Blending fruits and vegetables to make smoothies is a great way to access nutrients and fiber contained in them. Smoothies have been, in many instances, taken as meal substitutes.
The question of whether blending destroys fiber, the shelf life of the resultant smoothie, and how you can minimize nutrients loss throughout the process are discussed in this article.
Does Blending Destroy Fiber?
Blending destroys the physical composition of insoluble fiber but it does not destroy the soluble fibers in fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fiber is known to play a role in blood sugar regulation and in aiding digestion. In the process of blending, the fiber is chopped up and while this may not destroy it completely, the process renders said fiber less effective.
It is important to note that blending does not destroy soluble fiber in ingredients. Therefore, the fiber is able to perform the role of nourishing gut bacteria, promoting digestion, reducing occurrences of constipation, and regulating blood sugar effectively.
To ensure that nutrients are not destroyed, you need to wash ingredients in the right manner, limit the amount of time spent blending and drink the blended smoothie right away.
How Long do Nutrients last after Blending?
A smoothie should typically be consumed within 12 hours because that is the amount of time nutrients last after blending.
However, you can extend the shelf life up to 24 hours by using fresh ingredients, refrigerating it in an airtight container, and using low pH ingredients such as lemons because they are known to last longer.
Additionally, you can add Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) because according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), it is a natural preservative. It contains antioxidants that reduce the nutritional deterioration caused by oxygen.
Further, using a vacuum blender rather than the ordinary centrifugal one will improve the smoothies’ shelf life. The former removes air from the ingredients before blending them, thus reducing nutritional degradation.
How to Minimalize the Nutrients Loss While Blending
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1. Careful When Washing Ingredients
Make sure the ingredients are thoroughly washed before blending. Be careful not to wash using hot water because the heat is known to denature nutrients. This will translate to your smoothie having lesser nutritional value.
When washing, do not soak up the chopped ingredients in water because some nutrients such as Vitamin C and B are water-soluble and may be lost in the process. The loss of vitamin C is not ideal because it plays the role of a natural preservative.
2. Limit the Amount of Time Spent on Blending
By limiting the time you spend blending to a maximum of 2 minutes, you will reduce nutritional loss due to the heat produced by the blender. The heat is minimal over short periods.
This will also reduce the frothiness of the smoothie. A frothy smoothie contains a lot of air and this is not ideal because it eventually contributes to the degradation of nutrients by oxygen.
3. Drink Straight Away
Drinking the smoothie right away does not only allow you to enjoy its full flavor, but it also has the highest nutritional value. The longer the smoothie stays after blending, the more nutrients it loses to oxidation and heat.
If you are not able to consume the smoothie right away, make sure you refrigerate it in an airtight container. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the refrigeration must be below 41° F (5° C). This will effectively avoid microorganism infestation which causes foodborne diseases.
While blending destroys the physical composition of soluble fibers, it does not destroy its nutritional value. However, you must take precautions when blending to avoid nutrients loss.
You can do this by effective washing of ingredients with cold or lukewarm water, reducing the blending time to less than 2 minutes, and drinking the smoothie right away.