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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fruits: the Natural Frenemy?

I am a self-proclaimed fruit addict and I am proud. And because of this, I will continually defend fruit whenever people bash it. I've noticed a lot of controversy lately over how healthy fruit really is for you, and I just wanted to explain why I personally eat at least one piece every day.

First, I would like to say that according to MyPlate (the new food pyramid if you can't keep up with the ever-changing name of our national nutritional guidelines) states that we need to have 2-3 servings of fruit everyday. To see exactly how much fruit is recommended for you, you can visit this website.

As for myself, I eat a piece of fruit everyday, regardless. I love fruit and everything about it, from the way it tastes, looks and the benefits.
Fruits are loaded down with essential nutrients like potassium, folate/folic acid, and vitamin C, and they also have a lot of fiber, which is important for proper bowel functions, and can also reduce the risk of heart disease while lowering cholesterol levels. Not only that, but fruits can help prevent certain types of cancers, as well as reduce the risk of Type II Diabetes.
Fruit is also what is called a "nutrient-dense" food, meaning that the ratio of nutrients to calories is high. You want to (obviously) consume more foods like this, because it's essentially getting more bang for your buck. Fruits will also leave you feeling fuller longer, which is just an added benefit that will lower your caloric intake.

A major concern for people who consider fruit bad is the sugar content. People freak out, and compare fruits to soda and candy, whenever in reality, it isn't the same. The fructose that is in fruit is okay. I promise. The way that our bodies digest fruit is not the same as it would if you were to eat a candy bar. Fruit is digested slower, therefore the sugar is released slower, and your body can react accordingly and healthier to this sugar versus candy or soda.
I would also like to say that as far as sugar content goes, I need it! I don't mean I want to inhale a bunch of Kit-Kats and Coke though, but I do know that I've noticed for me personally, when I skip out on fruits, my body feels weird. I feel less alert and like I'm in a bit of a fog.
Our bodies need sugar. Just make sure it's the healthy kind.

No matter your feelings towards nature's little gems, let's be realistic here. Would you rather get your vitamin C from a pill or from an orange? Would you rather get fiber from Metamucil or an apple? Supplements do not equal natural, and if you're trying to truly be healthy, then keep the supplements minimum (which is a whole different post in itself). Fruits have great benefits that are unique to themselves, and are the way that nature gives us candy... how can we say no?

With that being said, I also want to add that fruit juices do not count as a serving of fruit (even if they claim to be 100% real fruit juice or have the serving of fruit in them). While these are okay in moderation, they have a lot of added sugar, which we are trying to avoid.

Now go make a fruit salad :)
xo - Paige