Everyone was told at a young age that fruit was good for you. It was one of the easier foods to eat, because it has a yummy crisp taste to it and most likely your parents didn’t have to bribe you to eat it.
If you were lucky like me growing up, you were able to pick the majority of the fruit you consumed from your or your neighbours’ backyard trees.
But why is it healthy? What exactly is in fruit that makes it not only blow your taste buds away, but also keep you healthy at a cellular level?
- Fibre – This little component helps keep you “regular” and can make the world a difference between you feeling like a bag of potatoes and feeling like you’ve got energy for days. You need both insoluble and soluble fibre to help keep your gut squeaky clean and your colon healthy. The Institute of Medicine recommends about 25g for women and about 38g for men ages 19-50 according to the based on a 2000 calorie diet. Personally, I consume around 1500 calories daily and take in about 25g of fibre each day to help keep my systems in tip-top shape. Sources not only include fruit (with the skin on if possible) but also vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, etc.
- Vitamins and Minerals– There are bazillion different types of vitamins and minerals in fruit but we’ll just stick to a few of the benefits to keep things simple. Vitamins and minerals help with all of the enzymatic reactions that occur in your body including but not limited to, growth and development, neurotransmitter synthesis, immune system maintenance, and the reduction of oxidative damage to your cells and organs caused by UV light, exercise, stress and much more. If you don’t have these, your body will not function properly.
- Phytochemicals– These cover a wide range of compounds that have been shown to be involved in the “anti’s” including anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidative to name a few. Phytochemicals have been studied and have shown to play a part in reducing the probability of disease including cardiovascular disease. An entire book could be written about phytochemicals (and there are several) but just know that they are incredibly good for you.
- Fructose and Glucose– Fruit contains both which are capable of being absorbed directly into the bloodstream to either be used by your muscles for energy or stored later as glycogen (storage form of glucose). Sugar can also be stored as fat but the likelihood of this happening with fruit sugar is minimal. If you were to store any sugar as fat, it would probably come from other sugar sources consumed that day.
With all of these benefits combined, you’d wonder why people aren’t consuming fruit more often than not. Fruit does have sugar in it and fruit isn’t a vital substance that you need in order to live (like air or water), but there is something to be said for the phenomenal benefits you get that are packed into such a tiny structure.
Also keep in mind that many “detrimental” effects that are said to occur are usually studied in the substances “free” form and not as a whole like how it exists in fruit.
I personally consume 1 cup of berries in the morning with my protein shake and have at least an apple or another cup of berries later on during the day. The rest of the day, I make sure to load up with vegetables and veggie “fruits” (tomatoes, avocados, etc.).