Eating fruit as part of your daily diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and some cancers. Also, fruit contains a great variety of vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates and fiber.
So, eating the right combinations of fruit is particularly good for you. For instance, an apple is high in fiber but low in vitamin C, but if you add an orange and some strawberries, then you will get all the vitamin C you need for that day. Here are some easy-to-follow suggestions to get more fruit into your diet and to improve your overall well-being.
1. Consume 5 portions of fruit a day. Many countries have national or regional programs in place to encourage everyone to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day (and often more). See “External Links” for a guide to portion sizes. A glass of fruit juice counts as one portion, but drinking five glasses will still count as just one portion. If you aim for about a third of your diet to be made up of fruit and vegetables, then you’re well on your way to a healthy diet.
2. Use fruit for snacking. Fruit is the perfect food for on-the-go and can easily replace biscuits, cakes and chocolate as your snack of choice. Fatty and high sugar snacks are low on essential vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre and can lead to poor digestive health. So keep some fruit in your car, in your bag or on the desk at work to dip into to beat those mid-morning, or mid-afternoon energy lows.
3. Have fruit for breakfast. Adding sliced banana to your cereal or dried fruit to your porridge (oatmeal), or whipping up a fresh fruit salad are all brilliant ways to brighten up breakfast. Grabbing a handful of blueberries and raspberries can be extremely beneficial, as apart from the usual benefits of fruit, they also contain antioxidants which reduce DNA damage. This includes things such as slowing down the skin’s ageing process, and helping to prevent skin damage from the sun; a good start to any day.
4. Try a fruit shake for breakfast. Throw a fresh banana, some frozen mixed fruit, yogurt, and fruit juice in a blender and mix until smooth. Voila! A quick healthy meal on the go.
5. Try eating 5 a day for a week. See just how good it makes you feel.
6. Try one new fruit per week. You may find that you like exotic fruits, also. If you have a food co-op or farmer’s market, the people selling the food often know how to prepare it and may give you a sample. If you have more fruits you like, it’s easier to eat 5 a day and easier to find good fruits in more seasons.
7. Eat your favorite fruit within 20 minutes of waking up. Your body goes into starvation for almost 8 hours during sleep. Eating fruit within 20 minutes of waking up rehydrates your body and furnishes it with low GI carbohydrates that keep your metabolism fired up throughout the day.
8. Buy yummy fruits. Mangoes and fresh pineapple are a whole lot more exciting than the usual apple or banana. When you see an interesting fruit, you will be more inclined to eat it instead of the nachos you were thinking about.
9. Start with small goals you can achieve easily. Then set larger goals as you go. For example, you might want to start by eating one extra serving of fruit a day. When you have achieved that goal, your next goal could be to include an extra serving of fruit at most meals.
10. Be careful of fruit labels. Lots of food manufacturers are keen to push the fruit content in their food, so as to make you think that the food is great for you. But be careful; not everything with ‘fruit’ in the title is as it seems. Remember to check the frozen fruit desserts for their fat and sugar contents. Canned fruit in fruit juice is usually fine, but beware of tinned fruit in syrup, as the syrup can be full of sugar.