The other day my neighbor and I were talking about what a rough winter we have had here in Oregon. It has been wet! Cold! Gray more than usual. Right as we were about to seriously complain, it stared to rain so we headed inside our respective houses. I am dreaming of spring. I see bulbs coming up. I see tiny buds on trees. Craving a refreshing cold mango smoothie… but NO … it is too cold! That got me thinking, do you ever ask which is better: fruit smoothie or fruit juice.
The bottom line on fruit:
First, let’s be clear. You cannot eat too much fruit! It’s delicious and so sweet. Fruit is very healthy, full of antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory, improves artery function and reduces our risk for cancer. However, can we eat too much? What about fruit for diabetics? Dr. Greger wondered too and he explained that many of the studies are about added sugar not natural sugar found in fruit. Scientists ran a study where people ate 10 servings of fruit a day. Participants showed no ill effects. Then the scientists amped it up and participants ate 20 servings of fruit a day. Even at 20 servings, there were not any ill effects, but there was a drop in cholesterol! Therefore, keep fruit on hand and enjoy it. Clearly, the answer is NO – we cannot eat too much fruit.
Characteristics of making fruit juice:
When you make fruit juice, let’s use an orange as an example, you cut the orange in pieces and stick inside a fancy machine or you spin the orange over a special core using your own muscle. What is left besides the juice? The half-orange peel and a lot of orangey flesh. What you capture, and save, is pure delicious juice that includes vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients). To capture 1 cup of orange juice you will need approximately 4-5 oranges. Several problems emerge. First, that is a lot of food waste! Ten orange halves is a lot in your trash, which takes up a lot of space! Second, you are tossing out essential fiber that you could be eating. Can you imagine how full you would feel after eating 4-5 oranges? Really full! Juice has a lot of natural sugar, which can easily add calories without even knowing it. Finally, juice metabolizes quickly and spikes our blood sugar without added pulp and fiber, which slows that process down. I think we are closer to the answer of our question: fruit smoothie or fruit juice.
Fiber the miracle food!
Each orange contains about 3 grams of fiber. For that one cup of juice, you are tossing out 15 grams of fiber! Keep in mind that The Mayo Clinic tells us we need approximately 20-38 grams of fiber per day depending on out age and body size. Fiber has numerous benefits including:
- Normalizes bowel movements
- Helps maintain bowel health
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Helps control blood sugar levels
- Aids in achieving healthy weight
- Prevention of colorectal cancer
How I make a fruit smoothie:
As I have said before, I am not a fancy cook. I like to eat (!!) and keep things simple. Moreover, I can be lazy. My perfect smoothie is to get out my tough old blender, add about one cup almond milk, add some frozen organic mango, a bit of ginger, turmeric, and a banana or hunk of orange…. and voila! Fruit smoothie recipes abound! In my smoothie, I am getting all the added benefit of fiber, vitamins, nutrients, phytochemicals, and more importantly feel full. I can easily eat a fruit smoothie for lunch and feel full until the very end of the day. I have little food waste and my sugar levels stabilize metabolizing the whole fruit instead of the sugar-laden juice.
Am still counting the days until spring and am visualizing a big, glorious, sweet, filling, healthy fruit smoothie sitting outside in the hot sun. Happy spring! Happy eating!
Photo: Thank you Osha Key