Fruit? Its something that many of us love but don’t know how to utilize it properly, either eating it at the wrong times or not eating it at all. The reason for this post has been due to the recent talk around the fitness blogging world about Fructose and the damage it can do to the body. Although this mainly applies to HFCS it is still relevant to fruit intake. Its not that fruit is bad but rather it needs to be utilized correctly in order to be of maximum effect and allow your body to enjoy the anti-oxidant benefits whilst still enjoying taste….
The Best Fruits – To eat are some of the more fibrous one’s out there which are high in Anti-Oxidants and other Nutrients.
Go for freshness and local fruit when you can. As you can imagine having an Apple that’s been shipped thousands of miles isn’t going to be as nutritious or tasty as one from a local farm. Look for what is in season as well this should be pretty easy if you stick to local fruits, Organic is also good but its more important to get stuff that is local and in season.
Which Fruit With Food? Fruit is great to compliment food or to finish a meal with. I would recommend sticking to more watery fruits with meals. Things like Melon, Grapes, Berries, and Citrus are a great choice a blend in well with things like salad or go down nicely as a desert to finish a meal. On the other hand some fruits like Apple’s and Bananas are too solid and starchy to have with other cooked foods and will be left to ferment in the stomach. Try eating Apple’s on their own or with nuts and seeds….
When to eat – I wouldn’t say that the time of day you eat fruit is of the upmost importance but it certainly does go down better either first thing in the morning or after exercise, at both of these times your liver will be empty and thrive on the fruit replenishing your body. It’s also funny that at both these times you will probably naturally crave fruit. Personally I love fruit in the morning or mid afternoon but not so much in the evening or after a big meal.
How Much is Too Much? This is a tricky question as we can certainly over do our intake of fruit. I have seen a lot of people try and compensate their bad eating by eating extra fruits like bananas and gorging on grapes, Although you could do worse this isn’t the best thing to do especially if you eat a diet high in carbohydrates as it will lead to a fructose overdose which can lead to fat gain and a fatty liver…
What I would say it to drop all sugar containing beverages from your diet (Soda, fruit juice etc) then start to cut down on starchy carbohydrates and replace them with the fruits mentioned above. After a while you will find that your cravings for fruit will level out leaving you with a good portion of fruit each day but without overdoing it. As they say at CrossFit.
“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.”
Notice “Some Fruit” you will probably also find you will function better eating this way, plus eating 1-5 portions of fruit a day will provide you with plenty of anti-oxidants and minerals especially if you stick to local fresh stuff and emphasize berries. It’s a enjoyable experience to forage for fresh and local fruit through farmers markets or even picking your own like this…..
Some Fruit Ideas – I like to start the day with a bowl of blueberries and nuts plus a cup of coffee (http://twitpic.com/cyl0n) especially if I have the time. Its a great way to start the day and offers a healthy alternative to a bowl of sugary breakfast cereal. It goes great when sprinkled with flax seed and coconut flakes. Its a really easy reciepe that I picked up a while back from Craig Ballantyne
Using fruit with salad is easy. Try throwing some chunks of chopped up Apple over a salad with chicken, avocado and balsamic vinegar it makes for an amazing dish as the sweetness of the Apple off sets the other flavours. Things like strawberries or chunks of grapefruit also go very well with all kinds of salad.
Another tip is to buy Melon’s when they are in season (and cheap) and keep them in the fridge in a container (chopped up and ready to go) this gives you access to a great snack plus melon compliments cured meats very well. Melon and Parma Ham is a great way to start a meal. A simple fruit salad of melon and fresh mint chopped up is amazing!
Snack on fruit with nuts for a great on the go snacks. If you always keep a bag of nuts on hand simply grabbing an apple in addition is simple and delicious between meals. Keep pomegranate on hand it really is the swiss army knife of fruit; great on its own or over a salad. Having a pot in the fridge will come in handy.
Fruit – Is a awesome food which if used correctly just gets better. See fruit as something to add flavour and variety to your diet not a fundamental/core part of it. Experiment with fruits and listen to your cravings for fruit, you may find you crave oranges when you have a cold coming on or feel like a chunk of watermelon after a hard workout. Your body is smart and will call on what it wants especially if you have a well calibrated body through a healthy diet and lifestyle….
So there is no need to overdo fruit in order to be healthy, in fact overdoing fruit can be unhealthy. Stay fresh, Stay local and you will enjoy the best of both worlds….
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