Nutrition-wise blog

Safe juicing and blending

By Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. May 14, 2013

Juicing fruits and vegetables has become popular among health and fitness buffs. However, some people must juice — or blend — foods because they have medical problems that prevent them from eating solid foods. These problems may include tooth extraction or jaw trauma, diseases, cancer treatment, or obstructions or surgeries that inhibit chewing, swallowing, digesting and absorbing solid foods.

If you're following a liquefied diet because of a medical problems, consult your physician or a registered dietitian about what foods you can and can't have. In some cases, commercially prepared liquid meal replacements may be indicated.

Here are some key points to remember for safe juicing and blending:

  • Nutritional completeness. If you're relying on liquified foods in place of meals, you need to ensure that what you're drinking replaces those meals nutritionally. This is especially true when you have a medical condition that changes your nutritional needs. The longer you need to follow a liquid diet, the more importance it is that what you juice or blend is nutritionally sound.
  • Food safety. Make sure that everything you juice or blend is free from contamination. Raw vegetables and fresh fruit should be cleaned or precooked. Meats, poultry and fish should be cooked to proper temperatures before blending. Very young children, pregnant women, older adults and those with medical problems that weaken the immune systems are at the most risk for food poisoning. They should avoid unpasteurized milk and juices, raw eggs (eggs pasteurized in the shell are OK), and raw meat, fish and poultry. Some medical conditions, such as cancer or organ transplant, will require more stringent food restrictions.
  • Equipment. The ideal juicer or blender will include the pulp for consumption. Equipment should be easy to clean. Bits and grits of lodged food will grow bacteria. Ideally the equipment can go into a dishwasher for sanitizing, or be easily scrubbed.
  • Quantity. Blend only what you can consume at one meal. If you make more, refrigerate what you don't consume in clean covered containers. Use within 24 hours or discard.
  • Technique. Fill the juicer or blender only one-third to one-half full and process on low speed to prevent overflow. Important: Hot foods cause steam. Hot splashes may come through the feeder slot — or the lid may lift off. Vent the lid or feeder slot to allow steam to escape — cover the space with a clean towel to protect your hands from splashes.

- Jennifer

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May. 14, 2013