Fruits are considered to be a vital part of our daily diet. It is now widely documented that you must include fruits in order to maintain a healthy diet. As a minimum, from two serves of fruit a day, up to five serves, is acceptable.
These are some of the great benefits that fruit have to offer: they are a great source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre; they are low in calories, contain natural sugars, and in their raw state they offer more nutrients and can help to prevent many diseases or even cancers. There are many ways to include fruit into your daily eating via breakfast, snacks, desserts, juices, smoothies and salads. When fruit is eaten in its natural state (raw), it provides more nutrients to your body, and the essential enzymes and vitamins are not destroyed by heat through the cooking process. So try an apple instead of an apple pie.
As fruits are sweet and contain fructose (natural fruit sugars) they can help you to satisfy a sugar craving without the unwanted empty calories that other sweet products contain. Fruits also have a high fibre content which is essential in your daily diet for maintaining a healthy and efficient digestive system. Most of the fibre in fruits can be found in the skin, so where possible don’t always peel off or throw away the skin. It is also better to consume the fruit as a whole instead of juices. Although they may seem healthy and delicious, there are usually a lot of calories in juices and if they are packaged from the supermarket they may not be all natural. You want to make sure that the juice is 100% fruit juice, and not to over-consume them as they can lead to weight gain, tooth decay and digestive problems.
Dried fruit can be eaten as part of your daily fruit serves, but here are a few things to be mindful of. Because they are dehydrated, the nutrients are concentrated in the fruits; therefore, they may be packed full of nutrients, but also have more calories. So you should only need a small serve to obtain the equivalent nutritional value compared to whole fruit.
Different fruits offer different nutritional benefits; here are a few examples.
Pineapple is high in the enzyme bromelain as well as the minerals potassium and calcium, which aid digestion, reduce inflammation & arthritis, help in skin conditions, are great for bone and teeth health, and can help in heart disease and assist in weight control.
Blueberries are high in antioxidants and are considered a super fruit. They can help prevent urinary tract infections, are low GI (great for diabetics), great for heart health due to high levels of antioxidants, and are high in silicon, which is great for your hair and nail growth and can assist in weight loss.
Figs are an unusual fruit and not overly popular, however they have many health benefits you may not be aware of, such as relieving constipation, lowering cholesterol and assisting in weight loss due to its high fibre content, preventing heart disease and diabetes and even some forms of cancer, and maintaining your digestive system.
As you can see, fruits are rich in different vitamins and minerals, which is why it is important to eat a variety of fresh fruits daily, not just apples and oranges, to obtain the maximum benefits for your diet.