The benefits are eating fruit are numerous. Fruit is one of the healthiest and natural foods you can eat. They’re packed full of vitamins minerals and antioxidants, and they taste fantastic too. Health experts recommend that we eat at least five pieces of fruit or vegetables each day. The fruit can be dried or bottled, though to receive the most nutrition you should eat it freshly picked.
Fruit is naturally low in fat, sodium, calories and cholesterol. They are an important source of potassium, vitamin C, dietary fibre and folate (folic acid):
- Potassium – this helps maintain a healthy blood pressure. Fruit that contains potassium includes bananas, prunes and oranges
- Vitamin C – this is important for the growth and repair of body tissues; it is an antioxidant, which attacks potentially harmful free radicals in the body and neutralises them. Fruit that contains vitamin C includes strawberries, blackberries and grapes
- Dietary fibre – this helps reduce cholesterol and the risk of developing heart disease and bowel cancer. All fruit contains dietary fibre
- Folate – this helps the body form red blood cells and is very important in the first few months of pregnancy in reducing the risk of your baby developing foetal defects. Fruit that contains folate includes oranges, strawberries and melons
The following health benefits can be gained from eating five portions of fruit each day:
- Lower risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases
- Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Protection against certain cancers including mouth, stomach, and colon
- Lower risk of coronary heart disease
- Lower risk of developing kidney stones
- Lower calorie intake
Fruit can also play a part in our mental health. Studies have shown that a regular intake of fruit can reduce the risk of developing panic attacks, mood swings, anxiety and depression. Chemical preservatives found in many processed foods and meat is increasingly thought to contribute to violent behaviour and poor concentration. A balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit will help our brains function better and keep us focussed and alert.
Eating fruit seasonally has added benefits and will ensure you get the right mix of nutrients that nature intended for us. Food that is available out of season has either been stored for a long time or flown thousands of miles to reach the supermarket shelves, and so their nutrient content is reduced by the time you eat it.
Eating the Rainbow
To gain the best possible benefits from fruit, it’s important to eat a wide range of them. Typically, fruits of a certain colour denote a certain nutrient make-up.
- Red fruits, such as watermelon, for example, contain lycopene, which is thought to help prevent prostate cancer and heart disease
- Green fruits, such as kiwi fruit and grapes, contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help protect against age-related eye disease
- Blue fruit like blueberries contain anthocyanins, which may help protect the body from developing cancer
Organic fruit contains, on average, 50% more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other micro-nutrients than non-organic fruit. You can also guarantee that you won’t be consuming any genetically modified (GM) food by eating organic food, and it’s better for wildlife and the environment too.
Whether you eat fruit for taste, or health reasons, the benefits are undisputed. Not only does fruit taste fantastic, it can help prevent a myriad of diseases, keep your brain alert and functioning normally, and even help you lose weight.