Does blending food destroy nutrients?

Blending fruits, vegetables, and other foods into smoothies and juices has become an increasingly popular way to get more nutrients into our diets. However, some people wonder if the blending process destroys or reduces the nutrient content of foods. This article takes an in-depth look at how blending affects nutrients and whether it’s better to eat whole foods versus blended foods.

How Blending Affects Nutrients

Blending breaks down the cell walls and fiber of fruits, vegetables, and other foods. This makes some nutrients more bioavailable, meaning our bodies can more easily absorb and utilize them. For example, the lycopene in tomatoes becomes more bioavailable when tomatoes are blended into tomato sauce. Carotenoids, antioxidants found in carrots and other brightly colored produce, also become more absorbable when blended.

On the other hand, blending may destroy or leach out certain heat-sensitive vitamins like vitamin C and B vitamins. The friction and heat generated by high-powered blenders may also deactivate some antioxidants. However, modern high-speed blenders like Vitamix only reach temperatures of 118°F or less, which is not high enough to completely destroy nutrients.

Overall, moderate blending provides more benefits than drawbacks when it comes to nutrient absorption. Just be sure not to blend too long, as shorter blending times help preserve nutrients.

Nutrients Better Absorbed from Blended Foods

Here are some of the major nutrients that become more bioavailable when foods are blended:

Nutrient Food Sources Benefits
Lycopene Tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit Potent antioxidant that may protect against cancer and heart disease
Beta-carotene Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach Antioxidant that converts to vitamin A to support immune function and eyes
Lutein and zeaxanthin Kale, spinach, corn Protect eyes from blue light and age-related vision issues like cataracts

As shown in the table, blending helps make antioxidants and other protective plant compounds more absorbable by our bodies. Cooking can also increase bioavailability of some nutrients, but high cooking temperatures may destroy heat-sensitive vitamins.

Nutrients Most Sensitive to Blending

While blending increases absorption of some nutrients, the process may compromise more delicate and heat-sensitive vitamins and antioxidants:

Nutrient Food Sources Role in Body
Vitamin C Citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes Supports immune function and collagen production
Thiamin (B1) Fortified grains, pork, sunflower seeds Critical for converting food into energy
Folate (B9) Leafy greens, legumes, citrus fruits Needed for DNA synthesis and red blood cell production

Prolonged exposure to heat, oxygen, and friction degrades vitamin C and B vitamins. Keep blending time to a minimum to preserve these important nutrients.

Tips to Maximize Nutrition When Blending

Follow these simple tips to get the most nutrients from blended smoothies, juices, sauces, dips, and more:

  • Use ripe produce – ripe fruits and vegetables have higher antioxidant levels.
  • Blend for less time – Blend for 30-60 seconds on low speed when possible.
  • Don’t overfill blender – Leave space for ingredients to move and blend evenly.
  • Add liquid to blender first – This creates less friction and heat.
  • Use hot water instead of ice – Frozen ingredients increase blending time and friction.
  • Consume immediately – Some nutrients degrade over time after blending.
  • Keep portion sizes reasonable – Limit blended drinks to one serving per day.

Whole Foods vs. Blended Foods

It’s a common question whether whole fruits and vegetables or blended smoothies and juices are better for you. Research overall shows blending doesn’t dramatically diminish nutritional value, though whole foods provide fiber absent from juices.

One study found antioxidant levels were up to 40% lower in blended orange juice compared to whole oranges. But blending also increased absorption of certain antioxidants like carotenoids. Ultimately, a balance of whole foods and blended smoothies and juices is ideal for maximum nutrient intake.


Blending does destroy some heat-sensitive vitamins and antioxidants, but it also enhances absorption of many beneficial plant compounds. Using blenders properly by limiting blending time, adding liquids first, and consuming smoothies and juices promptly ensures you get the most nutrients from your blended foods. Enjoying both whole fruits and vegetables along with moderate amounts of blended produce provides optimal nutritional variety.

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