Fruits are no doubt one of the world’s best foods and one you can hardly go wrong with. The benefits of fruits are numerous and science continues to discover why we should always eat them. Fruits are good for you; either you are trying to lose weight or you want to live a healthier life, fruits are definitely non-negotiable.
Does the Sugar in Fruits make them a Healthy Choice?
There are different types of fruits, with most tasting sweet. In case you are wondering if fruits are that healthy because of their sugar content, the answer is yes. Fruits are whole foods and the sugars in them are natural sugars – glucose, sucrose and fructose.
Although all sugars, including the ones artificially added to foods and drinks work the same way in the body and provide the same amount of calories, studies have found that the health dangers associated with sugar come from over-consumption of foods and drinks with added sugars and not from the sugars that naturally occur in fruits.
In reality, it is a lot easier to consume too much sugar from drinking a sugary beverage like soda than from eating a plate of fruits. The sugars artificially added to foods and drinks are also called free sugars. This type of sugar is what you should avoid.
Foods and drinks that are sources of free sugars include biscuits, cakes, soft drinks, cereals, sports drinks, pizza, ketchup and cookies. These foods and drinks are a lot easier to consume in excess. They also appear to take the place of healthy foods on most tables.
People who consume a lot of foods with free sugars are less likely to eat healthy foods, and that’s dangerous. Overconsumption of these foods have been associated with an increased of several diseases including type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity and kidney disease. Teeth problems like tooth loss are also associated with consuming too much free sugars.
What Types of Fruits should be Avoided?
If you are really concerned about how much sugar you might be getting from the fruits you eat, then you should pay a closer attention to how you eat your fruits. Fruits are best eaten in their raw form. Fruit juices, for example, contain a lot more sugar than is found in raw fruits. A bottle of orange juice contains as much sugar as can be found in six whole oranges!
Most fruit juices contain added sugar and artificial flavors and colorings. They are low in fiber and vitamins and high in calories. The extra calories from fruit juice can make you add extra weight or make losing weight more difficult. Making fruit juice at home is a better alternative to packaged fruit juices. A study found that drinking a lot of fruit juices may actually increase a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes.
Dried fruits are also types of fruits you should limit if you are watching your sugar intake. The process of removing water from the fruit makes sugar as well as other nutrients to become concentrated. Just like fruit juices, dried fruits also contain added sugars, preservatives and other unhealthy substances.
Why should you Eat more Fruits?
Fruits are life savers but do we really get to eat them as much as we should? Everyone, regardless of their age, would benefit from eating fruits. Fruits provide a lot of health benefits because they are sources of many essential nutrients needed by your body for normal functioning.
Fruits do not contain cholesterol and most are low in sodium, fat and calories. You are not likely to gain weight from eating plenty of fruits. If your diet is deficient in fruits, these are reasons you should load up your plate with more fruits:
They Protect the Teeth and Gums
Fruits like oranges, berries, kiwifruit, lemons, guavas and papaya are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy. They help to prevent gingivitis. Gingivitis is a disease of the gum that causes inflammation resulting in redness, swelling and irritation of the gums.
If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to tooth loss and other gum diseases which are lot more serious. Without vitamin C, your gums are more likely to bleed easily and you are more likely to lose your tooth. Vitamin C also increases your body’s ability to absorb iron from the foods you eat.
Iron deficiency can lead to mouth sores and inflammation of the tongue. It also contributes to the development of bad bacteria in the mouth. Vitamin C is known to help with preventing and treating common colds. They also keep the skin healthy and promote wound healing.
They Protect the Kidneys
The kidneys perform very important roles in the body like helping to rid the body of waste products and producing hormones that help to regulate blood pressure. Problems can occur with the kidneys, just like with every other part of the body if they are not properly taken care of.
Diet plays an important role in kidney health and one of the best things you can do for your kidneys is to eat fruits at every meal. A diet rich in fruits can help to prevent kidney stones, a common health problem. Kidney stones can be a very painful condition. Fruits are rich in vitamin C and they help in providing relief for symptoms of kidney stones. They can also reduce a person’s risk of developing the condition.
They Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Eating fruits may help to prevent type 2 diabetes. A study found that people who eat whole fruits like apples, blueberries and grapes have their risk of type 2 diabetes significantly reduced when compared to people who do not eat these fruits.The fiber in fruits helps to control blood sugar levels. People who have diabetes would also benefit from eating fruits as the fiber in fruits helps to slow the absorption of sugar in the body.
Some types of fruits are not recommended for diabetic patients as they may cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. Processed fruits, canned fruits, fruit juices and dried fruits should be avoided by diabetic patients.
They Reduce the Risk of Cancer
A diet rich in fruits has been found to reduce the risk of many types of cancer. Fruits are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are those substances that have the ability to prevent or slow cell damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals may contribute to the development of cancer. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals in the body.
They Prevent Constipation
Fruits are very rich in fiber. There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. Fruits contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Both types of fiber are essential for keeping your digestive system running smoothly. Fiber helps to improve bowel functioning. Constipation is usually a sign that your digestive system is not working as they should. Fiber helps to prevent and treat constipation.
They Protect the Heart
The fiber in fruits makes them great for heart health. Fiber helps to lower cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is a risk factor of heart disease. Fruits like banana, mango, pear and apricots are rich in potassium. Potassium helps with the regulation of blood pressure. Fruits also contain other nutrients like folate, vitamin E, vitamin A and vitamin B6, which help to prevent diseases like heart attack and stroke.
They Aid Weight Loss
Fiber helps to fill you up, which means you are less likely to overeat when you eat foods like fruits which are a rich-source of fiber. If you have been struggling with weight loss, fiber can make weight loss easier. It would also help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of obesity.