Fruits are an essential part of a healthy diet, and a great way to consume fruit is by blending them into a smoothie or other liquid concoction. But have you ever wondered if the blending process destroys or reduces the number of nutrients in fruits?
Blending does destroy some of the nutrients in fruits. However, not all of the nutrients are lost. The heat generated during the blending process and oxidation are the main causes of nutrient loss.
In this article, we will take an in-depth look at how heat and oxidation cause nutrient loss when we blend fruits. We will also be looking at some tips that can help reduce the amount of nutrient loss when fruits are blended.
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of this article, we will first take a look at what happens during the blending process.
The Blending Process: Under the Microscope
The blending process is somewhat similar to the chewing process. Blending helps break down the fiber in fruit and release the nutrients in them.
Besides releasing the nutrients in fruits, blending also changes the texture and appearance of fruits.
Blending breaks the whole fruit or vegetable into a liquid state, unlike the juicing process, where only the liquid in fruits are extracted and fibers are tossed aside. Our bodies can easily extract the nutrients in them in this state.
How Nutrients Are Lost During the Blending Process
There are a few mechanisms that destroy nutrients when you blend fruit:
Do you know that a portion of our food’s nutrients is lost when we cook, fry, or microwave them? The heat that we use to prepare our food or the heat generated while processing our food is the reason for the loss.
What this means is that any food preparation process where heat is generated or used causes nutrient loss. The blending process isn’t like other food processing methods, where heat is directly used. But do you know that heat is generated when we blend our food and veggies?
It’s true: a small amount of heat is generated as the blades in the blender spin rapidly when you turn it on.
Because we usually turn our blender for 20 to 50 seconds at a time, the heat generated isn’t much. Since only a small amount of heat is produced, only a fraction of the nutrients will be lost.
Nutrient Loss Through Oxidation
The nutrients in fruits are broken down or destroyed when exposed to oxygen.
For example, if you slice a portion of fruit and leave it exposed, you will notice that the fruit’s color will change. In the case of an apple, it will turn from white to brown. The change in color is an obvious sign of nutrient loss.
The oxygen sucked into the blender when we turn it on causes nutrient loss. The oxygen sucked in will quickly react with the fruits’ exposed portion while it is being blended. In the end, a small amount of the nutrient in the fruit will be lost.
Since only a fraction of the nutrients in fruits are lost due to oxidation, you shouldn’t be worried.
Fruits and vegetables contain soluble and insoluble fiber.
The fibers in fruits can help do everything from slow down the digestion process to reduce the rate at which the sugar in fruits is released.
When you blend fruits, you are breaking down its fiber content. While this will make it easier for you to consume, you need to keep in mind that it might spike your sugar level, since there isn’t any fiber to slow down the release of the sugar in the fruit you blended.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t blend your fruits all the time. Now and then, you should eat your fruit whole.
Effective Ways to Reduce Nutrient Loss While Blending
As mentioned above, nutrients are lost during the blending process through heat and oxidation. That said, some effective strategies can help reduce the amount of nutrient loss while blending.
Below are some of them.
Cut Down the Amount of Time You Spend Blending
Cutting down the time you spend blending will reduce the amount of nutrient loss through the heat generated by the blades in the blender.
It should take 30 to 60 seconds to blend your fruits into a smoothie. Anything more will lead to more nutrient loss.
If, for some reason, it takes more than 60 seconds for your blender to blend fruits, you should consider investing in a powerful blender. The Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender is one of the best blenders on the market right now. It is powerful and is specifically designed for making smoothies.
Drink As Quickly as Possible
There is pretty much nothing you can do to stop the oxidation process from occurring. As soon as the oxygen in the air starts to react with your smoothie or blended fruits, its nutrient level will immediately start to reduce.
To prevent more nutrient loss through oxidation, you should drink your smoothie as soon as you finish making it.
However, if you can’t drink it right away, you should store it in your fridge. You need to keep in mind that storing it in your fridge for long hours will lead to more nutrient loss.
So, to get the most out of your smoothie, you should drink it straight away.
Wash Your Fruits Carefully Before Blending Them
Soaking peeled or sliced portions of the fruit you want to blend isn’t a good idea, especially if you are not going to use the soaking liquid afterward.
Because the vitamins in fruits are soluble in water, they are likely to leach out when soaked in water. This is going to reduce the nutritional value of your smoothie.
Easy Ways to Make Your Smoothies More Nutritious.
Here are some easy ways to compensate for the nutrient loss through the blending process.
- Add pats. Adding oats to your smoothie is an easy way to make it more nutritious, as it is rich in fiber and protein.
- Add seeds. Seeds like flax and chia are loaded with fiber, vitamins, and proteins. Adding them to your smoothie will make it more nutritious and make it taste better.
- Add Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt is rich in protein and good fat. Adding it to your smoothie will make it richer and creamy.
- Add Greens. Leafy greens like kale and spinach are a great addition to any smoothie. They are low in sugar and calories and high in fiber, folate, carotenoids, iron, flavonoids, and saponins.
- Add Berries. Berries are loaded with important antioxidants that can improve your general health. Because they are delicious, adding them to your smoothie will make your smoothie taste better.
The blending process destroys a fraction of the nutrients in fruits in two main ways.
- The first is through the heat that is generated by the blades of the blender
- The second is through oxidation, which occurs when the oxygen sucked into the blender reacts with the chopped fruits in the blender.
To reduce the amount of nutrients lost by heat, keep your blending to 30 to 60 seconds. Drinking your smoothie as soon as you finish making it, is the best way to reduce nutrient loss through oxidation.
Another benefit of drinking the smoothie right away is that you won’t have to deal with separation. Although separation doesn’t reduce the nutritional value of a drink, it alters the flavor and texture rather quickly.