Professional Opinion

Professional Opinion: To juice or not to juice?

Kelly Simon, a clinical dietitian with Hilton Head Hospital
Kelly Simon, a clinical dietitian with Hilton Head Hospital Submitted

This week, Kelly Simon, a clinical dietitian with Hilton Head Hospital, discusses the ever-popular health craze — juicing.

Question: “Does juicing really help you get more nutrients or your recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables? Also, do you get more nutrients from juicing than eating fruit whole?”

Answer: Juicing has become a hot topic lately, as many people think that juicing is better, or even healthier, than eating whole fruit.

While it may be a fun way to get more fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, it may not be your best choice.

According to the USDA, men and women need to consume approximately two cups of fruits and two cups of vegetables a day; children having a little less with one cup of each a day.

Juicing is a good way to receive the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that fruits and vegetables offer, but you eliminate their fiber throughout the process.

Juicing machines extract the juice yet leave out the pulp, which is the fiber component. You can add some of the pulp back into your juice or even add it back into your recipes such as soup, veggie broth and muffins. This way, you are keeping the plant fibers in your diet.

To combine your fruits and vegetables, you can avoid having to buy an expensive juicing machine by using your blender. You will most likely have to remove the rinds and some skins of the fruits and vegetables you choose. Adding water will also help reduce the thickness.

This brings up another question – to juice or to blend?

When you blend your fruits and vegetables into a smoothie, you need to keep in mind that whatever you put in your blender ends up in your body. Smoothies blend these items and deliver the same nutrients that are in juice, but they keep the added fiber content of the produce that was used, as well as any added nutrients you use, such as milk, yogurt, or nut butters.

So personally, I would opt to blend my fruits and vegetables.

Most Americans fail to receive the recommended daily levels of fiber intake. Smoothies are a great way to increase your daily fruit and veggie consumption, all while increasing your fiber intake. As long as you are being mindful of the extra ingredients you add to your smoothies, you can end up with some delicious, healthy meals that can keep you full throughout your day.

Mindy Lucas: 843-706-8152, @MindyatIPBG

Kelly Simon, a clinical dietitian with Hilton Head Hospital, provided the following recipe as a better way of getting more fiber:

Green Smoothie Recipe:

½ cup of Almond Milk

1 handful of spinach

½ cup of fruit (your choice)

¼ of an avocado

½ tbsp. peanut or almond butter

Optional sweeteners: honey, dates, banana