This is a question that comes up a lot. But ever since I can remember, we have been told to always eat our fruits and veggies. So, what gives? Has fruit now been given the boot or fallen victim to the latest food phobias? Fruit is often written off as having “too much sugar” but this is not a food to be overlooked.
While fruit does contain natural sugar, it also contains a host of other beneficial properties, such as water, vitamins, minerals, fiber and even phytonutrients, which protect our body against disease. Only plants contain anything close to this combination of beneficial properties; animal foods do not contain fiber (unless added artificially) or phytonutrients. You have probably heard the buzzword “antioxidants” before. These are the phytonutrients that protect us from damaging free radicals, unstable molecules that can causes serious damage to our body when they react with important components, like DNA. Cells may function poorly or die if they are attacked by free radicals.
According to International Journal of Biomedical Science, “this process plays a major role in the development of chronic and degenerative diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, aging, cataract, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.” Plant based foods, like fruits, are the best sources of phytonutrients, which can help protect cells from free radical damage, and thus, disease.
Furthermore, when consumed, the fiber in fruit prevents sugar spikes from occurring because it takes the body some time to break down the fiber, meaning the sugar is not immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. However, when drinking fruit juices, many of which contain added sugars, our bodies absorb the sugar immediately because there is no fiber to counteract it, therefore raising blood sugar levels.
So, next time you are at the market, pick up some fruit and try out some different types. Mix it up and add as many colors as you can to your diet; the more the better. Eat the rainbow to bring out your brightest self and your best health everyday.