The sheer variety of fruits in any form-fresh, dry, juiced or frozen-to suit all tastes and their instant-snack status makes them a valuable addition to any meal plan; so much so that nutritionists recommend 1-2 ½ cups of fruit per day, depending on one’s daily calorie requirement. The healthiest choice is having fresh fruits, or frozen ones without added sweeteners. Here are a few other reasons to make fruit-eating a daily habit:
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They Are Full of Nutrients
Fruits are a natural source of various vitamins and vital nutrients required for efficient daily function and protection from numerous ailments. They are low in sodium, fat and calories, and possess important nutrients such as potassium that helps regulate blood pressure. Magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and vitamins A and E are also present in various fruits to provide additional health benefits.
No fruits contain cholesterol, in fact, dietary fiber in fruits assists in managing cholesterol levels. Fruits rich in fiber can induce feelings of fullness without an excess of calories, reducing the urge to consume unhealthy foods with a high-calorie intake.
The best way to consume fiber is eating a whole or cut-up fruit, since fruit juices rarely have fiber in them. Many fruits, such as strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupes, mango, papaya and kiwi are rich in Vitamin C; it not only prevents or improves the flu and the common cold, it also assists in the growth and repair of all body tissues, helping to heal wounds and cuts and keeping gums and teeth healthy.
They also lead to healthy bones and improved bone density, making them less prone to fractures. Fruits are rich in folic acid, which is essential in the formation of red blood cells. This is essential for pregnant women especially, so as to ensure healthy fetal development and prevent the onset of neural tube defects, spina bifida and anencephaly.
They Help Prevent Disease
Being rich in phytochemicals-natural plant chemical compounds-fruits are responsible for maintaining body cell health. Potassium rich fruit such as bananas not only help reduce blood pressure,but also prevent kidney stone development, while consuming fruits rich in folates during the 1st trimester of pregnancy has been known to prevent congenital neural tube defects. Other diseases that fruit consumption safeguards against include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Increased levels of anxiety
- Numerous Heart diseases
- Various forms of Cancer
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Bowel irregularity disorders
They Help Lose Weight
Excluding fruits like coconuts, avocados and olives, most have zero fat content and are low in calories, making them an excellent companion in weight loss and maintenance regimes. Watermelons, pears, apples, grapefruit and bananas have been proven to aid in losing weight; along with the seasonal ‘lychee’ which not only helps in cutting down excess fat, but is also an excellent laxative.
Fiber-rich fruits such as mangoes, bananas, apples and oranges keep the body’s metabolism in check, reducing indigestion, gastritis and constipation, and inducing the timely flushing out of toxins from the body.
They Supply Instant Energy
One thing common in the prescribed diets of athletes and pregnant women: fruits of different varieties in large amounts. Fruits provide instant energy, which is why bananas are a favorite for athletes and gymmers alike, who sometimes consume them during strenuous activity, or right after. Fruits are an extremely convenient and quick way to ensure we are consuming nutrients on the go in our busy schedules.
They Combat Acne
High pectin levels in apple skin and fibrous content in bananas aid in constipation control-a major acne trigger. Berries and grapes are excellent cleansers and also protect against skin disorders, whereas Papayas are good for skin rejuvenation and minor damage repair.
Fruits are usually high in water content, which is another reason regular consumption can lead to clear and glowing skin. As mentioned before, fruits assist in flushing out toxins, and this undoubtedly reflects on the skin.
They Make Your Hair Look Good
Eating fruit on an empty stomach will keep your hair from graying prematurely whereas vitamin A and C content in fruit can soften hair texture, increase its luster and also prevent hair loss. Vitamin C increases the production of collagen, which strengthens hair follicles and may lead to increased hair growth.
It also allows the effective absorption of iron from the body, which prevents the onset of anemia. Anemia is also linked to hair loss. Vitamin E also reduces hair loss, preventing oxidative stress and scalp damage. A healthier scalp in turns results in healthier hair follicles, increasing hair growth. Add a Rainbow To Your Plate:
Same colored foods generally have similar health-boosting properties. Add a wide variety of fruits to your daily diet from the following color groups to reap maximum health benefits:
- Red: Watermelons and Pomegranates to fight heart disease and prostate cancer.
- Yellow & Orange: Lemons and Yellow Apples for asthma, cataract and arthritis prevention among others.
- Green: Limes for age-related eye disease prevention.
- Blue & Purple: Blueberries, Plums, Purple Grapes and Blackcurrants to maintain memory functions and fight cancer.
Healthy eating habits can keep a multitude of chronic illnesses at bay. Consult a professional to see which fruits are right for you. Book an Appointment with a top Dietitian in Islamabad, Karachi and Multan through oladoc.com. Or call our helpline at 042 3890 0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor to care for your dietary needs.