Does Blending Fruit Make It Easier To Digest?

Blending fruit into smoothies and juices has become an increasingly popular way to consume fruits and vegetables. Proponents of blending claim that breaking down fruits and veggies into liquid form makes them easier for your body to digest and absorb the nutrients. But is this really true?

How Blending Impacts Fiber

When you chew whole fruits and vegetables, you break down the fibrous cell walls, releasing nutrients and making them more accessible for absorption. Blending takes this process a step further, completely breaking down the produce on a cellular level. This ruptures the insoluble fiber found in fruits and veggies. While some soluble fiber remains, much of the insoluble roughage is broken down.

For some people, removing this insoluble fiber makes digestion easier. The body doesn’t have to work as hard to push the smooth, liquid blends through the digestive tract. This can provide relief for those with digestive conditions like IBS or diverticulitis which are aggravated by insoluble fibers.

However, for most healthy individuals, the lost insoluble fiber is a drawback. Fiber plays many beneficial roles, from bulking up stool and easing elimination to feeding gut bacteria. Blends tend to be lower in overall fiber content compared to whole produce.

Impact on Nutrient Absorption

By pulverizing produce down to tiny particles, blending does make the nutrients more bioavailable. The cells are ruptured, freeing vitamins and minerals that otherwise would be locked inside intact cell walls.

Studies show that blending fruits and veggies increases the plasma levels and absorption of antioxidants like carotenoids. More nutrients hit your bloodstream when you drink produce versus eating it whole.

However, there are some drawbacks. The high oxidation caused by blending can degrade delicate vitamins like vitamin C and folate. Enzymes and antioxidants are also sensitive to destruction from heat and oxygen. So truly raw, gentle blends retain more nutrients than heavily processed ones.

Whole Produce Provides Benefits Too

While blending makes produce easier to digest and absorb for most people, eating whole fruits and vegetables has advantages too. The act of chewing signals the body to release digestive enzymes. Thoroughly chewing whole produce versus drinking a smoothie may promote better digestion overall.

The fiber in whole produce also helps slow down the release of sugars into the bloodstream, preventing energy spikes and crashes. This benefits glycemic control and gut health. Whole fruits and veggies are also more satiating due to the fiber and chewing required.

Finding a Balance is Key

Both whole and blended produce provide nutritional benefits. Focus on finding a balance between the two in your diet. Use smoothies and juices to conveniently incorporate a variety of produce. But also continue eating whole fruits and vegetables at meals for the fiber, chewing benefits, and satiation.

Aim to get the recommended 25-30 grams of fiber daily from a variety of whole plant foods. If exclusively drinking blended produce, try adding in a fiber supplement or chia seeds to boost the fiber content. Moderation and variety are key when harnessing the perks of blending.

In conclusion, blending makes produce easier to digest and absorb by breaking down cell walls and fiber. However, whole fruits and veggies still confer important benefits. Finding a balance of both blended and whole produce allows you to maximize nutrition and digestion. Focus on variety, moderation, and listening to your unique body’s needs.

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