Eating fruit has become synonymous with health, and we are generally encouraged to get at least 5 pieces a day. But is it really as healthy as they say it is? While fruits are an excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants, they are normally also rich in fructose, which can be bad. To a great extent, whether or not they are healthful depends on state of health, what types and quantities are consumed, and how sensitive a person’s body is to the contents. Here are some of the pros and cons of eating fruit…
Fruit in Your Diet: PROS
Disease prevention: When fruits make up part of a balanced diet, they help to prevent disease. Consuming fruit daily has been proven to reduce the risk of many serious conditions, including heart disease, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancers – most types contain potassium, vitamin C, folic acid and dietary fiber. The gastrointestinal system also benefits, preventing intestinal disorders.
General health: Fruits don’t just stave off serious disease, they can also protect you against colds, flu and seasonal illness. Additionally, consuming them daily helps to detoxify the body, keep bones strong, improve brain function and promote healing. Plus, they fight the signs of aging and give you the energy needed to perform better physically. Yes, that means more exercise, and therefore more weight loss.
Fruit in Your Diet: Cons
Disease promotion: The problem with fruits is the fructose content. While the nutrients found in them do prevent disease, excess fructose has been linked to numerous serious illnesses. The vitamins and antioxidants found in fruits help to reduce the effects of fructose, but too much can be a problem, and most of us are getting it from other sources, as well. It makes up about 10% of the modern diet.
Weight gain: Again, the culprit here is fructose. Some people’s bodies process fructose quite efficiently, while other people’s bodies don’t, leading to weight gain, obesity and worse. How well the body processes it usually depends on the levels of uric acid levels present. Those who are overweight tend to have uric acid levels of 5.5 milligrams per deciliter or higher, which is a risk factor for disease.
So are Fruits Healthy, Then?
For the average person who is not insulin resistant, fruit is healthy, and a few portions each day should serve to boost health and prevent disease. Of course, you would want to get in a good variety of fruits, avoiding the hybrid types. For those who are overweight or have a chronic condition, however, or are at higher risk thereof, fruit consumption should be limited. With regards to fructose, one should generally try to consume less than 25 g a day and be aware of uric acid levels and risk factors.
YOUR TURN: Are you getting in your 5 pieces of fruit daily? How has eating fruit affected your health and weight? We would love to hear your thoughts. Please share your experience in the comment section below.