Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Fruit - Fact or Fictions

Fruit seems to be an all or nothing principal lately so it’s high time we cleared some myths and got down to the facts.

What foods are considered common fruits?

Acai berries, Apple, Apricots, Avocado, Banana, Blackberry, Blueberries , Cherries, Coconut, Cranberry, Cucumber, Dates, Fig, Goji berries, Grapefruit, Grapes, Kiwi, Lemon, Lime, Lychee , Mango, Melon, Nectarine, Orange, Papaya, Passion Fruit, Peach, Pear, Pineapple, Plum, Pomegranate, Prunes, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangerine, Tomato, Watermelon.

What are the health benefits of having fruit?

Fruits are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, water and fibre. They are naturally low in fat and in calories. Fruit can reduce of the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, weight gain, bone loss, kidney disease. It can help fuel your body for exercise and to maintain a healthy weight and body shape.

What are the best fruits to have?

Each fruit has their own health benefits and a wide variety is important for optimum health. There is no one fruit that is better than another however some of the more ‘superior’ fruits because of their concentration of nutrients and antioxidants are:

·         Blueberries = antioxidants and vitamin C
·         Banana = starchy carbs and potassium
·         Grapes = resveratrol
·         Avocado = fibre, vitamin E and folate
·         Goji Berri = antioxidants and vitamin A
·         Kiwi fruit = vitamin A, E, magnesium and potassium
·         Pineapple = bromleain

When should I eat fruit?

Ideally at the beginning of the day to fuel your body and brain for the day as well as around your exercise. Fruit is fantastic source of carbohydrate for fuel for example if you are planning to go for a run in the evening ensure you have some fruit with protein at your afternoon tea.

Avoid eating fruit on its own to prevent spikes in your blood sugar levels, as well as late at night after dinner as that is when you are least active and will shortly retire to bed.  

Can you have too much fruit?
Yes. You can have too much of anything. Too much of any food whether it’s deemed ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for you can cause health concerns. For example too many carrots in your diet will cause your skin to have an orange pigment, just as too much tuna in your diet can lead to mercury poisoning and too much potato chips in your diet will increase your salt intake thus water retention, your blood pressure and puts you at greater risk for stroke and heart disease. 

Too much fruit in your diet can lead to lack of intake of other essential foods leading to displaced nutrients. What this means is you are consuming a more carbohydrate rich food which is low in essential fatty acids, heme-iron, calcium and protein. Too much carbohydrate intake and too little activity can lead to weight gain. It can also cause a disruption in your digestive system leading to an increased instance of diarrhoea, bloating, cramp and gas. It can also lead to elevated blood glucose levels and for those with insulin resistance concerns (diabetes, PCOS) can cause damage the blood vessels that supply vital organs increasing risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, vision problems as well as nerve problems. 

If I am insulin resistant can I have fruit?

Absolutely. But limit yourself to about 2 pieces per day and be sure to team it with a slow release nutrient such a protein to avoid the glucose spike. An example would be a piece of fruit with some nuts and seeds

How much fruit should I have?

For the average person 2-3 pieces of fruit per day will suffice. 
·         Fruit with your morning oats and LSA
·         A piece of fruit and with some nuts as a snack
·         Some avocado in your chicken and salad for lunch

What if you don’t have fruit in your diet – are they health implications? 

Here is a list of possible health outcomes by removing fruit from your diet
·         Nutrient deficiency
·         Poor immunity
·         Poor wound healing
·         Poor eye health
·         More free radical damage (aging, cancer etc.)
·         Poor blood clotting
·         Poor digestion
·         High cholesterol
·         Fluid retention
·         Poor weight management
·         Increased risk of cardiovascular concerns
·         And so on.

Can I have fruit juice instead of the whole fruit?

Not all fruit juices are created equal.  Fresh with pulp is always best. Without the skin & pulp you are missing fibre and a lot of the vitamins. What you also need to consider is to make the 250ml glass of orange juice it takes roughly oranges. Whilst it is the nutrients of oranges it is also the sugar of 5 oranges. Try to have a mix of fruit and vegetable juice and always team it with some protein (i.e. protein powder, nuts etc.)

For more information on getting a balance of fruit in your diet simply contact us at admin@naednutrition.com.au