Blending has become all the rage these days – and for good reason. Blending gives you a quick and healthy boost of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that you may not be getting enough of in your diet. If you’re smoothies for weight loss or better health, you may wonder about the impact the processing of your juice will have on its fiber content. Does blending fruit destroy fiber? Here’s what you need to know!
Does Blending Fruit Destroy Fiber?
Many people are hesitant to drink fruit or vegetable smoothies because they have heard that blending destroys all the nutrients in fruits or vegetables. However, this is not true.
When you blend fruit or vegetables, the insoluble fiber is broken down – which means your sugar digestion is sped up and there will be spikes in your blood sugar levels. There is also a loss of some nutrients when blending, however, most are still there when you drink your fruits or vegetables in a smoothie form. What does remain when you use a blender for fruit/vegetable smoothies are minerals, antioxidants, water-soluble vitamins A and C, dietary fiber found naturally in plant foods with high amounts being found in whole grains rice cereal and oatmeal (fiber slow release).
Yes, blending does break down niacin and thiamine (vitamins B1 and B2) more quickly than when you mix with water. However, the benefits to blending are still clearly seen in the presence of high doses of these nutrients. Also, you may notice that your skin is brighter and even your eye sight gets clearer if you drink a smoothie once in a while.
To be clear, it is probably not a good idea to blend fruits and vegetables all the time. However, it is okay to blend once in a while when you are rushing out the door to your next event.
A study conducted by Janette Brand-Miller and colleagues in Australia showed that some of the nutrients were lost when you blend fruits/vegetables but most of them were still there. The vitamins C and B survived the process because they are water-soluble vitamins that dissolve easily in liquids. Another study on blending juice and nutrients had similar results. The study found that blending does break down niacin and thiamine more quickly than when you mix with water. However, the benefits to blending are still clearly seen in the presence of high doses of these nutrients.
In conclusion, yes, you can blend fruits/vegetables and it is still healthy to do so because despite their loss of some nutrients, you will still get a lot.
Does Blending Destroy Nutrients?
When you blend fruits and vegetables, the cell walls are broken down. The idea is that since oxidation occurs when fruits and vegetables are cut and exposed to oxygen, the process of blending greatly increases oxidation and therefore nutrient loss.
But here’s the thing: oxidation takes time. Studies show that even if it takes you 15 minutes to consume that smoothie, nutrients lost via oxidation will be minimal. So this means that blending can actually help ensure your body is absorbing more nutrients than just chewing alone!
How Soon Will I Drink My Smoothie After Blend It?
The importance of taking your smoothie in the first twenty minutes after blending the vegetables is to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients in your drink. If you are planning on storing it for use later, make sure to keep it in a glass container.
Glass containers are great because they protect against light, heat and oxygen – ensuring that the nutrients last for up to 3 days. It’s also important to do not store your smoothies for too long in order to ensure that nothing happens to them!
Tips For Reducing Nutrient Loss When Blending
- It is best to use a high-quality blender that isn’t too warm when blending because often cheaper blenders produce heat.
- If you must blend for more than 10 seconds, it’s best to avoid doing that in bursts of 2-3 seconds at a time and instead blend for the minimum amount of time required. This will yield less heat and less oxygen sucked into the blender.
- Keep your smoothie in an airtight container immediately after making it to minimize oxidation (can also be done by drinking your smoothies right away). Luckily, this can be mitigated by adding plenty of leafy greens and vegetables like celery and cucumber, which reduce sugar content.
- Increase the amount of leafy greens and vegetables to make your smoothie more nutritious and likable.
- To get my five-a-day, I’d recommend drinking a fruit or vegetable juice instead of a smoothie – it’s important to include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Tips for Making a High-fiber Smoothie
We know that smoothies are a great way to get your fruit and veggie needs met, but they often lack fiber. Fiber is important for keeping you full, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and keeping things running smoothly down there. To up the fiber content of my smoothies, I like to use one or two of the following:
- Chia seeds are a favorite of mine because they stay fresh until you soak them in liquid for 10-15 minutes. After that point, chia seeds expand into a very gelatinous substance with lots of flexibility but not too much sliminess. They offer more than just fiber–chia seeds are also high in antioxidants which help keep your cells healthy and lower cholesterol levels!
- Hemp seeds are another favorite of mine. You can add them to smoothies whole or grind them into a meal that you can mix with your other ingredients. Hemp seeds are an excellent source of plant-based protein, and they also contain healthy fats and fiber. Like chia, hemp seeds are a good source of antioxidants which help slow the cell aging process!
- Hemp powder is also a great option, although it’s not raw. I use raw hemp powder in my smoothies, but if you are not comfortable with that, you can buy hemp powder instead. I add the powder to my smoothies in a one to one ratio with chia seeds.
- Ground flaxseed is also great for adding fiber to your smoothies. I often like to grind my own flax in a coffee grinder, but you can also buy ground flaxseed if you’d prefer. Flax meal has the added benefit of boosting immune function and helping to protect the skin from UV damage!
- Healthy fats keep us full and happy, so adding something like nut or seed butter can really be beneficial. Tahini is a favorite of mine and adds a great deal of creaminess to smoothies. You can also use tahini to make hummus or add it to salads.
- Avocados are another great way to up the fiber content in your smoothies. They’re high in potassium, which helps keep our blood pressure normal and is needed for muscle function. Avocados also contain vitamin E, which helps keep the skin and eye health.
The best way to drink healthy is through juice or smoothies. You never get all the vital nutrients by tossing them into the blender like that, but if you plan carefully you can still manage to gain most of what you need without too much effort. It’s an easy way for those with busy schedules or limited access to fresh produce, so it’s a good way to get adequate nutrition while still living a busy life.