Smoothies and juices are some of the most popular health foods today, and they’re often packed with ingredients that reach superfood status. But do they fit into a Glow15 lifestyle and if so, how? Just to be clear: I’m referring to juice made fresh at home or purchased from a juice bar — not pasteurized juice found in the grocery store. The latter version lacks the vitality of raw, live enzymes that fresh juices contain.
Here are some factors to keep in mind when considering if juicing and smoothies are a way for you to personalize your glow and activate your autophagy.
Juices are easily digested, with little energy required from your body. They are full of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, and are especially great for people who are healing their body from an illness and need to save their energy for healing and repair as they give your digestive system a rest.
Both juices and smoothies contain high amounts of nutrients, especially potent polyphenols that will activate your autophagy more effectively than higher quantities of food that might otherwise be hard to obtain in one day’s normal intake.
When you juice with a variety of greens like watercress and kale, vegetables like celery and cucumber, herbs like parsley, cilantro, and spices like ginger and turmeric as well as specific low glycemic fruits like lemons and green apples, you’ll be giving your body a high dose of micronutrients and minerals. You might consider steaming greens like Swiss chard, spinach, beet greens and kale before adding them to your smoothies as well. I like getting a variety of both cooked and raw greens. For many, cooked dark leafy greens are more easily digested than raw.
Depending on which fruits and vegetables you choose to juice, however, you could be getting more sugar than is good for your autophagy. Juices that heavily favor higher glycemic fruits like tropical fruits, and even beets, apples and carrots should be used in much smaller proportion to other nutrient-dense produce like kale, cucumber, celery, lemons, limes, ginger, turmeric, and parsley.
A 2012 Journal of Food Science study reported significantly higher concentrations of certain flavonoids like naringin and hesperidin from grapefruits that were blended over the ones that were hand squeezed or juiced. The reason for this? It goes back to the same reason why it’s important to drink the real, whole fruit extract from natural citrus bergamot extract — the good stuff is in the pulp and white fibrous matter called pith, where you’ll receive larger doses of polyphenols that fight inflammation and oxidation.
With juicing, you could be missing out on these beneficial polyphenols from the citrus family.
If you choose juicing over smoothies, you might also be missing out on key nutrients like fiber and healthy fats (GOODFATS), which both help to slow digestion and make you feel fuller longer. Fiber feeds your friendly bacteria favoring a healthy microbiome and healthy fats from coconut milk, macadamia nuts, and avocado can help your body absorb some of the polyphenols more efficiently.
Smoothies can be a great alternative for a full meal when you’re short on time and on the go. Juices can’t offer that same benefit and if they’re too high in sugar they might contribute to craving more sugar. That said, juices can contribute bonus polyphenols to a healthy meal.
Drinking juices and smoothies can be one of the easiest ways to obtain plentiful amounts of polyphenols to activate your autophagy and keep you glowing. Consider the guidelines above when personalizing your Glow15 plan and listen to the feedback your body gives you to evaluate how well it works for you.