Harley Pasternak Blogs About the Surprising Benefits of Smoothies
Why blending your food can be beneficial in more ways than one
A couple years ago, I stumbled across an interesting study that found that blending your meals allowed your body to access more nutrients than any other form of food prep (raw or any cooking method).
Apparently, the blades of the blender slice up the food so efficiently, that the vitamins and minerals are more bioavailable to our bodies. Needless to say, I started to incorporate one smoothie to my diet each day.
As I developed a closer relationship with my blender, I started to truly appreciate how quick and easy it was make a delicious, healthy meal that I could literally grab and go. Moreover, I found blending left me with no excuse for not eating well, or even worse, skipping a meal!
Fast-forward to today: my new book, The Body Reset Diet comes out Wednesday, and it focuses on blending your way to a better body. Next week’s blog will full breakdown my new eating plan. In the meantime, here are the six reasons why you should blend!
1. SPEED & CONVENIENCE
Blending is one of the quickest, most convenient ways to prepare food. Anyone can do it, on any schedule. You can create an entire meal in under 90 seconds! Just drop the ingredients into a blender and press the button. While I love smoothies, you can also use your blender to make delicious soups and dips.
2. HELPS US EAT HEALTHY
Not only is blending quick and easy, it’s also a fast track to super nutrition. Blending makes the intimidating easy: With the help of a good blender, it’s zero effort to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet than you ever thought you could.
We all know that eating fruits and veggies benefits our health and can reduce our chance of getting heart disease and cancer, but did you know it helps improve our appearance as well? If you’re among the 85% of people that suffer (or have suffered) from acne, you’ll be interested to know that a recent study suggested that consuming raw veggies might reduce breakouts by as much as 30%! Concerned with the signs of aging? Women who eat a lot of vitamin C-packed foods like oranges and strawberries have fewer wrinkles than women who don’t, according to another recent study.
As a child, I hated eating my greens. Well, now I’m an adult, and I still hate eating my greens. Luckily, blending meals allows you to “hide” superfoods that you may have avoided in the past because of taste or texture. For example, I have never been a fan of spinach in any form, but I have always tried to choke it down because it’s one of the best foods for you on the planet. But if I stick a cup of spinach leaves in the blender with some frozen strawberries and kiwi, it’s like it disappears! I can now get spinach in my diet almost every single day … without gagging.
3. HELPS US INCREASE OUR FIBER INTAKE
Fruits and vegetables have the most fiber when they’re in their whole, natural form. When we peel them, juice them, and process them, they lose their most valuable nutrients. The fact is, we don’t eat nearly enough produce, and our diets are deficient in quality fiber. The American Dietetic Association recommends women consume a minimum of 25 grams of fiber a day and men consume at least 30 grams, but most Americans get only about 10 grams a day – roughly a third of the recommendation.
The simple truth is that more fiber can help is lose more weight. The vast majority of studies have concluded that more dietary fiber yields greater satiety and lower incidences of hunger: In fact, adding 14 grams of fiber a day has been shown to lead to a 10 percent decrease in caloric intake and an increased weight loss of about 4.2 pounds over a little under 4 months. Another study found that when people increased their intake of soluble fiber by 10 grams a day, their belly fat decreased by 3.7 percent in 5 years, while still another showed that soluble fiber can boost the immune system. So when we blend whole ingredients in to a smoothie or soup, we’re helping ourselves in more ways than one!
As I mentioned in the introduction of this blog, several studies have established blending as the most efficient way to get nutrients into our bodies. A 2008 study at the University of Toronto found that certain high-powered blenders are capable of disrupting the cell wall structure of plants and significantly reducing food particle size, which may enhance the bioavailability of essential nutrients in fruits and vegetables. Because blenders break down food into molecules that are efficiently digested, metabolized and readily bioavailable, i.e., absorbed into your body in a manner it can use. It’s like the blender is doing the chewing for you, but doing a much better job!
5. REDUCES BELLY BLOAT AND DIGESTIVE DISTRESS
When you eat rapidly, don’t chew food thoroughly, or swallow big mouthfuls of food, you’re not breaking down your food enough before it enters your esophagus. Not only does this diminish your ability to absorb nutrients from our food, but it can also cause intestinal distress in the form of bloating, indigestion, heartburn, gas, cramping and constipation. When you use the blender, it breaks the solid ingredients down for you, so your digestive tract isn’t overwhelmed.
6. COST EFFECTIVE
When you calculate the cost of ingredients, my Body Reset Diet smoothies cost as little as $2.20 each. That’s for a nutritionally complete meal (protein, fiber, healthy fat, etc.). You may pay a little more for organic ingredients if you like, but even then, you won’t break the bank. Choosing seasonal ingredients and buying frozen fruit and vegetables in bulk can save you even more.
NOTE: A WORD ABOUT JUICING
So, you’re asking, if blending is so great, isn’t juicing better?
Contrary to popular opinion, juicing is far inferior to blending in almost every way. Juicing is more expensive, time consuming, a nightmare to clean up, and most importantly has only a fraction of the nutrition of a blended beverage.
By extracting the juice and tossing the bulk of the fruit or vegetable all those nutrients – including the all-important fiber – are going straight in to the garbage. Once all the fiber has been removed, juice is merely water, sugar, and some vitamins and minerals.
I’m not saying juice is bad for you. I’m just saying juice is a treat … a delicious treat to enjoy for a Sunday brunch with a crunchy Belgian waffle!
Do you have a favorite smoothie? Tweet me the recipe @harleypasternak