Do Smoothies Lose Nutrients Overnight?
Being human is a busy job, and we all like to make things simpler for ourselves. Often this means spending evenings on meal prep for the next day. If you’re a smoothie enthusiast, you’re probably wondering if you can make one the night before without losing all the vital nutrients you’re aiming to put in your body. The short answer is yes, but it isn’t exactly straightforward. It depends largely upon the way you store it and what ingredients you’ve used. This guide should help you determine how you can make smoothies ahead of time without losing too much of their vitality.
When food cells are split open in your blender, they are exposed to oxygen. Oxygen is the catalyst for the breakdown of those cells, including vitamins and other nutrients. In other words, oxygen exposure causes oxidization, which spells the beginning of the spoilage process.
Keeping It Fresh
The secret to slowing the oxidization process is three-fold:
- Add antioxidants like citric acid to your smoothie. You can find high amounts of citric acid in lemon or lime juice.
- Store your smoothie in an airtight container and fill the container to the brim so there’s no room for oxygen to be trapped inside.
- Keep it refrigerated. This is probably the most crucial step to slowing down the spoiling process.
While these steps won’t keep your smoothie fresh forever, if you follow them, you can probably stretch your smoothie’s shelf life to around 24 hours.
About Shelf Life
If you don’t follow the brief tips above, you can expect to save your smoothie for about 12 hours in the refrigerator or a maximum of four hours out of the refrigerator. For your safety and health, though, you should always keep the unused portion of your smoothie properly refrigerated. If you follow the above steps and stretch your shelf life, don’t feel like you’ve hit a drinkability wall at 24 hours. Your smoothie may still be perfectly portable, but its nutrients will continue to diminish the longer it sits. That doesn’t mean it’ll be worthless—a day-old smoothie is still more nutritious than the typical processed cereals or loaves of bread many of us eat for breakfast. For best results and to protect your health, however, make sure to smell and taste your smoothie before consuming it to make sure it isn’t spoiled.
Yes, your smoothie will lose nutrients overnight. This doesn’t mean disaster, however. If you follow the tips above to keep your smoothie fresh, you’ll still get a healthy kick of essential vitamins and minerals. Just remember not to store it too long, and be sure to test it before you drink it. If your smoothie looks brown or smells rotten in any way, it’s probably time to throw it out.
Feature Image Credit: MarcoPhotoGarcia, Shutterstock