Most of us have busy lives. Between kids, work, and socializing on the weekend, we don’t always have much time to dedicate to eating healthy. One thing that lots of people like to do is make their own smoothies.
But is it possible to make a smoothie and store it in your refrigerator for drinking the next day? In other words: do smoothies lose nutrients overnight?
Do Smoothies Lose Nutrients Overnight?
A smoothie won’t lose all it’s nutrients overnight, but it will lose some. You can happily make a smoothie one night, store it, and then drink it the next morning on an empty stomach for maximum refreshment and nutrient absorption. Having said that, the answer can be a bit more complex than that and does largely depend on the method of storage and time.
Do You Have to Drink a Smoothie Right Away?
Most of us have been told time that we should make a smoothie and then drink it right away. This is supposed to give us the best chance at absorbing all of the nutrients. However, that’s not the whole story.
A smoothie’s nutrients will degrade with time under the right conditions. The real culprit is oxygen.
As the smoothie is exposed to the air, the process of oxidation takes place. This will spoil the ingredients in your smoothie and degrade the nutrient content. So how can you battle this process?
There are a few things that you can do as soon as your smoothie is ready in order to slow down the oxidation process and preserve most of the nutrients. Here are some tips:
1. The Container Is Important
In order to slow down the oxidation process, you need to stop as much air getting to the smoothie as possible. The best way to do this is to use airtight containers.
Ideally, a clear glass container with a nice airtight lid is a great way to store your smoothies for optimal nutrition. The clear glass also allows you to keep an eye on the state of the smoothie and whether there is any problem with spoilage.
One thing to remember is to make sure that you fill the airtight container right up to the brim when possible. This ensures that very little air is left inside the container when sealed to cause oxidation of your smoothie.
2. Refrigeration Is Your Friend
If you don’t want to drink your smoothie right away, make sure that you put the airtight container in the refrigerator. This slows down the oxidation process, helps to preserve the nutritional content of the smoothie, and also slows down spoilage.
3. Add Some More Citrus
If you want to really make sure that your smoothie is preserved for as long as possible, you can add some lemon or lime juice to it. The extra kick of vitamin C in these juices will help to prevent oxidation. This is the same reason why people add citrus to guacamole.
How Long Before a Smoothie Losses Nutrients?
The rule of thumb is that the average smoothie will last outside of a refrigerator for around four hours before the nutritional content degrades rapidly enough that it will not be as beneficial to your health.
If you follow all the advice to put it into an airtight container and refrigerate it, you can expect it to preserve maximum nutritional content for about 24 hours.
You can still drink it after this time but it will not be as fresh and will slowly lose nutritional content. Of course, even drinking a 24-hour-old smoothie is still going to be more nutritious than so many other drinks or foods that you could have.
Smoothies are great for your health and contain plenty of nutrients. While you don’t have to drink them right away, you do need to store them properly and refrigerate them for maximum health benefit.
Always use an airtight container and fill it right up to the brim, add some lime or lemon juice to help prevent rapid oxidation, and always store it in the fridge. Just remember to drink it within 24 hours if you can.