7 Big Benefits of Blending, 5 Shocking But Healthy Foods You Can Safely Put In Your Blender & Does Blending Destroy Fiber?

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Articles, Nutrition

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of blending, and I've definitely been seen on YouTube producing some pretty weird things in my blender, including my high-fat ketogenic kale smoothie.

But why exactly am I such a blender nerd, and why is this particular big black blender a staple in my kitchen that ranks right up there with a fork, a plate and my giant red wine glass?

First, let's delve into 7 big benefits of blending…and then I'll show you a video I shot that includes 5 shocking but healthy foods you can safely put in your blender. I'll finish this article by addressing whether blending somehow destroys all the fiber in your fruits and vegetables.

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7 Big Benefits of Blending

1. Blending is fast. I sometimes use an Omega masticating juicer, but it can take a very long time to prepare fruits and vegetables for juicing, and the clean-up is a big headache. So I juice about 1/10 as much as I blend. Speed is important to me, especially in the morning.

2. Blending is filling (if you blend at the right thickness). As you'll see in the video later in this post, I blend my smoothies super thick so that I can “chew” the smoothie and eat it with a spoon, which allows the digestive enzymes in my mouth to pre-initiate digestion and make me fuller, faster. Because I'll often spend a good 30-45 minutes reading articles, talking with my kids, or sorting through the mail while I nibble away at my smoothie, I'm often more full than if I'd sat down to quickly gulp down bacon and eggs.

3. Blending doesn't spike your blood sugar as much as juicing. Fiber is one great way to lower the glycemic index of a food. Juicing eliminates just about every shred of fiber, while blending does not. By the way, you're about to reinvent your idea of fiber intake when you see the video later in this post.

4. Blending produces less waste. As you'll also see in the video, I blend just about every little thing except the shell of my brazil nuts. So the only thing I really need to clean after blending is the BPA-free blender jar itself, and the spatula I use to scrape every last bit of goodness out of the blender.

5. Blending allows you to easily consume superfood cocktails. Let's face it: superfoods like chlorella, maca, spirulina, cacao, goji berries, chia seeds, flax seeds and protein powder are hard to eat with your hands out of a ziplock bag. Dumping these kind of things into a blended smoothie makes it far easier to deliver boatloads of nutrients to your body.

6. Blending makes it easy to eat your vegetables. Just like juicing, making giant salads can also be extremely time consuming. Don't get me wrong: I love sitting down to my lunchtime “big-ass salad”, but often don't have the time or need to work through lunch. So I'll often put the entire day's serving of kale, bok choy, spinach, broccoli, cilantro, parsley and other greens into my blender and dump it all into my giant lucky mug (and no, you don't need to worry about those goitrogens).

7. Blending also makes it easy to eat your fats. By dumping everything from avocados to coconut milk (choose BPA-free coconut milk) to coconut oil to MCT oil to flax seed oil, hemp seed oil and extra virgin avocado oil (I use this stuff) into your blender, you can easily reach your daily needs for anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and other fats that are crucial for your cholesterol, blood, joint, brain and nerve health.

Ready to blend? Then let's delve into some very interesting things that you can safely put into your blender, and then see what you can do about blending potentially “destroying the fiber” of your fruits and vegetables…

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5 Shocking But Healthy Foods You Can Safely Put In Your Blender (And Your Body)

1. Egg Shells

Egg shells contain 27 essential minerals and trace elements, including calcium carbonate, a form of calcium that’s very biologically compatible with and similar to the calcium in our bones and teeth. In animal and human tests, egg shell calcium have shown increased bone density, reduction of arthritic pain, and stimulation of cartilage growth. You can read more about that here. 

One last thing: if you make a habit of dropping a whole egg into your smoothie, consider spraying and wiping down the outside of the egg quickly with a vinegar and water solution, or better yet, an oil of oregano and water solution. This will ensure you kill any germs that might be living on the eggshell.

2. Avocado Seeds

Yes, you can just drop the whole avocado into your blender – just like I do in the video. Avocado seeds have 70% of the antioxidants found in the whole avocado, and avocado seed oil is also chock full of antioxidants that specifically limit oxidation of cholesterol, help to prevent cardiovascular disease and strokes, and assist with joint repair and autoimmune function. Avocado seeds have more soluble fiber than oatmeal (and just about any other food).

Avocado seeds can be nourishing and healing for inflammation in your gastrointestinal tract, and for diarrhea. In South America, avocado seeds are used for dysentery and other gut problems, and have a variety of phenolic compounds that help to prevent gastric ulcers, and bacterial and viral diseases. They even contain a flavonol that specifically prevents tumor growth, which is why avocado seed powder has been studied in rats with cancer.

Avocado seed oil can also increase collagen formation, helping to keep your joints supple and your skin moist, young and wrinkle free, along with bringing shimmer to your hair.

Avocado seed extract studies also show that the seed can lower blood glucose and helps you lose weight, and in QiGong Medicine, avocado seed are considered to be very high in Qi energy. They're slightly bitter when you eat them solo, but when you drop them into your blended smoothie, you won't notice any bitter taste.

3. Broccoli Stems

If you want more broccoli for your buck, then don't throw away those stems! Broccoli stems have a fantastic mild sweet flavor and are much higher in fiber than the florets (the other green part of the broccoli). You can also toss in the broccoli stem leaves, which are actually a richer source of beta-carotene than the stem or the florets.

Although broccoli's florets are indeed rich in B-complex vitamins and minerals, the stem contains other compounds you don't get in the florets, which can help protect from certain types of cancer and improve immunity. And tossing the stems into a blender is much more pleasant than gnawing them whole.

4. Flax Seeds

Flaxseed's health benefits come from the fact that it's both high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as phytochemicals called lignans. Just a single tablespoon of ground flax seed contains 2 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids (including omega-3 fatty acids), 2 grams of fiber and 37 calories – making it a very nutrient dense seed. Flax seed can be used to improve digestive health and relieve constipation, and may also help reduce your risk of heart disease.

However, whole flax seed can pass through your intestine completely undigested, which means you won't get much of these benefits unless you grind or you blend your flax seeds – and this is also why you may see little flax visitors in the toilet after you go poo if you're an avid flax seed cracker or flax seed granola fan.

Sure, you could use a coffee grinder for your flax seeds, but I just toss 'em in the blender along with everything else.

5. Your Supplements

In the video, you'll see me put Capraflex in the blender.

CapraFlex is a bone and joint formula that contains compounds such as glucosamine and chondroiton from type II chicken collagen (from chickens free of growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and insecticides) – as well as whole foods, herbs and enzyme complex that promotes bone healing and digestion, shuts down inflammation, and even has brain-boosting levels of things like turmeric and cherry extract in it.

I take Capraflex when I'm in any hard training phase, but will often throw 5-10 tablets (sometimes along with a handful of amino acid tablets) into my blender to ensure I recover with lightning speed, and get a hefty dose of muscle and bone healing action first thing in the morning. Like I mention in the video above, some of the minerals in Capraflex may also help to bind potentially harmful oxalates in the spinach and kale that I put in my smoothie.

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But Doesn't Blending Damage Fiber?

But what about this idea that blending fruits and vegetables somehow damages the fiber?

After all, Dr. Doug McDougall in “The McDougall Plan” shows a chart from the journal of Lancet that demonstrates how fiber is damaged when you blend. In this instance, when an apple is blended, it caused the blood sugar and insulin response to that apple to rapidly rise (higher than if the apple had been eaten whole), and then experience a roller-coaster ride top to lower levels. This happened to an even greater extent when the apple was juiced.

The blood sugar response is an easy fix. Like I mentioned earlier: chew your smoothie. And for heaven's sake, don't make “fruit smoothies”. I personally consider fruit to be nature's dessert, and consume the equivalent of one piece of fresh, raw fruit about once every 2 days (typically in the form on a slightly unripe pear or banana tossed into my smoothie).

Regarding the damage to the fiber – the fact is that you actually want to damage the fiber. Between your teeth and the acid in your stomach, there's quite a bit of fiber “damage” happening when you consume fruits and vegetables, and the use of a blender is simply initiating that process by pre-digesting some of your food for you.

The primary difference between a human cell and a plant cell is that rather than just having a permeable membrane, a plant has a protective cell wall outside its membrane, and that wall is made of cellulose. Cellulose is a basically a chain of glucose molecules linked together in a tough and rigid wire mesh pattern. It's what stiffens the stems of plants and helps leaves to spread out and face the sun. The extremely rigid areas of greens, such as the spine of kale and collard, are also rich in calcium and other minerals, which are basically locked inside the cellulose.

By blending, you break up these rigid cellulose chains into small, more easily digestible and absorbable materials, and also increase nutrient and mineral availability. This is why my favorite button to push on the OMNI Blender is the big “60” button. It pulverizes the fiber for 30 seconds, automatically slows down briefly to re-mix, then speeds up again to put the finishing touches on that cellulose.

So go ahead – damage that fiber. Blend. Your body will thank you.

Do you have questions about these 7 big benefits of blending or the 5 shocking but healthy foods you can safely put into your blender? Do you have your own blender recipes to share? Simply leave your comments below, and be sure to check out the amazing OMNI Blender!


Also published on Medium.

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64 thoughts on “7 Big Benefits of Blending, 5 Shocking But Healthy Foods You Can Safely Put In Your Blender & Does Blending Destroy Fiber?

  1. Richard Walker says:

    Hi Ben.

    I want to boost my metabolism and testosterone. What is the best way to do this. I’m trying to lose weight.

  2. Lauren says:

    Hi there, I’m really confused on how the blending destroys the fiber in your fruits and veggies. I’m a competitive swimmer and train about two hours a day following intense crossfit and biking sessions. I wanted to start blending because I’m wanting to incorporate more wholesome foods into my diet as well as toning up my body. I wanted to try blending, but now I’m concerned. If this is something I were to take upon myself to do, do you have a website with recipes that you recommend?

    1. There's no need to be concerned about blending destroying fiber and if you read the article it will tell you why it's a good thing. Just make sure you CHEW your smoothie. Try here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2010/08/how-to-m…

      And here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2015/07/how-to-b…

  3. John says:

    Interested in the avacad seeds.can you buy this in powder to mix..thinking of trying this to help with my joints. And where can I buy these products..should I have whole avacado, or in powder form..

    Rgds

    John

    1. My wife is doing a big story on this inside https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/innercircle – you should access that as she goes into this in extreme detail…

  4. Louise says:

    Hi!

    Does anyone know if boiling it for some minutes will destroy the nutritions/health benefits?

    Thanks Louise

    1. boiling will only reduce the nutrient content if you discard the boiled water. I tend to drink the boiled water.

  5. Lynette Scott says:

    Loved the video Ben and I will be trying that avocado seed in my next smoothie. I added 2 packs of splenda and you were right, it causes a insulin release.

  6. LALS2B says:

    What happens to the fiber in barley and bulgar if I add some to my Kale Smoothy?

      1. LALS2B says:

        I think the insoluble got spun into soluble or some weird chemistry thing because with the whole grains, greens, chia, flax, and hemp (not all at once) and blending most of my meals on the run, irregularity seems to be a new friend. !!

        1. Interesting! Call that in as an audio question for the podcast and I'll dive in.

  7. javimei says:

    For some reason I can't stomach the taste of the leafy greens smoothies. It just doesn't taste good and I end up putting more stuff just to chew it all. Is it suppossed to take some time to adapt to the flavor? I did fine with simpler kale-banana-blueberrie-coconut smoothies for example. The more complex ones are not of my taste so far, and I can eat pretty much anything!

    1. That's why I add things like Brazil nuts, dark chocolate powder, cinnamon, coconut flakes, organic cacao nibs, etc.!

  8. Mathew_King says:

    You said there are no concerns about organic and free range raw eggs. What about the shell? Are you worried about salmonella? My mom is seriously messing with my head with food taboos.

    1. Free range eggs have an advantage here. Not only are organic, free range eggs more nutrient-dense, but studies have found them to be significantly less contaminated than battery cage hens. I also give them a good wash before using them, just to be certain.

  9. mshumblepi314 says:

    Very interesting. I will say however, that it does seem it could use something sweet. Would stevia be ok?

    1. Sure. Stevia works but beware that even though it is better than sugar, it still causes an insulin release.

  10. Bill0001 says:

    Any concerns with a raw egg?

    1. None… as long as they are organic and free range!

      1. vincevwood says:

        According to the following article: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/raw-egg-protein-s…
        cooked eggs yield over 90% of their protein vs. raw eggs yield of roughly 60%.
        Something worth noting.

  11. Brittany says:

    Ben, you mentioned that you can add your supplements to your smoothie – so is it okay then to add my cod liver fish oil to my morning smoothie? Will that take away from the benefits of the oil at all? I also take B Complex, Vitamin D, a multi vitamin and Zinc…Can I really just throw all of those in my smoothie?

    1. That's just fine to do, actually! but you may want to read this: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/11/when-…

  12. Eleanor Pell says:

    That t-shirt makes you look like tool Ben. I can’t imagine Jessa approved that. I think you need some more brazil nuts for those testosterone producing properties…

    1. Do you really come here for the fashion?

  13. Kat_f says:

    I thought seeds sometimes contain compounds that are meant to deter them being digested by animals? (Or maybe I'm confusing this with grains?) Is this not a concern at all with avocado seeds?

    1. No, you are right – some seeds are definitely not eatable… but many are. Nuts are technically seeds.

  14. georgebryce says:

    Are there any concerns of mixing the night before and then taking it in the morning for breakfast on the go? I leave home at 5:30, workout, then breakfast at the office. Running the mixer at 5:30am would not be well received by the family. Tried the avocado seed today and detected an “earthy” taste I did not notice before, but loved the new addition.

    1. Ha ha – I think the health risk of running the blender at 5:30am outweighs any nutrient degradation that may occur! Go for it, just make sure to refrigerate it, preferably in a glass or stainless steel container.

  15. cookecc says:

    Do you have any thoughts about the phytoestrogens in flax seeds? I can't seem to get consistent information about wether they are helpful or harmful…

    1. This area of flaxseed research is admittedly complex. For example, enterolactone made from flaxseed lignans has been shown to be an estrogen agonist (promoting estrogen production, through increased formation of transcription factors like ER-alpha and ER-beta), as well as an estrogen antagonist (working against estrogen production, through inhibition of enzymes like estrogen synthetase). It's also known to lower the activity of 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone) and 17-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (an enzyme that converts estrone into estradiol). Given this complicated set of circumstances that may vary from one woman to another, it may turn out that flaxseed intake is simply better at lessening menopausal symptoms in some women, and not as good at lessening symptoms in others.

  16. Never would have thought to blend the avocado seed, but I'll give it a shot! Thanks!

  17. bryanb541 says:

    Hi Ben! Organic or Non Organic Brazil Nuts? What do you think? How's this deal sound http://www.nuts.com/nuts/brazilnuts/in-the-shell….

    1. Looks good. Make sure to freeze them as soon as you receive them so they don't get moldy.

  18. Iantroy300 says:

    Ate my first avocado seed today (after 54 years celibate, err, whatever). Green smoothie with mixed salad greens, vanilla, proprietary seeds/green powder/goji mix, broccoli florets, MCT oil, almond milk and whatever else that climbed inside the blender. Very sludgish, but actually tasted good. Chewy and the blender still works!

  19. Ethan says:

    I am trying to get ready for racing season this spring but its too cold and snowy to go outside. Which bike trainer would you recommend. I hear good things about fluid trainers. What do you use?

  20. pierre_t says:

    How many calories are there in this smoothie?

    1. No clue. Maybe 800-ish. Watch this to figure out how to find out though: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQ_wjOIyejM&fe…

  21. Darcie says:

    If humans are super inefficient at converting the omega 3’s from flax into the form we need, do we really care about flaxseeds for their omega 3 content? How’s their omega 6 content?

    1. Not bad… but they're a great form of fiber (and the omega 3 is an added bonus, albeit small).

      1. journeytohealth says:

        I have replaced all flax with a 50/50 blend of ground chia/hemp. should i go back?

        1. Depends on what you are looking for? Omegas or fiber. Ideally, just add a bit of flax in with your chia/hemp and you are rockin'!

  22. mymool says:

    Thanks for the great ideas. Added avocado seeds and egg shells to my diet.

  23. jennymdoss says:

    Do you recommend having one Brazil nut every day?

    1. I recommend THREE a day, preferably frozen and in the shell until right when you eat them.

  24. jennymdoss says:

    What kind of protein powder do you recommend? Do you recommend rotating between vegan and regular protein powder? I know you have several powders on your site and am not sure which one to buy when making a smoothie with a bunch of stuff in it. Thank you.

    1. Deep30 as a whey source and LivingProtein as a vegan source. Those are the ONLY TWO I ever use and I cycle from one to the other depending on taste preferences. You can get both from http://www.pacificfit.

  25. Grace says:

    Hi Ben, great video! The link above for the chocolate powder did not work for me. Also, how much flax seeds do you typically use? thanks.

    1. I do about two T of flax.

  26. docdeborah says:

    raw egg whites interfere with the absorption of biotin, not a worry of yours?

    1. Egg yolks have one of the highest concentrations of biotin found in nature. So it is likely that you will not have a biotin deficiency if you consume the whole raw egg, yolk and white.

  27. mkipper87 says:

    Ben, what cocoa powder or chocolate product did you use here?

    1. Upgraded Chocolate: http://www.pntrs.com/t/R0JGSExJRUZCTEVHSUVCRkVFTE…

  28. alcazar13 says:

    Nice gotta try it , avocado seed wow, who would of known… what's that your wearing a mini air purifier? Does it work do you really get some fresh air out that little thing…?

    1. Ha ha! No… that's a microphone.

  29. anneking1 says:

    Was that a hard cooked egg or raw egg going into the smoothie?
    What if you like your smoothie to taste sweet?

    1. It was a raw egg. If you like sweet, you can add some berries (lower glycemic index than fruit) but keep it under control.

  30. JJ says:

    I love raw kale and broccoli but what about the goitrogens? Not better to steam first?

    1. They will not cause a goiter. Read this: http://autoimmune-paleo.com/goitrogens-why-you-do… – it's immune system issues, not cruciferous vegetables you need to worry about.

      1. docdeborah says:

        COOKED goitrogens are not to worry about, but RAW goitrogens are a potential goitrogen in some people. They are not completely benign! Your reference is great, but again doesn't address the raw vs cooked issue. The foods are too good to miss when cooked, but for some folks, raw cruciferous veggies are better avoided.

      2. Ava says:

        How many pounds did you lose!!!

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