By Lauren Denos: 12/8/2015 (Nutrition)

Fruit is a great sweet treat and many people can eat plenty of fruit all day long. If you are someone who has a major sweet tooth and are looking to cut the refined sugar out of your diet, fruit is a great way to do that without the sugar withdrawals. Our bodies get used to having the instant energy that refined sugar provides. Luckily, fruit can give us the same instant energy, but with more nutrients. Did you know that refined sugar has had its vitamins and minerals stripped from it during processing, and because of this, sugar leaches the vitamins and minerals it lost from your system in order to process in your body? When you eat fruit, it has all of its vitamins intact, so no leaching is necessary.

There are pros and cons to fruit. Fruit, although natural, is still very high in sugar. If you have blood sugar issues, be careful of how much fruit you consume and what kinds. You may want to stay with fruit that is lower on the glycemic scale, and perhaps limit your fruit intake to no more than one or two pieces a day. In addition, you can add protein or fat with your fruit so that it slows down how fast it processes. People who do food combining say that we should eat fruit alone due to how fast it digests in the systems, but with certain people having the protein can keep the system more balanced. Especially with blood sugar problems, you do not want the fruit to shoot through your system too fast, which is why we add protein to it.

Why should you grab a piece of fruit for your sweet snack instead of a candy bar? Well, obviously there is generally less fat than most candy and less unnatural sugar, but also a host of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

Look at these fruit choices (per 100 grams):

Vitamin C:

  • West Indian cherry (also known as Acerola) has 1677mg

  • Guavas have 228mg

  • Currants 181mg

  • Kiwi fruit 93mg

  • Lychee fruit 71mg

  • Orange 59mg

  • Strawberries 59mg

Okay, so maybe the acerola won't be easy to find, but it is so high in Vitamin C that it had to be added to the list!

Or let's look at potassium:

  • 1 medium Plantain 893 mg

  • 1 medium papaya 781mg

  • 1 cup of cantaloupe 494 mg

  • 1 medium kiwi fruit 252mg

  • 1 cup of bananas 594mg

Dried fruit:

  • 1 cup of dried prunes 828mg

  • 1 cup of raisins 1089mg

  • 10 dried apricot halves 407mg

Now, dried fruit has a lot of potassium, but dried fruit has so much more concentrated sugar, that you are better off eating the whole fruit sources instead.

There is even calcium to be found in your fruit snack! (100 gram servings)

  • Apples 232mg

  • Lime 220mg

  • Orange 40mg

  • Kumquats 62mg

  • Prickly pears 56mg

  • Kiwi 34 mg

  • 2 dried figs 65mg

Did we mention fiber? There is a ton of fiber in fruits. If that was not enough to tilt you over the edge of making fruit your regular sweet snack, check out all the added benefits that comes with different colors of fruit available.

Eat different colors!

Different colors of fruits have different phenolic compounds in them. Phenolic compounds are what gives plants their beautiful colors, but more importantly they are very important to our health.

You should aim to eat as big of a variety of colors of fruits as possible. Now, explaining the nutrients of each specific color and the different fruits within that category can be very long winded and detailed, so we are going to look at a shortened version of this information.

We will break these down into Reds, Purples and Blues, Yellow and Orange, White and Green. Some of the Phenolic compounds cross over into multiple groups and they are all important for different things. Let’s go over these:


Reds

Examples - Guavas, Watermelon, Papaya, Grapefruit, Cranberries, Pomegranate, Cherries, Red Grapes.

Red fruits contain Lycopene, Quercetin and anthocyanins

Lycopene has been said to help protect against prostate and many other types of cancer -- some research suggests that lycopene may even help with infertility by increasing sperm in men. It helps diabetes, and is known as an eye protector since it helps prevent the eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts. Lycopene also works as an internal sunscreen, and helps again osteoporosis.



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-Lauren