Are blended vegetables as healthy as whole?

Eating plenty of vegetables is vital for good health. Vegetables provide important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. With busy modern lifestyles, many people choose convenient options like smoothies and juices made with blended vegetables. But are blended vegetables as healthy as eating whole, unprocessed veggies? Let’s take a closer look at the nutrition, benefits, and downsides of blending vegetables.

Nutritional Differences

When vegetables are blended or juiced, their structure changes. This can impact the nutrient content. Here are some key nutritional differences between whole and blended vegetables:


Blending breaks down the plant cell walls, releasing nutrients but removing most of the fiber. For example:

Vegetable Fiber in 1 cup raw Fiber in 1 cup blended
Carrots 3.6 g 1.2 g
Broccoli 2.4 g 0.8 g
Spinach 0.7 g 0.5 g

Fiber is important for digestive health, gut bacteria, cholesterol levels, and feeling full. Blending reduces fiber content by 50-80%.


Blending exposes vitamins to light, heat, and oxygen. This can degrade water-soluble vitamins like vitamins C and B. Up to 50% of these vitamins may be lost during blending and storage.


Compounds like carotenoids need an intact plant cell structure to be well-absorbed by your body. One study found 24% fewer carotenoids in blended carrots than whole carrots. However, some nutrients like lycopene in tomatoes become more bioavailable when blended.

Possible Benefits

Despite nutritional drawbacks, blending vegetables may provide some benefits:

Increased vegetable intake

Blending makes vegetables more convenient and palatable. This may help some people increase their veggie intake. Blended vegetables provide more nutrients than not eating vegetables at all.

Nutrient absorption

The cell wall destruction during blending liberates some nutrients, increasing their absorption. One study found blended carrots provided 3.5 times more beta-carotene than whole carrots.

Weight loss

Blended vegetable drinks are low in fat and calories. Replacing higher calorie foods with blended vegetable smoothies and juices may aid weight loss.

Downsides of Blending

There are also some potential downsides of relying on blended vegetables:

Reduced fullness

Smoothies and juices don’t require much chewing. This means they do not provide the same satisfaction and fullness as whole vegetables with fiber.

Tooth decay

Blended drinks are high in simple sugars and acids that may damage tooth enamel over time, increasing decay risk.

Lower vegetable diversity

Pre-made vegetable smoothies and juices often contain just a few standard veggies like carrots, spinach, kale, or tomatoes. This limits your exposure to the wide range of valuable phytonutrients found in different vegetables.

Higher calorie intake

To make blended vegetables taste better, many commercial smoothies have added sugars, milks, yogurt, juice, or sweeteners. This increases the calorie content significantly.

Higher cost

Pre-packaged blended vegetable drinks tend to be pricier than whole vegetables bought in bulk and made at home.

Tips for Maximizing Nutrition

If you want to include blended vegetables in your diet, here are some tips:

  • Use whole vegetables instead of juice – fiber is important
  • Limit added sugars, milks, juice – increase calories
  • Include green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, parsley
  • Add spices like cinnamon instead of sweeteners
  • Use a range of different colored veggies
  • Consume soon after blending to minimize vitamin losses
  • Chew thoroughly and combine with whole veggies or nuts

The Bottom Line

Blending alters vegetables’ structure and impacts their nutrition. Key nutrients like fiber, vitamins C and B, and carotenoids decrease. But blending also increases absorption of some nutrients like lycopene and beta-carotene.

Blended vegetables in moderation can help increase vegetable intake. But for optimal health, whole, minimally processed vegetables should still make up the majority of your diet. Combine blended drinks with whole vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Limit added sugars or juices.

Instead of swapping whole vegetables for blended, increase your overall veggie intake and variety by “eating the rainbow” of colors and types. This ensures you get the full spectrum of valuable phytonutrients.

Vegetable Type Key Phytonutrient Key Benefit
Tomatoes Lycopene Powerful antioxidant
Carrots Beta-carotene Vitamin A precursor
Spinach Lutein Eye health
Broccoli Sulforaphane Cancer-fighting
Sweet potato Beta-carotene Immunity boost
Bell peppers Vitamin C Collagen formation

While blending has some benefits, whole vegetables provide the full spectrum of nutrients, fiber, and phytonutrients for optimal health.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *