We've previously written about the benefits of juicing in this blog. We touched on the differences between juicing and blending, but in this article we will go into much more detail. We'll also describe some of the types of equipment that we use in our Juice Bars and the differences between them.
The basic difference between juicing and blending can be summarised in the diagram below:
The fundamental difference being that juicing extracts the liquid nutrients, which includes the vitamins and minerals, but leaves behind a pulp containing insoluble fibre that the body can't easily digest. Everything that goes into a blender will end up in your drink - which is usually called a smoothie. This is because it includes the blended pulp and is naturally a lot thicker than a juice.
Blending also allows the easier introduction of other ingredients, such as superfood supplements. We regularly use things like cacao powder, matcha green tea or whey protein in our smoothie recipes. The supplements are blended with the fruit and vegetables to provide a homogenous smooth drink.
Benefits of Juicing
Fibre is essential for digestive health, although the body cannot digest it. The fibre acts like a broom and helps to clean out the intestines and keep everything “moving”. Juices contain no fibre, but is that a bad thing? Not at all, in fact juicing main benefits. Since we cannot break down and digest fibre, we excrete it. This means we also excrete some of the nutrients in the produce consumed because they are bound up in the fibre. Juicing breaks down the plant cells and extracts the nutrients from the fibre, so they are readily available for the body to absorb. This makes juices both easy to digest and quick to absorb. It is therefore possible to pack in more nutrients into a single juice drink.
Juicing makes it possible to consume a much higher volume of fruits and vegetables than you would be able to consume eating them whole. If you were to sit down and eat 2 heads of kale, that would be a lot of food. You wouldn’t enjoy chewing through it and you would probably get a stomach ache from the volume and fibre. However, you can run two heads of kale through your juicer with an apple or two and a lemon and have an extremely easy to consume and much more delicious way to consume all of the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytochemicals contained within the produce.
Benefits of Blending
As noted above, fibre is beneficial for digestive health. Whilst too much fibre can hinder nutrient absorption and also be difficult to digest, fibre is an essential part of a balanced diet. Fibre promotes elimination of waste and healthy gut bacteria. Smoothies contain the whole fruit/vegetable, so they include all of the plant’s fibre, but the blender makes them easier to consume by breaking them down for you.
Variety and Substance
Blending provides more options for what can be included in the finished product. Juicing is primarily done with fruits and vegetables only because those yield liquid. Smoothies may include lots of other super nutritious, non-liquid yielding items like cacao, coconut oil, dates, protein powders, avocados, bananas and more. It’s much easier to make a full substantial meal with a healthy balance protein, fats, and carbs out of smoothie than a juice for that reason.
A word of caution though: be careful about the amount of sugar that you are taking on if you overload with too much fruit. It is not unusual to have a juice containing four whole apples. That is a lot of sugar which needs to be taken into account when consuming fruit juices alongside other sugar rich foods.
Types of Juicer & Blender
Let's start with blenders, because this is the easy one! Blenders are characterised by having a jug with a single opening where everything goes in. There's a sharp spinning blade at the bottom which pulverises the contents. All blenders are therefore the same, but beware of many juice machines on the market which are actually blenders e.g. Nutribullet.
At Barannes we use the popular Vitamix blenders which are hard wearing, rugged and efficient.
This is the most common type of juicer which uses a fast-spinning metal blade that spins against a mesh filter, separating juice from flesh via centrifugal force. The juice and pulp are then separated into different containers. The disadvantage with centrifugal juicers is that the fast-spinning metal blade generates heat, which breaks down and oxidises some of the enzymes in the fruits and vegetables. THis is why fresh juices are best consumed within two hours of juicing, or at worst within 24 hours.
Masticating Juicer (or cold press)
These newer juicers extract juice by first crushing and then pressing fruit and vegetables for the highest juice yield. Because they don’t produce as much heat, they keep more of the fresh ingredients’ nutrients intact. However, they are very slow and can't be used to produce fresh juices while you wait.
At Barannes we use a combination of centrifugal and masticating juicers. Our standard range of juices are made while you wait so we use a fast and efficient centrifugal juicer. For specialist drinks such as wheatgrass shots and for our range of juice based detox products we use single and twin gear masticating juicers.
Which is best? Juicing or blending?
The truth is both and neither! Hopefully from the explanations above you can see that both techniques have different benefits. For a balanced approach to juicing our recommendation is that you need both.
If you haven't got the time to juice and blend or you can't afford the additional equipment then worry not - this is why Barannes is here. We provide a convenient way to get your daily does of healthy juices and smoothies. Unlike some other juice bars, you see everything that goes into your juice and all our recipes are focused on taste and health.
Come in and enjoy :)