We have all become more health oriented these days, especially those of us who are parents or are now recapturing our health from our care-free days of youth. In this quest, we know that fruit is an essential part of the nutritional pyramid of a well-balanced, healthy diet. Fruit not only provides an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants but boosts our immune system which reduces our risk of illness and chronic disease.
Unfortunately, not all the ways we can eat fruit will give us the same benefits.
Warning – Dried Fruit Is Natures Candy
Although many people think dried fruit is a great healthy snack, it is nature’s candy. Unfortunately, when the fruit is dried or dehydrated, it becomes more concentrated in not only beneficial antioxidants but sugar. Plus, may contain extra unhealthy preservatives from the packaging process.
When buying dried fruit look at the ingredients and watch for added sweeteners (sugar, corn syrup), particularly in tart fruits, like cherries and cranberries. Remember in the list of ingredients only the fruit should be listed. Also, look for packages that say “no sulfites,” a preservative that maintains color. Dried fruit should not resemble the original. So while it might not be pretty by looking brown and shriveled, it is your best bet.
With fewer than 30% of adults eating the recommended two servings of fruit a day, dried fruit can be a measurable way to fill the gap and a smart way to meet your antioxidant and nutritional needs on the go. Just be smart in the intake amount, specific ingredients and the process preparation of the fruits.
Leave The Canned Fruit On The Shelf
Ahh, fruit in a can! Although preserved fruit can be an alternative to having fruit out of season or allow you to take your time eating it without spoiling, you will find that many canned fruits are bathed in sugary syrup. It may taste great, but it can wreak havoc on your waistline and blood sugar levels if you’re not careful! Watch out! Even those that are labeled “light syrup” often have a high sugar content.
So if you are a fan of canned fruit as a healthy snack, make sure it does not have any added sugar or is packaged in 100 percent fruit juice.
The Deceptive Fruit Juice
Fruit juice, even if it’s all natural, contains a lot of sugar. What’s worse is that many fruit juices, especially those marketed for children, have added sugar in them. In fact, the majority of fruit juice sold in stores contains just as much sugar as soda, sometimes even more!
Health Smart Simple Rule
As a general rule, try to eat fruit fresh as found in nature! The fiber in the whole fruit slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream making it much healthier for your body.
Now, of course, it’s okay to have juice, dried or canned fruit every once in awhile, but make a note of the other nutritional values and ingredients when tallying your nutritional needs for the day.
Have More Nutritional Questions?
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For Your Health,
Dr. Ryan Moorman