FRUIT is Mother Nature's fast food. You can pick it up and eat it with no preparation at all.
Doesn't get much faster than that.
Oh, and then there's the fact it is incredibly good for you.
Gladstone Holistic Health naturopath Stacey McCosker said fruit was a great fast food because it was easy, healthy and, importantly, it tasted great.
Ms McCosker said the sugar in fruit helped give it that wonderful sweet taste, but because there was so much fibre in fruit, our bodies absorbed the sugar slower than it would from other sweet foods like chocolate.
That means the sugar in fruit is not as bad as artificial sweets.
Ms McCosker recommended eating two or three pieces of fruit per day.
If you think you can buy a bottle of fruit juice and call it a "serve of fruit", guess again.
Processed juice contains as much added sugar and calories as soft drink.
If you are a dedicated sportsperson do yourself a favour - throw away the sports drinks.
Ms McCosker says athletes should choose a banana for the perfect sports supplement.
Packed with electrolytes and fibre, bananas give a big energy hit.
Ms McCosker said the best time for a sportsperson to eat a banana was soon after training.
For longer events, such as triathlons, a banana could be eaten during the race.
"(Sports drinks) have electrolytes, but they also have artificial colours and flavours," she said.
But believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much fruit.
"If you are trying to lose weight, you shouldn't eat more than three pieces of fruit a day," Ms McCosker said.
Fruits are high in sugar. Although that sugar is not as bad for you as refined sugar found in other sweet foods, too much of it can still affect your weight.
Stacey McCosker outlines the benefits of individual fruits:
- The phytonutrients in apples can help regulate blood sugar levels.
- Quercetin is the primary phytonutrient found in apples, and it's far more concentrated in the skin than in the pulp.
- Multiple studies have shown apple intake to be associated with decreased risk of asthma and stroke.
- Bananas are potassium-rich, making them particularly beneficial for those with high blood pressure.
- Bananas are ideal post-exercise as they contain not only the major electrolyte potassium, but they are also energy-dense (nature's best 'fuel' source)
- Cherries are highly alkalising to the body, which helps to accelerate uric acid excretion, thus helping with the prevention and management of gout.
- They also contain generous amounts of melatonin, which helps us sleep more soundly.
Mango/oranges (similar properties)
- Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are known to be particularly protective against cardiovascular disease.
- Mangoes and oranges are rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene and fibre.
- Beta-carotene can convert to Vitamin A in the body, which is crucial for glowing skin, healthy vision and optimal immune function.
- I call these disease-fighting berries "nature's skittles", because they're so incredibly tasty!
- The rich purple/blue colour is due to the concentrated levels of anthocyanin polyphenols.
- Blueberries are well-known for their cancer preventative, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- More recently, blueberries have been shown to be highly 'neuro-protective' and beneficial for those with mild cognitive impairment.
- The core of a pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which aids protein digestion and is well-researched in regards to its anti-inflammatory properties.
- The anti-inflammatory actions of bromelain make it a great food for those with acute or chronic joint inflammation.
- Pineapple has a long history of use both as a food and a medicine in Central and South America, where is it well-known to help digestion.
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