Fruits are a powerhouse of nutrition. Suffice to say, your diet plan is pretty much incomplete without it. Whether you’re looking to shed those extra kilos, control your blood sugar or just get fit, fruits are your best friends. “Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet as they give ample energy without adding any unnecessary calories. Eating fruits regularly benefits your body tremendously – they are natural sources of vitamins and minerals, which are essential for proper functioning of the body,” says Jaee Khamkar, dietician, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai.
Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is abundantly found in fruits, primarily citric fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes, etc.). They are consumed widely for the common cold, wound healing, healthy skin, teeth and gums.
If you have young children, make sure you serve them fruits frequently. Dr Rakesh Patel, gastroenterologist, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai, says, “All fruits are good for kids, but they are lured by fast food advertisements and are not introduced effectively and appropriately by their parents.”
Benefits of including fruits in daily diet
Rich in dietary fiber, fruits help improve the functioning of the digestive tract, thereby reducing the chances of constipation and diverticulosis (development of bulging pouches in the digestive tract). “Diets that are rich in fruits containing fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type-2 diabetes,” Khamkar says.
A 2017 research published online in the journal Thorax showed that eating five or more daily servings of diet rich in fruit green leafy vegetables may significantly lower the risk of developing chronic lung disease in both former and current smokers.
For heart health
Fruits contain minimal sodium and harmful fats, so they are healthy for your heart. Fruits are also rich in potassium, which is important to keep your blood pressure regulated.
Fruits are good for digestion due to their high fiber and fructose content. “Seasonal and local fruits are good for health, rather than exotic fruits native to other countries. We should only be worried about pesticides and artificial ripening agents that are harmful,” says Dr Patel.
For weight loss
“High fiber fruits are best for weight loss, like apple, pear, pineapple, guava, papaya, orange and sweet lime. All these fruits are low in calories and fat, and high in fiber – essential ingredients for successful weight loss,” says Khamkar.
However, she cautions, pulpy fruits can lead to weight gain. So you may want to rethink bingeing on mangos, custard apple, jackfruit, banana, chikoo and grapes.
Diabetics can eat all the fruits, provided they have good control of sugars. “Fruits with high glycemic index like mangoes, chikoo and grapes should be consumed in smaller quantities, or avoided,” advises Dr Patel.