Dec 8th, 2012
Author: Avadean Lewis
Most of us need to eat more fruit. In fact, only about 29 percent of men and 36 percent of women consume the recommended two or more fruit servings per day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Eating more fruit can be an especially motivating focus because you get to eat more of something delicious rather than restrict your intake. Keep in mind that fruit canned in its own juice counts, as does drinking 100 percent fruit juice. However, juices don’t provide the fiber or feeling of fullness that whole fruits do. Most of your fruit servings should be whole fruits.
Fruits are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, helping fight heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases. Research shows that eating a variety of produce provides even better protection against disease by reducing oxidation, a chemical process that causes damage and deterioration in the body. (Think of a freshly sliced apple turning brown; that’s an example of oxidation, and scientists believe this reaction initiates disease). So branch out from your usual apples, bananas, and oranges and mix in some apricots, dates, kiwis, and persimmons.
Fruits are filled with water and fiber therefore promotes fullness, helping you cut calories without even trying. Oranges, for instance, are 88 percent water, and apples and pineapples are 85 percent water! (Watermelon, not surprisingly, is 95 percent water.) Research suggests that people who eat the most fruit have lower BMIs that those who eat little fruit.
- Add sliced banana or berries to your breakfast cereal or oatmeal. Stirring microwaved frozen berries into oatmeal is a great off-season way to maintain your fruit intake.
- Toss fruit into your salad. In a spinach or dark green salad, try strawberries, blood oranges, pink grapefruit, cherries, or figs. In field greens or romaine, go with pineapple, mango, apples, pears, plums, or pomegranates.
- Make a fruit smoothie for breakfast or a snack. Blend a small fresh or frozen sliced banana and/or 1 cup of frozen berries with 1 cup of skim or soy milk. Keep sliced frozen bananas in the freezer.
- Substitute a baked apple or baked pear for a sugary dessert. Instead of indulging in 1 cup of ice cream for dessert, eat a 1/2 cup topped with 1 cup berries, cherries, or sliced peaches.