Nutritious smoothies and juices are gaining huge popularity, and people often use them as a breakfast or snack for those wishing to lead a healthier lifestyle. These pureed fruit drinks have gained a cult following in recent times, with people hoping to gain more sustenance into their diet.
With many smoothie recipes widely available at our fingertips, many of us use our blenders daily. But are smoothies and fruit juices that beneficial to our health? Does blending the fruit and vegetables destroy the nutrients?
There seems to be contradictory advice readily available on the Internet. Some websites would have us believe that blending destroys some of the nutrients in fruit and vegetables, while others state that blending allows our bodies to absorb more nutrients in liquid form that it would if we were to eat them as whole foods.
Let’s delve a little deeper into the topic of blending. Let us also discover whether it is actually worth the effort or whether blending destroys all the nutrients present in fruit and vegetables.
Why Blending Can Destroy The Nutrients In Fruit And Vegetables
The topic of blending fruit and vegetables is widely debated. Many believe that blending whole foods such as fruit and vegetables destroy the nutrients. Meanwhile, others state that it doesn’t and that the only change is in the food texture and appearance.
Understanding the basic of chewing foods
The blending process breaks down the food into small pieces similar to what humans make when chewing. Chewing our food enables us to eat without choking. Additionally, it helps to break up the fibers that hold the nutrients. The more we chew, the more fibers are broken. Therefore, more nutrients are readily available for our bodies to absorb.
The chewed food then enters the stomach, where digestion begins and where food further breaks down yet again, releasing more nutrients for the body to absorb.
The blending process
Blending works similarly by breaking down the fibers within the fruit and vegetables and releasing the nutrients during the blending cycle.
Blending primarily changes the food’s appearance and texture by making them more liquid and drinkable. It, however, does not cause the loss of any nutrients.
Fiber is extremely important for our digestive system and plays a key role in regulating our blood sugar levels.
During the blending process, the fibers found within the fruit and vegetables don’t get destroyed. Instead, they are broken down to a state similar to pre-digested food. Therefore, our body can absorb the nutrients much quicker.
Nutrient loss due to heat
Nutrient loss from blending is also thought to occur due to the heat produced from the blender blades. While nutrients indeed get destroyed during the heat process, how hot can your blender possibly be if it’s only running for 30-60 seconds at a time?
Nutrient loss occurs during any heat process, such as cooking, microwaving, and frying. Meanwhile, your blender blades’ temperature is never going to reach the same as your oven when cooking hot food.
Therefore the heat generated while blending your smoothie will result in some nutrient loss; it will, however, not make that much of a difference.
Oxidation of Nutrients In Fruit And Vegetables
Some experts claim that blending fruit and vegetables destroys 90% of the nutrients in them. They stated that the loss of nutrients is due to the oxidation process that takes place during blending.
Because of the air being sucked into the blender, the nutrients within the fruit and vegetables get destroyed. Therefore, your blended smoothie or fruit juice would only contain 10% of the nutrients of the fruit and vegetables that you put in the blender.
Oxidation also occurs once you remove the skin from the fruit or vegetable. This process allows oxygen to get in, allowing the nutrients to break down. You can witness this when a piece of uneaten fruit is left sitting and begins to turn brown.
Air is sucked into the blender during the blending process and certainly does result in some nutrient loss. However, nutrients are lost the second you remove them from the plant.
Loss of nutrients is inevitable once exposed to oxygen. But this doesn’t mean that the fruit and vegetables in supermarkets or our pantry lack nutrients or are unhealthy.
The Solutions – How to Minimalize the Nutrients Loss While Blending
So how can we minimize oxidation when we make our delicious smoothies? Below you will find some tips and tricks to help you get the most nutrients from your smoothies.
1. Limit the amount of time spent on blending
Limit the amount of time spent blending to avoid nutrient loss through the heat produced by the blender blades.
It should only take 30-60 seconds to make a smoothie. And if you find that you are spending longer blending to get the desired results, you should invest in a powerful blender specialized for smoothies.
Blending for a shorter period helps to reduce lost nutrients as prevents
2. Drink Straight Away
To limit the fruits and vegetables’ oxidation in your smoothie, you should try and drink them straight away.
If you cannot do this, you should store them in the fridge until you can drink them. However, it is important to limit the storage time to preserve the nutrients. Longer storage times can lead to nutrient degradation.
3. Careful when washing the ingredients
Avoid soaking cut or peeled pieces of fruit in water unless you will use the soaking liquid when blending. Vitamins B and C are water-soluble and will leach out of the fruit when exposed to water, reducing the overall nutritional value of your fruit.
While we lose some nutritional value from the fruits and vegetables while blending, you shouldn’t worry. A smoothie is a healthier alternative to a can of unrefreshed juices or, even worse, a soft drink.
Many of us struggle to get the daily recommended servings of fruit and vegetables each day. With that said, a daily smoothie is a great way to add more sustenance to our diets.
Blending, however, does not destroy calories, and liquid calories count the same as whole food calories. To avoid calorific smoothies, ensure that you only use healthy ingredients.