We all know dark, leafy green vegetables are good for us. Every day, studies and articles tout the nutritional benefits of consuming foods like kale, spinach and broccoli, which are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, and low in carbohydrates, sodium and cholesterol. In other words, we understand why they’re called superfoods.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends eating two to three cups of vegetables per day, but most Americans find it tough to meet that goal: the USDA reported that the average American consumes only 1.5 cups of vegetables per day, of which just 10 percent is comprised of greens.
While consuming whole, fresh greens is always the best way to benefit from their nutrients, juicing and powders can be helpful in getting the recommended daily amount. So how do green vegetable juices and powders compare to each other?
Benefits & drawbacks of Vegetable Juice
Juicing, or the act of extracting liquid from a fruit or vegetable, has a long history of being linked to healthful living, particularly after the development of juice pasteurization in the early part of the 20th century.
In a way, juicing vegetables is almost like pre-digesting them; by removing their most fibrous parts and extracting their vitamins, minerals and sugars, juicing allows the body’s enzymes to act quickly and efficiently on those nutrients. On the other hand, fiber is crucial to cashing in on the digestive and heart health benefits that greens offer, and it helps keep the body’s blood sugar from spiking. (A great alternative is blitzing whole greens into smoothies with a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, thereby mitigating fiber loss.)
The method by which a juice is extracted matters quite a bit to how well a vegetable’s nutrients can be used by the body. Older models, sometimes called centrifugal juicers, use blades to slice, thereby exposing produce to both heat and oxygen, both of which reduce a juice’s nutritional value. Newer models use the cold-press method, which gently but firmly applies pressure to extract a vegetable’s juice without heat. Great brands for home juicers include Hurom and Omega. For easy home vegetable juicing, Harvest Sensations makes pre-assembled “ready-to-juice” produce packs; or, for the ultimate in convenience, Pressed and Project Juice deliver cold-pressed green juice to your door.
Benefits & Drawbacks of Green Powders
Powdering greens for human consumption is a more recent trend than juicing, but has risen to prominence as an alternative method for packing plenty of foliage into the diet. Before being ground down to a fine powder, greens must first be either light- or freeze-dried. Many nutritionists prefer light-drying as freeze-drying can weaken the positive effects of pantothenic acid and folic acid in the vegetables.
While loss of fiber affects the healthful properties of juicing, so too does the drying process for green (or greens) powders. For example, Amazing Grass Green Superfood, boasts only two grams of fiber per serving. What’s more, the quality of green powders can be compromised by the addition of fillers like lecithin, fibers, pectin, rice bran and flax. To avoid this, check the label of your green powder to ensure that the primary ingredients are, in fact, green vegetables.
One obvious benefit of green powders over juices is how shelf-stable they are―the typical expiration date on green supplements is two years! Another benefit: powders pack much less of a caloric punch than juice. For example, compare one serving of Organifi Greens powder at 25 calories to one serving of Pressed Juicery Greens 2 Juice at 70 calories. Finally, green powders tend to be a bit more flexible in terms of how you can incorporate them into your daily diet. Depending on the product, most can be added directly to water, blended into fruit smoothies, sprinkled on top of yogurt and even added to baked goods. Plus, they travel well.
So, the question remains: Vegetable Juice vs Green Powder – is one better than the other?
Although both juicing and powdering greens can supplement (and perhaps alkalize) a balanced diet, you might find green powders to be a bit lighter in terms of calories and bit more flexible in terms of incorporating them into your diet. In our opinion, whether you get your greens in the form of premium whole foods like La Colline Organics, as a green powder you can add to your smoothie at lunch, or via Nutraceuticals or other Dietary Supplements, the method matters much less than getting more greens into your diet in the first place.
So, what does this have to do with Spinaca Farms and why do we care?
Our ultimate goal, embodied in our Root to Shoot philosophy, is to provide consumers with more plant-based, nutritious options in every aisle of the supermarket. By supplying juiceries and powder producers with organic, plant-based ingredients for their functional food products, we are harnessing the power of the modern industrial food production system and using it for good.
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