A popular blender brand, Vitamix, claims that The 5200’s powerful blades pulverize the cell walls of whole fruits and vegetables, releasing the full nutrients found in the seeds and skin

They stop short of saying that the food is healthier, but they are clearly implying that nutrients are released that might not otherwise be. Many health oriented blogs do suggest that breaking down cell walls is important to extract the full nutrition from foods to release the nutrition and help your body to digest and absorb nutrients:


The more powerful the blender, the greater its ability to aid the body in releasing properties otherwise locked inside these particular cell walls should be. A blender delivering over 1 actual horsepower of mechanical energy should be strong enough to rupture an exponentially greater number of cells in our whole foods than a traditional household blender, releasing a greater percentage of phytonutrients ... A strong blender’s ability to rupture cell structure potentially yields a substantially greater increase in the percentage of phytonutrients into the bloodstream that would otherwise go unutilized.


the blades in these powerful machines hit your spinach, kale, bananas, almonds and everything else with a powerful force that literally explodes the cell walls of your ingredients, instantly releasing all the dense nutrients and flavors trapped inside. That would be hard for your stomach to do even if it wasn't already compromised by a lifetime of cooked, processed foods


The NutriBullet helps your system bypasses the “breaking down phase” in the stomach because the machine breaks apart the cell walls of the food you blend, so when you consume what you make, the phytonutrients, micronutrients, and other key nutrients and vitamins get into the blood stream in the fastest most efficient way possible.

Is there any truth to these claims? I assume that the digestive system is designed to break down these cell walls to absorb nutrients, so is there any value in doing it in a blender? (note that I'm not questioning the value of pulverizing hard to digest foods with a hard shell like Flax seeds, but "normal" fruits and vegetables).

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    Chewing also breaks down cell walls and makes plant matter more easily digestible. For someone with no teeth (for example, a baby) the blender will substitute. Perhaps in some cultures the mother will chew the food for the baby? – GEdgar Aug 24 '16 at 18:15

The release of carotenoids from plant foods occurs only when the cells in the fruit and vegetables matrix are disrupted, as is usually the case during food preparation, processing, and/or mastication, but not during digestion, at least in the human ileum (Hoffmann and others 1999; Hof and others 2000; van het Hof and others 2000; Edwards and others 2002; Faulks and Southon 2005). -- Paper

Since "healthiness" isn't a scientific term I can't comment on that but this clearly shows there are nutritious things behind cell walls which can't be extracted during digestion.

This article shows presence of β-carotene and other carotenoids inside the cell walls.

The conclusion is, of course, that one can do the same disruption by chewing. It's a question of how long one has to chew, some spinach studies below demonstrate that blender is much more efficient (time-wise) in disrupting the cells to subcellular levels.

Some evidence indicates that mechanical disruption is the critical component in increasing bioavailability, suggesting that we just need to chew better or find sources that yield more easily to mastication. ...

For example, while carrot contains over three times the phytoene of tomato per gram, tomato phytoene bioaccessibility is 20% higher than that of carrot. For equal benefit per serving, tomato phytoene content must only, therefore, be increased by 56%, a much more reasonable breeding goal than a threefold increase. -- Paper

Authors go on to discuss that the weaker the cell walls larger the bioaccessibility.

Here they show subcellular level of "graininess" for blending. The size is several micrometers (blending to juice-like texture should get us definitely below the 125 micrometers demonstrated below - as for how long you'd have to blend I believe some of these spinach studies claim 40 seconds but it obviously depends on the blender).

Here they show that absorption is increased twice the normal amount if spinach is chopped before meal.

This article probably concludes the story. It demonstrates that bioaccessibility increases severely by heating but blending seems to be better if done long enough to reduce the particle size below 125 micrometers (in the figure below it's black [raw] and given particle sizes).

Raw vs cooked vs heavily cooked for bioaccessibility of beta carotene

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