When it comes to questions about nutrient absorption and food preparation, there are short answer and long answers.
For readers who just want a quick answer to our hot topic: Does blending destroy nutrients and fiber? No, blending does not destroy nutrients or fiber.
But to get a deeper understanding of what fiber is, which nutrients blending and juicing preserves or decreases, and how long you can leave your smoothie out before drinking it read on!
Does Blending Destroy Nutrients?
Cooking foods can increase the bioavailability of some nutrients and decrease others. Eggs are an excellent example of a food that, when heated, becomes easier to digest and absorb.
Some nutrients which are often reduced when cooked include:
- Water soluble vitamins like vitamin C and vitamins B 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 9, and 12
- Fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E, and K
- Minerals including potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium
So, if you want to get the full benefit of the plants in your smoothie, you’ll want to avoid any excess heating. Most blenders do not apply any heat whatsoever, so your smoothies are generally safe.
However, some weak blenders may take significantly longer to blend things like frozen fruit, in which case the chance of heat from the motor working reaching the ingredients increases.
Using a powerful, quality blender will give you the convenience of a quick and perfectly pureed smoothie and won’t overly heat those tasty B vitamins and potassium.
Check out HealthLine.com to learn more about how cooking affects the nutrient content of food.
Does oxidation occur?
As soon as you cut a fruit or vegetable, oxidation will occur. But the process of nutrient deterioration by oxidation is relatively slow.
For example, as soon as you cut a slice of apple it begins to brow slightly. That’s oxidation. But, it also takes a very long time for the slice to completely change color.
Though oxidation will occur as soon as you blend up your smoothie, you don’t need to worry about drinking it as fast as possible.
Especially if you keep your smoothie sealed and refrigerated, many of the nutrients will be intact as long as you drink it in a reasonable amount of time.
If drink right away do you lose nutrients?
Nope. Drinking your smoothie immediately is one of the best ways to ensure that the fewest nutrients are lost due to natural degradation.
Does Blending Destroy Fiber?
No, blending does not destroy fiber. But what exactly is fiber, and why is it a good thing?
Dietary fiber is, essentially, the parts of plants which your body cannot digest and absorb. Other nutrients and components of food like fats, vitamins, proteins, and so on are broken down in your digestive tract and absorbed by your body – not so with fiber.
Instead, fiber passes through your gastrointestinal system relatively intact. A healthy amount of fiber in your diet helps maintain regular bowel movements, reduces diarrhea and constipation, and helps control cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Fiber found in foods is classified as either soluble or insoluble.
Soluble vs insoluble fiber
Soluble fiber can be dissolved in water, which also means your stomach and GI tract. It dissolves into a gel-like material, and healthy levels of this fiber gel can lower cholesterol and glucose in the body.
Here are a few foods high in soluble fiber:
- Citrus fruit
Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools.
Insoluble fiber cannot be dissolved in water. It gives bulk to stools and promotes the movement of food through your GI tract.
Healthy amount of insoluble fiber in your food will help prevent constipation, diarrhea, and irregular bowl movements.
Good sources of insoluble fiber include:
- Wheat bran
- Whole wheat flour
- Green beans
All plants have different ratios of soluble to insoluble fiber. So, a wide variety of high-fiber foods is the best way to receive the greatest health benefits from this essential nutrient.
Does blending food reduce or change fiber?
No blending does not reduce or change fiber. However, true juicing does. A juicer separates the pulp and skin – where most of the plant’s fiber is – from the juice. You can use the leftover pulp on a variety of creative ways, but many people simply throw it away.
Juicing does keep many of the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients from a fruit or veggie intact. And juice is quicker/easier to digest than a smoothie. But, though both have their benefits, juicing is not healthier than blending.
For a more in-depth look at how juicing reduces fiber, check out NutritionFacts.org’s informative video.
How Long Do Nutrients Last After Blending?
That entirely depends on what ingredients you are using in your smoothie, and how you are storing it.
If you don’t plan on drinking your smoothie within a few minutes of blending it, the best way to retain those healthy, yummy nutrients is to store it in an airtight cup in the fridge.
Some experts contend that you can refrigerate a smoothie for up to 24 hours without serious nutrient deterioration. But we recommend drinking your smoothie within a few hours to get the full benefits of all those fruits & veggies.
How to Minimize Loss of Nutrients During and After Blending
- Drink your smoothie soon after blending
- Use fresh ingredients when possible
- If unable to drink immediately, store in an airtight container and refrigerate
- Over-blend your smoothie
- Leave your smoothie at room temperature for an extended period
In short, blending does not destroy nutrients and fiber. Other factors like oxidation over time and the application of heat can affect the nutrient content of your smoothie.
But, if you take some simple steps like not over blending or heating your smoothies, and drinking them soon after blending you can avoid significant nutrient loss and keep your smoothie delicious and healthy!
On the other hand, juicing does reduce fiber drastically. Both are great ways to get more fruits and veggies into your diet but blending your plants in a smoothie is the best way to get healthy soluble and insoluble fiber.
Got any questions, or suggestions for how to get a robust and delicious amount of fiber in your smoothies? Let us know in the comments below!