According to the USDA’s latest guidelines concerning nutrition, half our plate should be comprised of fruits and vegetables at each meal. While suggested daily servings of fruits is 2 cups and vegetables is 2 ½ cups, Americans are currently consuming a dismal 1 cup of fruits and ½ cup of vegetables – less than half the recommended amount. The CDC reports that only about ten per cent of Americans reach the recommended daily consumption for fruits and vegetables. Why do you think that is?
For most Americans, processed foods are crowding their plate, and many people state that they just don’t like vegetables. Fruit is a different story and the one we’re focusing on in this article. Many people say they love fruit but are afraid to eat it. Afraid? Of fruit? Seriously? As it turns out, there’s a nasty little rumor going around about fruit that I’d like to clear up in this health post. Many people have been told, and they believe, that eating fruit makes you fat.
I get the reasoning behind the fear. Fruit has sugar, and we’ve been told that too much sugar can cause us to gain weight, and that’s true. However, whole fruit has so much more to offer than just sugar. Fruit also contains fiber, nutrients, and phytochemicals that promote good health and a normal weight. Research has consistently shown that many fruits have anti-obesity effects, and many health organizations are now recommending fruit consumption for weight loss. Keep reading to find out the protective powers contained in whole fruits that go far beyond weight control.
Fruits offer strong protection against many cancers, including lung, prostate, pancreatic, oral, and esophageal. In fact, studies show that fruit is the number one food associated with a lowered mortality from every type of cancer COMBINED.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. One of the things that can lead to heart attack or stroke is high blood pressure. Higher levels of fruit consumption is associated with lower blood pressure.
“If the truth be known coronary artery disease is a toothless paper tiger that need never, ever exist and if it does exist it need never, ever progress.” Dr. Calwell Esselstyn
The phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals in fruit help to promote firm, youthful skin through better collagen production. Fruit also helps to keep the skin hydrated, and the more moisture our skin retains, the fewer fine lines and wrinkles are visible. Because the components in fruits fight free-radical damage, skin doesn’t wrinkle as easily. In addition to protecting the skin, whole fruit consumption helps our brains to age better as well.
We need 25-30 of fiber each day, but the typical American only gets about 15 grams. Fruits are rich in fiber which slows the absorption of glucose into the blood, regulates bowel movements, lowers cholesterol, and feeds healthy gut bacteria. Diets rich in fiber are known to be protective against cancer and heart disease. It should be noted that the fiber from whole fruits gives more protection than fiber added to food products to boost their fiber content, so get your fiber from real, whole fruits.
“The reason fiber helps us control our weight is that it fills the belly yet yields few calories since fiber is, for the most part, not something that we can digest.” Kathy Freston
Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, or plant-derived chemicals, that sweep toxins from cells, prevent damage to the cells’ DNA, and protect our blood vessels from damage. Scientists have found more than 10,000 different phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables!
I could go on and on about the benefits of fruit, but I think I’ve made my point. Long story short, eat more fruit! As you can see, whole fruits have so many health promoting benefits. Plus, they tasted great and are satisfying. A couple of words of caution: Notice how many times I said “whole” fruit in the article? That’s because the benefits mentioned above are from whole fruit, not fruit juice, and not from products sweetened with fruit juice or fruit sugar. Start today enjoying the sweet taste and even sweeter benefits of whole fruit. Please stop by my Facebook page facebook.com/loriclarkfitness and tell me what your favorite fruit is and how many servings of fruit you eat each day. Thanks for reading, and keep eating the rainbow!