Discover The Value of Fruit

 

 


apple

Now that we know the new four food groups (grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables), it is quite clear that fruits have a big role to play.  Unlike in the old food group, where fruits and vegetables were lumped together in one category, now fruits take more of a center stage.

Fruits have much to offer in your diet.  Not only do fruits provide outstanding flavor and color, but they also have significant nutrition to offer.   Most fruits are overflowing with valuable vitamins that your body needs.

The Scientific Story Of Fruits

We all know that fruits taste sweet. But is this a sweetness that is good for us?  I am sure you have run across much conflicting information on this issue.  For, some fad diets I am aware of forbid you to have any fruit at all – or only on very rare occasions.  Let’s get to the truth of the matter.

Fruits contain most of their sugars in the simple form as sucrose, glucose, or fructose.  These ‘simple sugars’, as they are called in the scientific world, are exactly what gives the sweet taste.

How To Understand The Role Of ‘Sugar’

The sweetness of fruit is to be distinguished from the ‘refined sugars’ that are found in so many desserts, cookies, pastries and ice cream.  There is no way to compare the two.  The simple sugars in fruit provide natural sweetness.  The sweetness of refined sugars is highly processed.  The way your body absorbs and responds to the two types of sugar is radically different.

Without getting too technical, the ‘glycemic index’ is what we scientists use to measure the body’s response to sugar.  To be most healthy, you want to consume foods that have a lower glycemic index — which means that the food produces a lower ‘spike’ in your blood sugar.  This lower spike of blood sugar causes a lower release of insulin.  This ‘low-low situation’ is ideal.  What often happens, though, is if someone eats a cookie which then causes a big spike in blood sugar.  This big spike requires the body to release a lot of insulin to get blood sugar back down to a normal level.  This ‘big up-big down’ ‘scenario’ causes lots of harm to the body over time.  If this happens very frequently, over many years, you could be on the track to develop diabetes.  And, you certainly don’t want that!

Generally speaking, the natural simple sugars have a lower glycemic index than the processed refined sugars.  So, eating fruits is NOT something that you  need to avoid.  In some cases, you may want to reduce your intake to one to three times a day – but, certainly you would never want to eliminate healthy fruit from your diet.

Nutrition Value Of Fruit

Fruits have plenty of calories for your body’s energy needs.  As mentioned, they are also generously supplied with vitamins.  Fiber is another excellent quality that fruit offers.  While this may not seem obvious to you, many fruits actually have adequate amounts of protein, minerals, and essential fats.  In fact, these fruits can be considered excellent and nutritionally complete foods.  Fruits can be a wonderful addition to any starch-centered meal.  They can also be excellent snacks or desserts, too.

Categories Of Fruits

There are two main categories of fruits – Citrus and Non-citrus.  Here are examples of each group:

Citrus Fruits

Citrus Fruits

Non-Citrus Fruits

Non-Citrus Fruits

As you can see, this list is quite varied indeed.  Many people don’t think of tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados, and olives as fruits – but they are.  The only thing to be cautious about is the avocado and olives are very high in fat content.  If you are following my recommendation for a diet composed of 10% fat, you will only very rarely eat olives or avocados.

It is also important to note that while dried fruit is an option, it is far better to consume the natural fruit.  Dried fruits are very calorie dense, so it is easy to consume far more calories before your body sends your mind the message that you are full.  The high water content that is inherent to fruit helps provide this full sensation quite naturally.

Summary

So, there you have it.  Fruits are wonderfully delicious, loaded with nutrition, and come in a delightful array of colors and flavors.  Knowing that you can eat a wide variety of fruits when you like – without overdoing it – is heart-warming news.  Say goodbye to the fallacies of the fad diets and welcome the many healthy benefits of fruit into your diet.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Portable Greenhouse September 11, 2010 at 3:24 am

Thanks for the post. I am always looking for ways to improve my gardening and cooking skills. My family loves eating real food.

Janet Bruno MD September 18, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Hi Portable Greenhouse,

Thanks for your comment. It is AWESOME to hear that you are someone who enjoys gardening and healthy cooking. Our world needs more people like you! 🙂

Here’s to your ever-increasing health!

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Janet Bruno MD November 17, 2010 at 7:24 pm

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