Nutritious smoothies and juices are gaining huge popularity and are often used 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 those hoping to gain more sustenance into their diet.
With a plethora of smoothie recipes widely available at our finger tips many of us our reaching for our blenders on a daily basis. But are smoothies and fruit juices really 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 body’s to absorb more nutrients in liquid form that it would if we were to eat them as whole foods.
Lets delve a little deeper into the topic of blending and discover whether it is actually worth the effort or whether blending actually does in fact destroy 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 while others state that it doesn’t and that the only change is in the foods texture and appearance.
Understanding the basic of chewing foods
The process of blending breaks down the food into small pieces similar to what us humans do when we chew. Chewing our food enables us to eat without choking and also helps to break up the fibers which hold the nutrients. The more we chew the more fibers are broken and therefore the more nutrients are readily available for our body to absorb.
The chewed food then enters the stomach where the process of digestion begins and where food is further broken down yet again releasing more nutrients for the body to absorb.
The blending process
Blending works in a similar manner by breaking down the fibers within the fruit and vegetables and releasing the nutrients during the blending cycle.
Blending primarily changes the foods texture and appearance by making them more liquid and drinkable. It however does not cause them to lose any nutrients.
Fiber is extremely important for our digestive system and plays a key role in the regulation of 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 and 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 blenders blades. Whilst it is true that nutrients get destroyed during the heat process how hot can your blender possibly be if its only running for 30-60 seconds at a time?
Nutrient loss occurs during any heat processes such as cooking, microwaving and frying. Meanwhile the temperature from your blenders blades 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
There are some experts claims 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.
As a result of the air being sucked into the blender during the blending process, the nutrients within the fruit and vegetables get destroyed and 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 the skin from the fruit or vegetable is removed. This allows oxygen to get in thus allowing the nutrients to be broken down. This can be witnessed 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 the they are removed from the plant.
Loss of nutrients is inevitable once exposed to oxygen but this by no accounts means that the fruit and vegetables available at supermarkets or in our pantry are lacking nutrients 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 blenders blades.
It should only takes 30-60 seconds to make a smoothie and if you are finding that you are spending longer blending to get the desired results you should invest in a powerful blender that specialized for smoothies.
Blending for a shorter period of time helps to reduce lost nutrients as prevents
2. Drink Straight Away
To limit the oxidation of the fruits and vegetables 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 storage time in order to preserve the nutrients. Longer storage times can lead to nutrient degradation.
3. Careful when washing the ingredients
Avoid soaking cut or peeled pieced of fruit in water unless you are going to 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 do lose some nutritional value from the fruits and vegetables during blending it is nothing to be too concerned about and a smoothie is definitely a healthier alternative to a can of unrefreshed juices or even worse a soft drink.
Many of us struggle to get the daily recommended serving of fruit and vegetables each day and 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.