Picture this: you are standing in front of the retail fridge at one of The Pittsburgh Juice Company’s stores trying to decide what to purchase. You see an array of colorful bottles. Everything looks delicious and you can’t decide what to try so you ask one of the Juicologists for help, and they ask, “Are you looking for a juice or a smoothie?”
How do you know which one to choose? What’s the difference? Is one healthier than the other?
Both juices and smoothies are packed with nutrients, but, to better understand the difference between the two, you need to understand how they are made.
All of the juices made by PJC are pressed in the juicer located at our production facility. Each organic ingredient found in each juice goes through the juicing process before being mixed and bottled. The juicing process extracts the juice from the fibrous pulp, which is what the body would have to break down if you would have eaten the ingredients instead of drinking the juice. Removing the juice from the fibrous pulp, allows your body to absorb the nutrients faster and spend less energy digesting.
To better demonstrate this process, let’s talk about a carrot. If you were to eat a carrot without having juiced it first, your body would only get roughly 2% of its nutrients. But, by juicing the carrot, you are cutting out your body’s energy-heavy process of having to break down the carrot. Juicing the carrot allows your body to absorb the essential nutrients (such as Beta-carotene, Vitamin A and Vitamin C) faster, which in turn, reduces digestive issues because the juice is absorbed straight into the bloodstream.
A smoothie is also a great way to consume concentrated nutrients, in addition to superfoods such as chia or flaxseed. The combination of superfoods in a superfood smoothie creates a more filling type of “puréed food that you can drink!” All of the smoothies at PJC are made in-store by PJC Juicologists using a blender to essentially “chew” the food for you.
For those who are not big on vegetables or fruits, a smoothie could be a better choice than a juice in the sense that you can “disguise” the ingredients that you wouldn’t normally eat. Take our Green Goodness smoothie for example. Within this smoothie you would find spinach pulp, flavored by coconuts, dates, mint, and cinnamon. Fruits such as bananas can be found in a lot of our smoothies, including the Power Berry, Mother of Dragons, and Strawberry Fields.
Smoothies are also a good meal replacement option since they are packed with more whole ingredients and are therefore more filling than juices. Smoothies are good for consuming after a workout to replace the calories or for someone who is looking for a delicious, quick, yet healthy snack.
So, which is healthier, a juice or a smoothie?
The answer is simple. Both are healthy, it's just a matter of which one better suits your digestive system. If you would prefer getting the maximum nutrients absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, then a juice would be a wiser choice. If you want a blended, more filling option, the smoothie is the way to go. No matter which one you choose, each option provides exceptional nutritional value.
Okay, but how do you know if a juice or a smoothie is better for your digestive system? That depends on how your body is feeling on a given day. If you've just finished a workout and need a nutritional post-workout meal, the Cacao Blast is a good smoothie option. If you want to detox and cleanse your body, one of the green juices (Witch’s Brew, Green Juice, Super Green, Celery Juice, or C3Live) will provide low sugar and high nutrient content. If you need something to wake you up, either the Carrot Apple Ginger juice or the Cashew Mocha can help put a boost in your step!
Digestive issues are a widespread problem in our country, so taking the right steps to not only stay healthy, but to also learn how to read what your body needs is important in combating a sluggish gut. When I am trying to decide which to drink, a juice or a smoothie, I take a minute to think about how I feel overall. I stop and think about what I need rather than just what I want or what sounds good.
I have found that in switching between a juice and a smoothie, according to my daily condition, is the best on my stomach. On days that I feel bloated, I choose a juice that has ingredients high in anti-inflammatory qualities such as the Turmeric Lemonade. On days that I am feeling hungry, but still a bit puffy, the Drink Me or the Nourish Mint Chip are anti-inflammatory and filling.
Now that you've learned more about the juices and smoothies available at PJC, which would you like to drink today: a juice or a smoothie?