If you make fruit and vegetable juices at home, the method you use may be reducing how healthy the beverages are. That’s according to a new study published by the American Chemical Society, which reports that certain popular home juicing methods reduce the number of nutrients in these foods, resulting in less healthy drinks compared to other juicing techniques.
Home juicing can refer to anything from squeezing a citrus fruit by hand to tossing fruits and vegetables into a blender. Making one’s own juice at home has become a popular alternative to store-bought juices, which often have added sugars and dyes. However, not all homemade juice is the same, at least when it comes to nutrients.
Researchers with Texas A&M University evaluated the impact of multiple home juicing techniques, including using a blender, high-speed centrifugal juicer, and low-speed juice extractors. Each has its pros and cons — a blender can quickly grind up hard vegetables and fruits into a thick smoothie-like drink, for example, but with the downside of producing more heat than a slow juice extractor.
The amount of health-promoting plant chemicals that make their way into the beverage depends on multiple factors, including things like exposure to heat, light, oxygen, and the release of enzymes. Using 19 different vegetables and the three aforementioned techniques, the researchers found that some techniques are better than others, and it partially depends on which vegetables you use.
No ‘best’ choice
Of these three home juicing methods, blenders produce the most heat and that’s likely why blended juices were found to have the least amount of beneficial compounds, according to the study. In contrast, making juice at low speeds reduces the heat and was found to produce the greatest quantity of these healthy compounds — though, the researchers note, some vegetables were an exception.
That doesn’t necessarily mean one is better than the other, however, as blended juices — which contain a large amount of fiber — were also found to have the greatest amount of α-amylase inhibitors; this helps control blood sugar levels after a meal. Ultimately, different juicing techniques could produce different and unique health benefits, the researchers note.