In recent days, to counter the loss of taste and texture of smoothies when kept for a long time, people have started to freeze smoothies. The question arises whether freezing smoothies leads to loss of nutrients. One of the major reasons that most people choose to replace meals with smoothies or have more smoothies is to increase the nutrition content of their diets. So it is important to understand whether freezing smoothies can make them lose their nutrients.
The short answer is that freezing smoothies leads to only a very minimal loss of nutrients. The quality of nutrients will depend primarily on the freshness of the ingredients before freezing. So if you are using fresh ingredients in your smoothie, then the loss of nutrients is minimal when you freeze. But a point to consider is convenience. Compared to the convenience of having a smoothie ready when you want it helps you to stick to your regimen and beats the effect of whatever nutrient loss that may happen.
Smoothies contain increased amounts of fruits and vegetables in general and have a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which are very good for maintaining health and wellbeing. There are numerous studies that show that increased intake of fruits and vegetables can be very preventative against multiple diseases. Having smoothies can in fact improve your health because of these additional nutrients necessary for health can be easily incorporated into your diet.
There is no doubt that fresh produce is definitely important to obtain these nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants at their best and highest levels. Most of the fruits and vegetables lose nutrients as soon as it is harvested. After that depending on the amount of time it is stored and transported, the quality of the nutrients may be affected. There is nothing better than taking ingredients directly from your garden and putting in your smoothie for the best results on your health and well-being. So fresher the ingredients the more nutrient-dense the smoothies will be.
Now let’s understand what happens to the nutrients when smoothies are frozen.
Some researches reveal that antioxidants might not be greatly affected when frozen. This is great news especially for frozen smoothies drinkers who will be using a lot of antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, and berries in the smoothies. So they can rest assured that when they freeze the smoothies they are not reducing the level of antioxidants in the smoothies much.
Some studies have revealed that vitamins in fresh vegetables and fruits decline while in storage and also during refrigeration. Frozen states may lead to vitamin reduction at a slightly lesser rate as compared to other means of storage. One of the major helpful vitamins which are vitamin C is affected when freezing fruits and vegetables for longer periods of time either in a smoothie form or in its whole form. This also depends on the amount of processing it undergoes before it is frozen. Cooking, heating, or blanching fruits and vegetables can lead to a greater decline of their vitamin content. So it is best to add vegetables and fruits in their raw and least unprocessed forms. The good news is that vitamin A, Carotenoids, and vitamin E do not get affected a lot by freezing.
So you can rest assured that adding vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables such as carrots, spinach, broccoli, mangoes, berries, watermelons to your smoothie will yield its benefits when frozen.
Minerals also tend to remain intact in your smoothies when frozen. Adding fruits and vegetables which contain minerals such as Potassium, Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, etc. can help increase you’re well-being as these are not affected if the smoothies are frozen.
The fibers are also not affected. In fact, some studies revealed that the fibers become more absorbable after freezing.
Which is better? Consuming whole fruits and veggies as they are or blend them into Smoothies?
A great debate exists whether it is better to consume fruits and vegetables in raw form or have them in smoothies. Some believe that smoothies reduce the nutrient content as it is blended and frozen and it is better to have fruits and vegetables in their whole form.
There are many counter-arguments to this as many believe that blending and mashing vegetables and fruits are similar to the chewing function and help to release the nutrients and make them in an absorbable form for the body. While you can only eat a few fruits and vegetables at a time it is effective to have smoothies as more nutrients can be added to a smoothie and can be more easily digested by the body.
Ask yourself – is it easier to eat up a plate of a green salad than drinking a glass of the same after blending? The body definitely would appreciate the more absorbable form of nutrients as in a smoothie. Consuming smoothies fresh or frozen are extremely nutrient-dense and a very effective method for nutrient absorption.
Tips for a nutrient-rich, frozen smoothie experience
- Have the smoothie as soon as it thaws. It is noticed that if it was allowed to stay in the refrigerator or outside for long, the nutrient content steadily decreases.
- It might be better to have the smoothie as a frozen dessert with a spoon as soon as it thaws a little as this will ensure that nutrients are still high in the smoothie.
- If you are really concerned about the smoothie texture then a good way is to take a frozen smoothie and keep it in the refrigerator overnight so that you can have it in the right texture when you wake up in the morning.
- It is important to balance nutrients in the smoothies so that you can have a greater benefit from them. Rather than focusing on one or two vegetables or fruits, it would be good to add in a variety of fruits, vegetables, nut butter, seeds, etc. to increase the overall nutrient content.
- Smoothies are not juices and hence would require some form of milk or liquid (either regular milk for plant-based milk would be ideal) along with emulsifiers such as yogurt, avocado banana, or mangoes to provide that creamy texture that makes a smoothie so tasty and tempting.
Why should you freeze your smoothies?
Getting up every day and making smoothies can become a chore and you might easily be tempted to go for some ready-made food options on some days when you are really busy. It takes a lot of willpower and determination to make a fresh smoothie every day and drink. If you freeze smoothies and keep it ready for consumption then there is no pressure on your willpower and you can stick to your healthy regime much easier. Whatever negligible nutritional value that you lose will be more than being compensated for by your being able to be consistent in your diet.
All the work it takes when you have frozen smoothies on hand is to move it to the refrigerator so that it thaws and becomes ready to drink the next day. It has been found that even this overnight thawing of your frozen smoothie has some benefits. When you are nutrient-rich, a smoothie is kept in the refrigerator to thaw, all the ingredients get more time to soak in the mixture and softens hence releasing more of its nutrients. This increases nutrient absorption when consumed the next day. Ingredients such as nuts or seeds, oats, and types of grains are broken down further by this process and are easily digested in the morning.
So in conclusion, it is much better to freeze your smoothies and thereby have them more consistently as compared to falling off the wagon because you could not blend a smoothie that day when you needed it. As long as you make your smoothies healthy, these smoothies are a million times more beneficial for your health than pancakes, mashed potatoes, or toast which are typical breakfast choices if you did not have that smoothie ready to drink. So this perspective allows you to accept a little compromise in exchange for sustaining the smoothie habit longer and be able to meet your health goals.