spices, all work beautifully in a smoothie. This way, you can get as many of the Program’s Foundation Supplements as possible in one glass.
While it’s true that blending may affect the vitamin content by introducing oxygen and even some heat, the potential effects are very slight. The only vitamins that might be affected by oxygen and heat are Vitamin C and certain B vitamins.
Many Foundation Foods are rich in Vitamin C, and because it’s a Foundation Supplement, Savers should supplement with at least 500 mg per day. And the same can be said about B-complex vitamin supplementation, with different daily minimum requirements for each.
3. Less Expensive Equipment
If you’ve ever shopped around for a juicer, then you know they can be very expensive. Some blenders can also be pricey, but you don’t need a fancy, high-priced blender to make delicious, bone-healthy smoothies. All in all, blenders are less expensive than juicers and more often than not, easier to clean.
4. Improved Digestion
Incidence of digestive disorders is, unfortunately, very high in Western society. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs for issues like indigestion, reflux, and constipation are among the most widely prescribed and used drugs in the United States. This points to a widespread dietary problem.
Smoothies contain lots of fiber, one of the keys to digestive regularity. They also are tyically made from raw ingredients with digestive enzymes intact. And finally, the foods are blended into such small bits that digestion is made much easier.
5. Build Your Immunity
Research reveals more and more the immune-boosting properties of various foods. Unlike juicing, with smoothies you can add in foods to enhance your immunity, like plain yogurt, kefir, and citrus fruits. You can even whirl vitamin and mineral supplements into your smoothie, especially if you have trouble swallowing tablets or capsules.
6. Healthy Weight
The fiber and liquid content of smoothies really help fill you up, and contribute to feeling full longer. If you add healthful protein and fat to your smoothie, the effect lasts even longer. In this way, smoothies can contribute to healthy weight control without sacrificing nutrients.
Additionally, if you have trouble keeping weight on, smoothies are an excellent way to get extra calories in a healthful, bone-nourishing way. You can change up the ingredients to include higher-calorie, bone-smart foods like nut butters, avocado, full-fat plain yogurt, or fatty nuts like walnuts.
7. Balance Your Body’s pH
There are few more effective ways to ingest a variety of alkalizing Foundation Foods than in smoothies. You can pack all kinds of bone-building foods into one glass, boosting your body’s alkalinity. You can easily make a pH-balanced smoothie, too, by mixing in a small amount of acidifying but nutritious foods, like pecans, plums, blueberries, or even chocolate.
8. More Phytonutrients
Smoothies were shown to retain more phytonutrients – nutritious plant chemicals like antioxidants – than juice. Many nutrients are “bound” into the fiber of plants and vegetables (including the peel), and blending has a homogenizing effect, releasing the nutrients from the fiber.
In fact, the way in which various household processing methods affect the phytonutrient content of foods was analyzed in a 2012 study. Specifically, grapefruits were studied because they have various phytonutrients that are known for their healthful properties.
The fruits were subjected to blending, juicing, and hand-squeezing and the results analyzed for phytonutrients content. While scientists did not notice a significant difference between the phytonutrients content of hand- and machine-juiced grapefruits, they did notice a significant difference between the juiced and blended fruits, leading them to the following conclusion:
“Therefore, consuming grapefruit juice processed by blending may provide higher levels of health beneficial phytochemicals such as naringin, narirutin, and poncirin. In contrast, juice processed by hand squeezing and juicing provides lower levels of limonin, bergamottin, and 5-M-7-GC. These results suggest that, processing techniques significantly influence the levels of phytochemicals and blending is a better technique for obtaining higher levels of health beneficial phytochemicals from grapefruits.”1 (emphasis mine)
This effect has been studied on foods besides grapefruits as well, although indirectly. Researchers assessed the antioxidant response elements (AREs) of fruits and vegetables, and to do so, 134 fruits and vegetables, including flesh and peel, were “homogenized” – in other words, blended – before analysis.
Why Preservation Of Phytochemicals Is Crucial For Bone Health
This same study delved into why intact, bioavailable phytonutrients are so important for health, including bone health. Steven H. Zeisel, one of the study authors, notes the following:
“This study changes how we can recognize constituents of fruits and vegetables that improve our antioxidant defenses. … In the past we looked for certain structures in phytochemicals that could trap free radicals, now we know that there are many ingredients in fruits and vegetables that work in a completely different way to activate our own internal defense systems.”2
Zeisel goes on to note that the study sheds new light on why fruits and vegetables are so good for our health, stating that:
“…phytochemicals actually cause an upregulation in the expression of these AREs.”2
Clearly, nutrients in fresh produce protect our cells, including bone cells.
Smoothies Are A Significant Component Of The Osteoporosis Reversal Program
The Program is nutrition-based, and the protective effects of produce-based antioxidants are well documented in Chapter 12, appropriately titled “Antioxidants: Undercover Bone Builders”. Further expanding on this, Bone Appétit, the companion cookbook to the Program, includes a free bonus called Blender Magic.
Blender Magic is a recipe collection dedicated to the powerful bone health benefits of smoothies. It shows you just how versatile smoothies can be, from tart to savory to sweet. Blender Magic also guides you through the process of choosing a blender, and it details why blending is superior to juicing for bone health.
The convenient digital format of Bone Appétit and Blender Magic allows you to search quickly for ingredients, recipes, or specific topics of interest. And you can easily print individual recipes if you like.
Eat Your Way to Stronger Bones!
Discover over 200 mouth-watering bone healthy recipes for breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, fish, and plenty of main courses and even desserts!
Now is a great time to get started on exploring the nutritious world of smoothies. In the Northern Hemisphere, summer is in full swing, and ice-cold smoothies deliver nutrients while cooling you off.
Do you have a favorite summertime (or any time) smoothie recipe? Please share this and any other ideas about today’s topic with the community by leaving a comment below.
Till next time,
1 Uckoo, R.M., et al. “Grapefruit (Citrus paradise Macfad) phytochemicals composition is modulated by household processing techniques.” J Food Sci. 77. 9. (2012): C921-6. Web. June 26, 2016. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22957912
2 Orena, Stephen, et al. “Extracts of Fruits and Vegetables Activate the Antioxidant Response Element in IMR-32 Cells.” The Journal of Nutrition. 145. 9. (2015): 2006-2011. Web. June 26, 2016. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/145/9/2006.abstract