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I’ve mentioned numerous times in my writings on high-performance blenders that rarely do I sell one to a customer who doesn’t purchase it with a primary goal of improving his or her health.  Yes, these machines are well-known for their wide range of uses – ice cream, bread dough, etc. – and I’ll do my best to demonstrate as many of these functions as I possibly can at my roadshows.  However, I’ve yet to start a single demonstration any way but with simple fruits and/or vegetables, showing my audience first-hand the power of the blender to create a juice or smoothie that is not only delicious, but yields as much nutrition as is possible with any given set of ingredients.  How do I do this?  When blending fruits, I always make a point to use every part of them that is good for us.  Obviously, a ripe fruit’s flesh or pulp is going to be healthy.  But with certain fruits, the skin is perhaps its most nutritious part.  With others, it’s the seeds.  A fruit’s stem, core, or pith (the white part just underneath the peel of citrus fruits) might each contain valuable nutrition that, when simply eating these fruits, will be wasted when we discard them – usually without a second thought.  In taking advantage of a high-performance blender’s incredible power and design, though, a fruit’s entire nutritional content can be easily incorporated into delicious juices and smoothies.

In this article on high-performance blenders I reference their ability to break down a fruit or vegetable to what is commonly referred to as the phytonutrient level.  Only at this level are the individual cell walls of fruits ruptured by the blender’s blades.  This action then releases the vast majority of any given fruit’s thousands of phytonutrients – chemical compounds that studies suggest actually improve health in the body when accessed.  Absent the breaking down of these cell walls, though, the vast majority of a fruit’s phytonutrients will be digested completely unutilized. As the aforementioned article relates, only a blender capable of delivering at least 1 horsepower of actual power (as opposed to listed or advertised horsepower) is strong enough to reach the phytonutrient level of one’s ingredients.  Additionally, only a high-performance blender can produce a juice or smoothie that incorporates the entire fruit yet leave no textural trace of skin, seeds, core, etc.  For most of us, it doesn’t matter how good a smoothie tastes if we have to chew tiny particles of fruit seeds before swallowing.

With a goal of maximizing the nutrition in juices and smoothies prepared with a high-performance blender, following are twenty of this country’s most popular fruits that contain skins and/or seeds that are traditionally discarded before ingestion.  Next to each is listed what, if any, nutritional benefits they contain.

 

Apple: The skins of apples are a good source of vitamin A but are extremely high vitamin C.  As much as 50% of the vitamin C in the fruit can be found in the skin.  The skin also contains fiber, antioxidants, and quercetin, a flavonoid that is purported to have anti-inflammatory properties.  Apple seeds, on the other hand, contain amygdalin, a molecule which produces cyanide once ingested.  Large-scale consumption of blended apple seeds is not recommended.

Apricot:  Apricot skins are good sources of vitamin C and beta-carotene.  Their seeds, though, are similar in properties to apples.

Avocado:  No documented health benefits for avocado skins could be found.  However, the darker-green flesh just underneath the skin contains its highest concentration of antioxidants.  Be sure to scrape the inside of the skin well after peeling.  The avocado seed, or pit, is high in potassium and antioxidants, and is one of the best sources of soluble fiber on Earth.

Banana:  The peel of the banana is edible and is actually high in fiber.  With non-organic bananas, however, the peel is highly susceptible to pesticides and chemical residues.

Blackberry:  Blackberry seeds are good sources of omega-3 oils, protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

Cantaloupe:  The seeds found in cantaloupes are extremely high in protein and are also excellent sources of phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A, B-12, and D, as well as unsaturated fats and digestive enzymes.  Its rind, although very high in fiber and potassium, is also extremely porous, making it susceptible to mold, pesticides, and chemicals.

Cherry:  Cherry pits are similar in chemical makeup to apple seeds.  It is probably best to remove them prior to blending.

Grape:  Grape skins are great for you and contain up to 100 times the concentration of resveratrol as does the grape pulp.  Resveratrol is a phytochemical that has been linked to the inhibition of cancer, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s.  It is also highly prevalent in the seeds, especially those of globe and muscadine grapes, along with vitamin E, linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid), and other antioxidants.

Honeydew:  The properties of honeydew seeds and rind are almost identical to those of cantaloupe.

Kiwi:  Kiwi seeds have always generally been considered edible.  They are great sources of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.  The skin contains flavonoids and insoluble fiber, but caution should be exercised before ingesting kiwi skin as its hairy texture attracts pesticides.

Lemon:  Lemon peels are edible but non-organic ones are often waxed prior to shipping to protect the fruit from bruising.  Just underneath the peel is the pith which is white in color.  The pith is extremely high in vitamin C and contains vitamin B6 and fiber, too.  Trace amounts of salicylic acid (the main ingredient in aspirin) are found in lemon seeds.

Lime:  The lime is similar to lemon in terms of the nutritive properties of its peel and seeds.

Mango:  Mango peel is rich in phytonutrients but, ironically, is at its most bitter when the fruit is ripest.  Several edible uses for the large pit in the fruit have been discovered, too.  However, none have been found in its raw form.  For this reason it is advisable to discard the pit.

Orange:  Only trace amounts of anti-fungal properties and vitamin B-17, a purported cancer fighter, have been discovered in orange seeds.  There is, however, as much vitamin C in its pith as the rest of the fruit, as well as fiber, pectin, bioflavonoids, and antioxidants.

Peach:  The peach pit contains amygdalin, just as apples do.  It’s probably best to avoid it.  The skin, though, is very nutritious, containing vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants.

Pear:  There are numerous pear varieties in the United States, the most common of which is the European.  The seeds in this pear are toxic like apple seeds.  The skin is a good source of vitamin C and chlorogenic acid, an important antioxidant.

Pineapple:  The healthiest part of a pineapple is its core which is loaded with bromelain, an enzyme which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.  Vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and copper can all be found in the core as well.  Pineapple skin is also nutritious, containing vitamin C and bromelain.  Keep in mind its texture, though.  It’s very susceptible to chemicals and pesticides.

Plum:  Plum skins contain fiber, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and antioxidants.  The seed or pit, however, contains the same properties as apple seeds.

Strawberry:  Strawberry “seeds” are actually tiny fruits, themselves, and are fairly good sources of fiber.  If you’ve ever been to a live demonstration of Blendtec or Vitamix machines, you may have heard the demonstrator advocate the green caps of strawberries as being nutritious.  I, however, have yet to find any study or documentation of any sort that backs this claim.  My advice is to cut off the caps before you eat or blend the fruit.

Watermelon:  The watermelon, as a whole, is one of the healthiest fruits on the planet.  Its seeds contain zinc, iron, and fiber, and can be composed of up to 30% protein.  The outer skin is not exceptionally nutritious, but the rind definitely is, containing vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and lycopene, an especially beneficial phytonutrient that studies suggest may serve as a preventative for certain cancers such as prostate cancer.

 

As mentioned in specific fruits above, almost all conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables are done so with the application of pesticides and other chemical agents.  Regardless of how nutritious the skin of a fruit may be, these benefits are almost always negated by pesticides if it is ingested unwashed.  This is reason alone to select organically grown produce whenever possible.  Should one wish to take advantage of the nutrition in traditionally-grown fruits, however, it should be considered essential that they be washed thoroughly prior to utilizing.

Also, keep in mind that thick skins and/or dense seeds and pits can also dramatically alter the flavor of recipes typically made with just the more conventional parts of the fruits.  High-performance blenders certainly make the smoothest of smoothies, regardless of the composition of your ingredients.  However, they can do little about flavor.  The most nutritious smoothie in the world won’t benefit you if you can’t drink it because it tastes bad.  This is why the ultimate decision on whether or not to blend the entire fruit is best left to the individual.

Sources for information in this article include livestrong.com, health24.com, whfoods.com, and wikipedia.org.

104 responses so far. Feel free to discuss it right here...

  1. Latha Pradeep Nair says:

    Any guidance for a Pure Vegetarian on What food items would be good source of protein????

    • bd bd says:

      Latha, I’m not a nutritionist but I believe most nuts, beans, and even some leafy greens like spinach are all excellent sources of protein. Both dairy and non-dairy milks are also good sources. And perhaps my favorite smoothie ingredient is chia seed, for its protein as well as a variety of other benefits.

      A good protein powder can also be an option. My favorite sources are hemp, vegetable, and egg-white.

  2. Mindy says:

    This site is Truly Remarkable. This is one of my favorite site online as of now. Also a question for you. At only 26 i was put on a life long fiber diet due to some internal issues and have yet to find a great recipe for a total protein and fiber smoothy..any ideas??

    • bd bd says:

      Mindy, thanks for the nice compliment on the site. I’m glad you like it. I would imagine most smoothie recipes are good sources of fiber as fruit is full of it. I would also suggest adding nuts and seeds like chia and flax. Nuts are doubly-beneficial because they are high in protein, too. Greens like spinach are also relatively high in protein, so don’t forget to add them, too. Regular milk is a good source of protein and, of course, you have seemingly unlimited choices in protein powders if you wanted to go that route.

  3. Joe L. says:

    I had no idea you could blend an avocado seed and that it would be healthy for you. So when you make guacamole, do you typically blend it with the seed? Btw, blackberry seeds are a good reason why one should have a high powered blender for health. Before I got my Blendtec, I used to avoid blackberries and raspberries because the seeds would always be left intact no matter how long I let them blend. But the Blendtec takes care of them pretty easily.

    • bd bd says:

      Joe, I do not blend the avocado seed when making guacamole. Remember, just because something is potentially good for you does not mean its taste or texture is going to be pleasing to the person eating/drinking it. If you can’t get it down, it really doesn’t matter how good it is for you, right? :-)

      I would imagine the seed would significantly alter the texture of guacamole, and possibly the taste, too. Good luck to you if you try it. Share with us your results if you do!

  4. Hillary says:

    I really enjoyed this article, Blender Dude, and will visit often. I loved all the comments, as well. So much information! I just purchased a Vitamix and am learning the recipes. But I am prone towards diabetes (runs rampant in my family) and high cholesterol and was wondering if you might direct me to some good recipes I can incorporate that will help in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol. All the fruit smoothies scare me a little bit.

    • bd bd says:

      Hillary, thanks for the nice words about the site. I’m neither a doctor nor dietitian, so I’m hesitant to give out advice for specific conditions you might already have, but it is fairly well-documented that greens, superfoods, and certain fruits can help with blood sugar regulation and lowering cholesterol. Instead of avoiding fruit altogether I suggest using it in moderation and focus on those high in fiber and antioxidants – blueberries, as one example. Use plenty of greens – spinach, chard, kale, etc. And do some research on superfoods like acai to see if you think you’d like to incorporate them into your smoothie regiment as well. For specific recipes, I suggest a Google search for “Heart-healthy smoothie recipes” and/or “Smoothie recipes Diabetes.” Good luck to you!

    • icicic says:

      Vitamix? You wont be sorry.
      We have owned three of them over the last 22 years and have raised our brilliant minded healthy children with them.
      I’d like to share with you what 22 years has taught us.
      Blending raw fruits and vegetables can be very pulpy to drink and can turn the stomach of even a sea captain.
      If you blend it on high to long it will begin to cook, depending on what you are trying to achieve that can be good or bad.
      Most people prefer to blend with ice that works pretty well but what we have found that makes the smoothies the most pulp-less is to freeze, freeze, freeze! Yes freeze everything. By doing so you burst the cellular membrane juice pockets releasing more juice and nutrition and also burst the membrane fiber leaving it less pulpy for better absorption.
      Take leafy vegetables after washing and stand them up in a cellophane bag like from a Total cereal box, re-drain after 5 min then put them in your freezer. After frozen crush the bag with your hands and you’ll now have a quarter bag or less of fines to dip into with a measure cup for your smoothy.
      Fruits can be cut into wedges.
      If the smoothy is to veggie in flavor then add IRON RICH raisins or tarten it up with sugar-free cranberry juice. You don’t need to freeze the juice though only if you prefer that.
      Good health and happy juice’en.

  5. Debbie Johnson says:

    Do you have any info on the safety of blending tomato seeds please?

    • bd bd says:

      Debbie, I don’t know of any blender, especially a high-performance blender, that would have much difficulty blending tomato seeds. If one needed the seeds to be completely pulverized such as those who suffer from conditions like diverticulitis, using a high-performance blender would be the best way to go about this.

      If you are referring to the nutritional content of tomato seeds, I don’t know much about them except for them being fairly high in fiber.

  6. Larry says:

    So, I understand then that mixing these seeds are compatible with each other under normal conditions, hopefully, and can work nicely with each other without a problem with chemical unbalance when digested?

    • bd bd says:

      I can only speak to the nutritional properties of them, individually. How they react with one another when combined is a subject far above my pay-grade :-). I’m certain there are much better online resources for this than myself.

  7. Larry says:

    Is it okay to mix Pomegranate Seeds with Papaya Seeds and / or Pumpkin Seeds in a Blender for a Health Drink?

    • bd bd says:

      Larry, I believe just about any decent household blender could blend these types of seeds without risk of damaging the blender. Just how well they will be blended is another matter, however.

      If you are asking specifically about the health benefits of these seeds, I haven’t done any extensive research into any of them. I do know, though, that there are many claims out there touting the benefits of all three.

  8. Rose G says:

    I have a Nutribullet and tons of tomatoes this year. How do I make fresh homemade tomato juice with it?

    • bd bd says:

      Rose, you can use just the tomatoes and just enough water to get the consistency you like. If you prefer all the pulp to be removed you can also strain your result through a filtration bag. I also recommend you season your juice. It makes a big difference for me. Good luck.

  9. clark vera says:

    Great article, but I am very curious about Avacado seed. It says high in pottasium and antioxidants, plus fiber. Well I tried one and its also great business for the Dentist! Just kidding, I glued my teeth back in and ask, how does one eat the Avacado pit? I was thinking maybe I could trap a squirrel and have him crack the pits for me…

    • bd bd says:

      Clark, you are on the right track, but I would recommend you use a raccoon. They are easier to train :-). Actually, if you’re interested in capturing the nutritional benefits of the avocado pit, the best way is probably to blend it in something like a smoothie.

  10. ESJELM says:

    BD,

    I have to ask why red grapes over Black? I prefer the black.

    ESJELM

    • bd bd says:

      ESJELM, I don’t believe the article mentions a preference of red over black. Most black grapes I’m familiar with are deep purple, and I would consider red, anyway. Generally, the darker the grape the higher levels of phytochemicals such as Resveretrol it contains. There’s absolutely nothing at all wrong with black grapes.

  11. Ty says:

    Good Morning, I accidentally blended two plumbs in my smoothie this morning with their pits in. Is it ok to drink my smoothie, or should I disgard it? Thank you!

    • bd bd says:

      Don’t misconstrue this as medical advice, but it is probably safe to drink your smoothie as a one-time experiment. I wouldn’t make a habit out of blending plum pits, though. Depending upon how well they blended, you may not enjoy them, anyway.

  12. Mark says:

    Thank you for the helpful article, but I think that one thing may be incorrect. The entry regarding oranges contained a misleading detail. It said that orange seeds contain “vitamin B-17, a cancer fighter,” but if you look at wikipedia, at http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/amygdalin, you will find that B-17 is not actually a vitamin, it does not fight cancer, and it breaks down to produce hydrogen cyanide, a potent toxin. It is broken down by beta-glucosidase, an enzyme found in your small intestine and in various common foods. In one study by the US National Institutes of Health, cyanide toxicity was found in several patients taking B-17, which is also called laetrile and is closely related to amygdalin.

    • bd bd says:

      Mark, thanks for your input. There is certainly a lot of ongoing debate regarding B17/laetrile. I have made a slight amendment to my description regarding orange seeds. Hopefully your comment prompts readers to do their own research and draw their own conclusions about whether or not they want to include them in their diets.

  13. Brenda says:

    Hello, I have been making mint simple syrup for years, And it always experimented with different kinds of seasonal berries. This year I decided to make a citrus blend I took orange peelings grapefruit peelings lemon peelings and lime
    Peelings put them on the food processor with equal parts sugar, let them rest a bit so the sugar and the oils could combine. Then added equal parts water, brought to boil let sit for 30inutes. What I got was a beautiful, orange colored citrus syrup. The left over pulp rind was also very fragrant, pretty and kind of tasty! After reading on the Internet lots of people eat citrus rinds. I decided to freeze the left over pulp for marinades like for orange chicken or any kind of sweet dish. Omg! That might for supper made a sweet onion teryiki steak marinade and it was awesome! You would not believe how much citrus flavor came out of that scoop! Today I food processed just g fruit rinds & sugar to a fine consistincy an made cady. I guess what I want to know is this safe for my fam. I havnt been peeling down the pith or anything because I read it has just as much vit. C as the fruit.
    Thank u & sorry for the long text!

    • bd bd says:

      Brenda, both the pith and the rind on almost all citrus fruits are perfectly edible and nutritious, especially the pith. Make sure to thoroughly wash the fruit prior to using, though, especially if non-organic.

  14. Ruth says:

    I apologize in advance if you’ve addressed this previously. I recently purchased a Vitamix. One of the reasons I chose it was so that I could create nutritious smoothies that I could get my picky-eater child to drink. using the Vitamix, when I have used raspberries or blackberries, there still are seeds. At the demo where I purchased this, I was told that smoothies would be smooth, and that seeds would not be detectable.

    Is there a method to create smoothies with berries but without the seeds (can they be liquified?)?

    Thanks!

    • bd bd says:

      Ruth, yes, with the Vitamix you can pulverize most seeds to the point where they are virtually undetectable. The quantity of these fruits you use will determine how long you must blend in order to do so. The more fruits containing seeds you’re using, the longer you must blend. You will want to use the High setting for best results (use the lower settings when turning on the blender, then go to High).

      The thing to keep in mind, however, is that the High setting will produce a lot of friction – so much so that it can and will eventually heat your juice/smoothie. To keep this from happening, my recommendation is to freeze the high-seed content fruits prior to blending. This will allow you to blend for a longer duration, enabling you to pulverize seeds, while at the same time keep temperatures low.

      If you find that you must use fresh fruit, use some ice along with it to achieve similar results. In short, the longer you can blend these fruits, the less detectable the seeds will be.

    • Robert says:

      I have been told the lemon as a whole is edible and healthy, I’ve read you can freeze the whole lemon to grate on foods. with greater benefits then just the juice and inertia fiber. I was not aware of the wax covering on the skin. Knowing this I would first remove the outside skin. Is this the best way to eat the lemon.

      Thanks

      • bd bd says:

        Robert, grating frozen lemon onto foods sounds like a good idea but I can’t say that I’ve ever tried it. If the lemon is organic I would not have any reservations about using the outer peel. If it’s not, I wouldn’t use it unless I gave it an extremely thorough cleaning, first.

  15. Elizabeth A says:

    Thank you Blender Dude, I was looking for info on what was safe to use and not, I appreciate your research and that you shared!

  16. Diane Arndt says:

    We have been using the Nutri-Bullet for about 4 months now and love it. We are 62 and 65 yrs. old. Recently went on a trip and were away from home for 4 days. Made up some “smoothies” ahead and stored them in a container and surrounding ice to keep it fresh. My husband has bad cholesterol so his smoothie needs 1/4 C. raw oatmeal in it..The smoothie is very creamy but got very think…add a bit of water and it thinned right out.
    Thank you for this amazing info..fantastic..now I will be “extracting” even healthier

  17. barbara bristow says:

    I have recently started juicing/blending, this is my first time on your site, I have found the information to be both interesting and enlightening. keep up the good work.

  18. Jessica says:

    Is there any harm in blending the strawberry caps? It seems easier to leave them on. Why do you take them off?

    • bd bd says:

      Jessica, to the best of my knowledge there is no harm whatsoever in leaving on the caps when blending strawberries. I would make sure they were thoroughly cleaned like the rest of the fruit. I was not able to find sufficient evidence to suggest that these caps are actually beneficial, but that doesn’t mean they are bad for you. In fact, you will still find plenty of advocates of leaving them on, including many high-performance blender salespersons. :-)

  19. Patty says:

    Drinking a kiwi smoothie has left my lips and tongue feeling like it was poisoned and cut up with tiny shards of glass. The kiwi was peeled, but I left in the seeds. Any suggestions?

    • bd bd says:

      Patty, how awful. I am very sorry for your experience. I have enjoyed numerous kiwi smoothies without experiencing anything like that. It sounds to me almost like an allergic reaction of some sort. I am hesitant to draw any kind of medical conclusions on your behalf – that’s not what I do – but I would look into this possibility. I’m sorry I can’t be of more definitive help to you.

      • Patty says:

        Thanks BD. I’ve eaten kiwi whole before without this reaction. I’m just wondering if maybe I needed to let it blend longer so the seeds get fully pulverized. I’ll try that next time and thanks for the quick response.

        • bd bd says:

          I can’t imagine kiwi seeds being the culprit. But this is not really my area of expertise. If you ever figure out the cause, please share with us. Good luck!

          • Sheri says:

            I have noticed how I eat the kiwi makes a difference. If I slice it open and eat it with a spoon, no problem. If I blend it, the seeds get broken. If I drink the kiwi blended with a straw, not a problem, but if my lips contact the drink with the blended seeds, it burns. I’m guessing there are some enzymes in the seeds that get released by the blender.

      • Anon says:

        It’s called oral allergy syndrome. You’re likely allergic to one of the fruits. Kiwis and strawberries do it to me every time.

    • Robin says:

      I’ve had this happen too! I’ve eaten kiwis many times before, then only the last 2 times I had a reaction where my tongue, back of my throat and my lips became REALLY itchy while my lip felt swollen. Freaked me out. The first time I thought it was because I’d eaten the skin but the 2nd time I cut if off :S

  20. Susan says:

    I have used both the Blendtec and Vitamix blenders. I find that when I blend items the juice, smoothie or soup
    Ends up kind of foamy. I made cream of broccoli soup in my blender and it was too airy feeling compared to using a
    food processor. Can you give me some suggestions on what I might be doing wrong? The soup that was made at a
    demo was not foamy or frothy. ( I got the same thing when just pulverizing tomatoes).

    • bd bd says:

      Susan, a general tip for all recipes is to blend for the shortest duration possible. Once you think you’ve achieved your desired consistency, stop the blender and check it. You can always resume blending if necessary. Some recipes, like soups, require extended blending durations. A tip to removing excess foam is to start the blender once again, this time on the lower settings (Speed 1 on Blendtec, 2 or 3 with Vitamix) you will notice air bubbles on the surface gradually get reincorporated into your recipe. You can continue this process for as long as necessary until an acceptable level of excess air bubbles for you is achieved. Finally, with smoothies, the colder your ingredients, the less prone your recipe will be to become foamy.

  21. Pam Johnston says:

    Do you get the same amount of “bulk” or fiber from blended fruits and veggies as you would if you just ate them in their whole state?

    • bd bd says:

      Pam, yes, to the best of my knowledge. Assuming you don’t blend to excessively hot temperatures, all the fiber remains. Rate of digestion is the only thing that should change when you blend as opposed to eating whole.

  22. Lisa says:

    This may sound like a really stupid question, but I would like to know. Is it bad to swallow a lemon seed? I ask because I was at a restaurant with my mom, and I took a sip of my iced tea (which had a lemon slice). For a second I thought I may have swallowd a lemon seed. Like I said, it’s probably a stupid question but I would like to know.

  23. Jungmi says:

    Is it ok to freeze the leftover smoothie i make for my one year old for her to eat later? Would that diminish the nutrient content since its not consumed right away? Also, would thawing/microwaving the leftover reduce the nutritional value?

    • bd bd says:

      Jungmi, it is absolutely fine to freeze your leftover smoothie. The only diminishment of nutrients will occur between the time you make the smoothie and the time it freezes, which will be minimal. Even if you lost a little nutritional value in thawing, the smoothie would certainly still be worth consuming. You could always freeze leftover smoothie in ice trays and then put them right back in the blender for your next serving.

      • Jungmi says:

        Thanks for your response! I had another question if you don’t mind. Is it possible to have too many smoothies? We used to drink two or sometimes even three smoothies a day when we first got our blender but we have stopped after I read it might be bad to drink too many. Also, is it bad to use same veggies (kale & spinach) every time? I heard the greens need to be rotated, and if so, any suggestions on what other greens we can use? Thanks so much for your help!

        • bd bd says:

          Jungmi, keep in mind with my answers that I am not a nutritionist. I don’t know that it’s possible to ingest “too many” smoothies, but there is a school of thought out there that suggests you not always use the same leafy greens over and over again for your green smoothies. Naturally occurring alkaloids in some leafy greens, when ingested in large amounts, could lead to mild side effects. The alkaloids in each green are different, though, so rotating your greens is generally considered to be all it takes to avoid this possibility.

          There is also a school of thought that says stick to one leafy green per smoothie (in other words, don’t use spinach and kale at the same time), but I’m not that well-versed on the reasons why so I’d rather not give advice in that regard. Personally, I’ll buy a bunch of kale and use it until its gone, then buy a container of spinach and do the same thing. I also rotate chard and, if I can find them, dandelion greens into my smoothie regiment. So, every 5 to 7 green smoothies I’ll introduce a new green. I do this more for variety than for any other reason, but I’ve never experienced any of the effects alkaloid poisoning is said to induce.

  24. Sue Atkins says:

    Hi. I read down to where you were replying to someone about the lycopene in watermelon and you weren’t aware of it’s abilities in helping weight loss. I’d like to refer you to Dr. William Li’s Ted talk on “Can we Eat to Starve Cancer?”

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/william_li.html

    His work is with angiogenesis, and he’s been looking at foods that have angiogenic inhibitor properties. Lycopene was one of the key nutrients for angiogenic inhibition which fights back the out of whack blood supply that our body starts to feed cancer tumors. Turns out our fat cells rely on angiogenic factors to get their blood supply, too. So anything with lycopene would inhibit the blood supply to fat cells.

    I’d recommend visiting http://www.eattodefeat.org/foodlist and using their full food list and it’s clickable database of information to see which foods have anti-angiogenic properties for fighting cancer AND out of whack fat cells.

  25. Jim says:

    I’ve been juicing for years now and have always adhered to the “rule” to not blend fruits (other than apples) and vegetable together. I recently purchased the nutribullet (saves about 1/2 hour each morning) and all their recipies combine fruits and vegetables. I like to throw a handful of blueberries in with my spinach, celery, parsley, ginger, carrot and beets but do not want to loose nutritional value. I understand the different enzymes needed for digestion of the two can cause a decrease in absorbed nutrition. Would greatly appreciate your feedback.

    • bd bd says:

      Jim, all I can tell you with certainty is that I am far from an authority on the ever-present food combining controversy. I’m familiar with the science that states that the digestion of different foods requires different enzymes, and I’ve read what appears to be credible testimony that absorption rate can be influenced when combining fruits and veggies, but I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that actually proves a decrease in effective nutrient absorption when different enzymes are being utilized simultaneously.

      There’s another school of thought that suggests not to combine because of potential fermentation issues resulting from the starches in veggies and the sugars in fruits, although, again, the ramifications have more to do with digestive discomfort rather than actual nutrition loss. And even in these instances, leafy greens are generally excluded from the “do not combine” lists.

      In practice I usually juice my veggies and blend my fruits (with leafy greens) and, simply for taste’s sake, keep them separate. I think it’s also important to keep in mind that everybody has his or her own unique digestive system, so even the more credible evidence in this debate won’t necessarily apply to everyone. “Listen to your body” is the best advice I can give. I’m sorry I can’t offer you a more informed response.

  26. Mike says:

    Man, you’re really knowledgeable about this stuff. I love your passion. …You’re cute, too.

  27. Gen says:

    I undergo chemotheraphy right now and i drink carrot and apple juice but i get confused as i read your article because someone told me to peel off all the fruits before eating or juicing. But as you said the healthiest part of the apple is its skin, so is it safe for me to include now the skin of the apple? Thanks!

    • bd bd says:

      Gen, first, I wish you the best with your treatment. My assumption is that whoever recommended you peel your apples first is concerned with pesticides or non-natural fertilizers that were used to grow them, and this is a legitimate concern. He or she may also be aware of a common practice performed on smooth-skinned fruits and vegetables sold in grocery stores involving them being coated with wax which helps prevent bruising and maintain firmness during transportation. This, of course, helps improve the fruit’s appearance on the store shelves, but is certainly not healthy for you to ingest.

      As for apples, although the USDA claims this wax is “safe” they also recommend you wash it off prior to eating them which might seem to be a bit of a contradiction. Apple skins of organic and non-organic varieties are definitely nutritious, but you first have to get rid of anything toxic that has found its way to them. If you want to eat the skin/peel of any fruit, especially if it’s non-organic, wash/scrub it thoroughly, first.

  28. Lisa says:

    Hey,

    I really appreciate this info! Some I already knew, but you helped clarify several points!!

    I am curious about Pomegranate. I wonder about the white and the skin of that? I am thinking that it might be similar to an orange. What do you think?

    Thanks!!

    • bd bd says:

      Lisa, the pomegranate pith/rind is very bitter but actually does contain large amounts of antioxidants. Also, the seeds are rich in protein. If you can handle the taste and texture, both can be beneficial.

  29. Shala Mellors says:

    Hello. Loved this write up. Would you consider doing one for vegetables too? For instance, if I’m making soups what seeds or stems should I keep, which ones should I toss? Or have you and I don’t see it?

  30. Pedro says:

    Hi BD! I have a question for you, there´s lots of talk about eating fruit seeds along with the fruit, about how most nutrients are found in the fruit, etc. But, nobody is mentioning the importance of soaking those seeds, just like we should soak/sprout/ferment all kinds of seeds, nuts and grains.
    What´s your opinion about that? Should we eat the fruit without the seeds and soak the seeds before eating them?

    • bd bd says:

      Pedro, there is a great deal of merit in soaking raw seeds and nuts as doing so breaks down enzyme inhibitors, unlocking much of the nutrition that might otherwise go unutilized when ingested. Regarding the healthy seeds in fruit that is to be used in smoothies, it would obviously be up to the individual as to whether the effort involved in removing and soaking them is worthy the time and effort.

  31. Kiani says:

    OMG. I have been throwing in the seeds of apples and pears for the last 3 weeks into the vitamix for my smoothies. Holy heck! I’ve also thrown in whole kiwis in as well. Glad I found this blog just in time to correct things. Is there a book out here you can recommend?

    • bd bd says:

      Kiani, I’m sure you’re fine ;-). These seeds have to be consumed in rather large quantities to have significant ill-effects. But there’s not much benefit to eating them, so leave them out from now on. I was never able to find a book specific to this topic which is one of the reasons I wrote the article.

      • Erica says:

        There is a huge benefit to eating these seeds and it is a common misconception that they are poisonous. I have eaten so many apricot seeds, which have the highest concentration of amygdalen, with no ill effects.
        Amygdalen is made up for 2 parts glucose, 1 part benzaldahyde, and 1 part hydrogen cyanide, which is in an inactive and perfectly safe form. By the way, when activated, the benzaldahyde is far more toxic than cyanide.
        For these elements to become activated, they need to come into contact with the enzyme Beta-glucosidase, which is only found inside of cancer cells. So the only time amygdalen can become toxic is when it is in the presence of cancer cells. All healthy body cells contain the enzyme rhodanese which neutralizes these elements and removes the toxicity. So even if you did have cancer, the amygdalen would only attack the cancer cells, and then be neutralized by all of your healthy cells. Much better than chemo or radiation, which cannot discern between healthy cells and cancer cells and kill them all.
        Eating fruit seeds with the WHOLE fruit is the safest way to consume, as it is how nature intended, and is perfectly safe.
        I stumbled on this post because I very much want to blend my seeds and pits into my smoothies and simply wanted to confirm that my vitamix could handle it. I used to buy bags of apricot seeds and grind them separately in a coffee grinder before adding them to smoothies, but really would prefer to throw the entire fruit in.

        • bd bd says:

          Erica, thanks for sharing your insight. There are many knowledgeable advocates of utilizing apricot seeds, although there is still plenty of debate over the “way nature intended” argument. But there is no question that your Vitamix can handle these seeds.

  32. Kyle says:

    Hi BD,

    Thanks for all of the great information! I was wondering what you had read/learned about the use of frozen vs. fresh foods. Is there a significant nutrient loss for frozen foods? If you know of any good articles I should look at, it would be great if you could post them! Thanks again!

    • bd bd says:

      Kyle, the nutritional content of frozen fruits and vegetables remains at whatever level it held when frozen. For this reason, sometimes frozen fruits and veggies can actually be more nutritious than “fresh,” if they were frozen relatively early in the harvesting process. With some “fresh” produce, it can sometimes be several days, if not weeks, from the time they were harvested until they actually reach your market. The actual freezing process itself does not diminish the nutritional value.

  33. robert says:

    After blending is there a desired time to drink before losing nutritional value?

    • bd bd says:

      Robert, yes! Immediately is best. Or, certainly refrigerate any unused juice/smoothie and consume asap. I usually don’t store mine for over 24 hrs.

  34. amaka says:

    What health benefits will I get if I blend all the part of water melon and consume it,and does it also help in achieving weight loss.

    • bd bd says:

      Amaka, in addition to the health benefits I mentioned in the article, ripe watermelon contains extremely high levels of lycopene, which studies have shown can be helpful as a fighter of heart disease and cancer preventative. It’s also a powerful antioxidant. I have no knowledge of it being effective for weight loss, however.

  35. I peel everything that I buy in any store including healthfood stores because of the wax coatings. Even organic produce has carnuba wax on it and I can’t fathom coating my intestines with an indigestible substance. I eat the skins on anything that I grow in my own garden, however, Hulda Clark recommended peeling apples to insure that you weren’t eating the brown spots that had patulin mold toxin in it. Tough call. Vitamin C helps to detoxify mold. I actually chew grapefruit seeds because I read that they use triclosan in grapefruit seed extracts.

  36. Mami says:

    Hello. My friend recently bought a juicer. I’ve been drinking vegetable/fruit smoothies I make with my personal blender, and asked why he chose a juicer over a blender. He said that blenders blend things so fast that vitamins actually break down, so blended drinks don’t have as much nutrients. My blender is not very high performance, and it leaves big enough pulps that I have to chew on (which I like). So I think I’m getting all the nutrients. But I am curious as to whether if it’s possible for a blender to break down vitamins. Any thoughts appreciated. Thank you.

    • bd bd says:

      Mami, I know of no evidence that suggests that just the speed of blending will adversely effect an ingredient’s nutritional content. Extended blending times of items blended on high speeds in high-performance blenders will lead to friction build-up and the resulting heat that is generated will gradually deteriorate nutrients. This effect is easily controlled, however, simply by monitoring blending times. If your blender leaves you with smoothies that contain “chewable” bits and pieces, then you almost certainly have not lost any nutritional value. However, you might not be benefitting from the maximum value of your fruits and vegetables.

      In the following article I point out some benefits of using a high-performance blenders. You might be especially interested in the section, “Health Benefits.”

      High-Performance Blenders: What’s the “Big Deal?”

      For the record, I am an advocate of juicing as well. I think both blending and juicing have a place in healthy diet.

  37. Jennifer says:

    You’re Awesome BD!

  38. Cole says:

    I was wondering why your body cannot break down food cell walls to a phytonutrient level ?

    • bd bd says:

      Cole, keep in mind I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist, but it is my understanding that several factors are involved, including a lack of good bacteria in the gut which aids in phytonutrient absorption, the presence of nutrient-inhibitors in one’s diet, and the body’s difficulty in breaking down cell-structure in plant-based foods, which can cause many nutrients to pass through the digestive tract unutilized. There have been studies that suggest a high-performance blender can assist with the break-down of the cell-structure of fruits and vegetables, making nutrients more readily available to the body.

  39. Riley Flynn says:

    When I was at Costco viewing the live demonstration they used strawberries and I found no trace of seeds in the smoothie. I ended buying the vitamix 5200. When I use strawberries the seeds are not breaking down. Is there a way to get the results I was shown at the demonstration?

    • bd bd says:

      Riley, the 5200 is more than capable of breaking down your strawberry seeds. I recommend a blending cycle of at least 40 seconds – perhaps longer – on the “High” setting. You may want to use some frozen ingredients (the strawberries would be fine) and/or ice in your smoothie to counter the friction generated by longer blending cycles. Also, keep in mind the quantity of strawberries used will affect the blending times required. Good luck!

  40. stephen says:

    i’ve read on a raw foods website(actually, on two) that the blender doesn’t actually get the amount of HP that is claimed by the companies, and that the blender needs at least 1500 watts of power to create the necessary friction of the blade to totally break down the cell walls.

    Can you tell me if this is correct?

    • bd bd says:

      Stephen, there has certainly been a lot of confusion over the listed horsepower ratings of these machines. Some were once advertised using their “peak” horsepower rating (a maximum horsepower output capable by the blender, but not one at which it would be expected to perform during regular usage). However, the listed wattage of a blender is generally a better indication of its power capability. I have not seen research specific to the 1500 watt threshold you mention, but there have been studies that show higher-horsepower blenders are capable of dramatically increased breakdown of the cell structure in fruits and vegetables when compared to blenders of lower power output capabilities. As these blenders continue to rise in popularity, I’m sure the research surrounding them will evolve as well. I will do my best to keep up with it as it emerges and share it here on the site.

  41. Chloe says:

    Would it be safe for the machine (Vitamix 5200) to put a whole avacado pit in? How to blend? Thanks.

    • bd bd says:

      Chloe, it is perfectly safe to put the pit of the avacado into the Vitamix. The blender will break it down very well, but it will change the texture, and possibly the flavor, of the recipe when incorporated with the rest of the ingredients you are using. You should keep this in mind when using the pit.

  1. [...] also wanted to make sure that I was note getting rid of vitamin packed portions of the ingredients. Blenderdude’s website gave me some good tips on what parts of the ingredients to keep for this type of shake. [...]

  2. [...]  O’Connor concludes that while there are many nutrients in the skin, skipping out won’t hurt. But, the Blender Dude goes against this, and proves how much someone can benefit from eating the WHOLE piece of fruit or vegetable.  [...]

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