Why Eat Fruit

Researchers at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only 13 percent of people who live in the United States eat one and a half to two cups of fruit daily as the federal dietary guidelines recommend. Yet fruit works wonders for your health in so many ways. For example, fruit has unparalleled benefits for stroke prevention. In a meta-analysis of seven population studies, each additional daily serving decreased the risk of stroke by 11 percent. Fruit also protects against heart attack and improves lung function by dampening inflammation in the body. This is especially important for those who have asthma or emphysema.

Eating more fruit (and vegetables) may also be the secret to maintaining your natural, youthful beauty, according to a study from the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland, where higher intakes were correlated with measureable differences in skin tone and increased ratings of attractiveness by others.

How much?

At least two servings daily is advised, but more is better (for example, one serving is one apple or two plums or one and a half tablespoons of raisins). Variety is also important. Different fruits are rich in different nutrients.

And don’t skip on fruit if you’re trying to lose weight or have diabetes. A clinical study published in Nutrition Journal found that people who ate at least two pieces of fruit per day over a three month period did not experience any more negative effects on their average blood sugar than those who ate no more than two pieces per day. The researchers also recommended that fruit should not be restricted in people with diabetes. They should just spread it out over the day and eat it whole, not juiced.

Which kinds?

All fruits are beneficial, not just the exotic ones. Buy what’s in season to get the best flavor and value.

Fresh, frozen, or dried fruit also counts. Eating fruit almost exclusively after a main meal is a traditional Mediterranean custom.

Buy organic where possible, and keep the skin on. Research shows that an apple with its skin intact blocks cancer cell growth more powerfully because there are more phytonutrients in the skin than in the flesh.

Citrus fruits may be particularly good to fight cancer, whereas berries seem ideal for diabetes and preventing dementia.

So eat up, and enjoy the multiple benefits of these, nature’s natural health foods. 

Food Matters

by Sue Radd
  
From the July 2017 Signs