My answer: Yes! Well actually, more like occasionally, and definitely NO if you struggle with regulating your blood sugar. Juicing and smoothies flood our system with an amazing amount of nutrient dense plant vitamins which has too many health benefits to list. A green vegetable based fresh juice in the morning hydrates your sleepy system with plant nutrients while a pulpy smoothie in the afternoon is a good fiber-filled snack. BUT, juicing and smoothies create a form of deconstructed plant material that is absorbed rapidly by your stomach and could damage endothelial cells.
Confused? Check out the details…
Smoothie: Say hello to fiber! Most of the fiber is in the pulp. In a smoothie, you get the fiber of your fruits and veggies in addition to the juice which gives you a more satisfying full feeling. Like juice, smoothies can cleanse our cells, regulate colon function, and give us energy.
Fresh Juice: Juicing raw veggies and fruit create a powerful little shot of nutrition! Juice skips past digestion and assimilates into your body quickly, fast-boosting energy levels. BUT, when you drink a fresh juice, you drink the sugars apart from the fiber which can be overload to our body and leaves you hungry again 30 minutes later. Sugar needs fibers to breakdown in the body.
What happens when sugars are separated from its fiber? Sugar rush! Without the fiber bound to the sugar, the sugar becomes a simple sugar, increasing triglycerides, and making blood sugar levels unstable. Therefore, juices and smoothies are not recommended for those that already have pre-existing blood sugar conditions. Instead, CHEW your fruits and vegetables!
Chew vs. Drink? A smoothie breaks down plant cell walls and creates a more liquid, blenderized form of the plant nutrients allowing more rapid absorption into your body. Caution though, the sugars of the fruit and veggies also are absorbed rapidly and could potentially damage the liver and endothelial cells. For example, when you chew a carrot, the sugar and fiber are bound together and absorbed at the same time allowing your body to digest it slowly and safely, but when the carrot is pureed and drank, it bypasses the bacteria on our tounge that is there to help reduce nitrates during digestion. Dr. Caldwell Essylton who has spent his life researching and treating heart disease talks about the importance of keeping our endothelial cells healthy: “The endothelial cells make nitric oxide, which is critical to preserving the tone and health of the blood vessels. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator: that is, it causes the vessels to dilate or enlarge. When there is abundant nitric oxide in the bloodstream, it keeps blood flowing as if the vessels’ surfaces were coated with the most slippery Teflon, eliminating the stickiness of vessels and blood cells that is caused by high lipid levels and that, in turn, leads to plaque formation.” Plaque in our cells leads to coronary heart disease and other inflammatory diseases.
What then should you do? Indeed enjoy a fresh juice or smoothie occasionally but focus on eating and CHEWING more whole, raw fruits and vegetables through each day. Focus your occasional juice and smoothies to be more vegetable based and green in possible. Fruit has more sugar than greens! Daily, have a bowl of fruit with breakfast, snack on chopped veggies with hummus as a snack, and eat a giant green leafy salad for lunch and with dinner.