Fruit Shunning

July 4, 2017 in Health, Nutrition, Uncategorized by Joyce Bunderson

This is the first year for us to harvest raspberries from our very own vines. In all honesty, it’s a bit of a workout, especially if the sun gets up earlier than I get picking. But those beautiful, organic, sweet red rubies are a wonderful treasure incentive. We’ve been liberally blanketing our cereal with a layer of the sweet jewels. On two mornings we enjoyed whole-wheat pancakes, topped with Greek yogurt and sprinkled generously with raspberries. In addition to the berries that we’ve devoured and given away, we’ve got a stash in the freezer; waiting for Yonanas (no sugar needed); smoothies or just for hot cereal in the fall. We’re pretty pleased with the bounty we’ve experienced. It’s especially nice to enjoy something that tastes so pleasant, that is so very nourishing. We noticed that we’re just about ready to begin harvesting blueberries and the blackberries have already produced some samples. It was a great year for the berries to do well; as we got a late freeze and the frozen air killed our pluots and apricots.

Here’s hoping that you’re not following one of the eating styles that encourages people to shun fruit. Besides being one of the great joys of summer eating, fruit is almost always one of the leaders in studies that link certain foods to health. Recently a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), by lead author Renata Micha PhD, RD found “too little fruit” in one’s diet to be one of the 10 dietary factors linked to major disease and premature death.

The new JAMA study was trying to take the public from “eat better” to more precisely which food factors are most important. I think you’ll recognize that this blog frequently covers all ten factors that were found to be the leading ten dietary factors related to health. Instead of just saying eat better. Those of the ten that stood out in increased deaths in 2012 were too much sodium in one’s diet; too few nuts and seeds; too much of highly processed meats; too little omega 3 fats from fish; too few vegetables; too few fruit servings in diet; and high sugar-sweetened beverages, low in whole grains; low in polyunsaturated fat and high in unprocessed red meat, in order of number of deaths. Today I want to focus just a little bit on including fruit in your eating plan. It seems to me that nutritionists/dietitians spend considerable time and effort trying to help the public get more vegetables in their diet; but sometimes fruit is just taken for granted.

First, maybe I should try to abolish fear of eating fruit. When we got the word out about the empty calories of sugar, maybe some people got the idea that fruit was bad also. I know that it can be a little confusing when I write to avoid fruit juice, (because it can raise your blood sugar so quickly). But the fact is that eating whole fruit is filled with fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals; the fiber in the whole fruit slows the release of the natural sugars in fruit. (Drinking only the juice takes much good fiber out.)

It’s not just the potentially harmful substances you don’t eat, but what good stuff you do eat. In another study, this one published in the British Journal of Nutrition, 4,908 Australians were followed; those whose dietary patterns were characterized by higher intakes of fruit were found to be 12% less likely to be obese than those with lower fruit intakes. Vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are involved in keeping the cells of your body healthy. Don’t let anyone convince you that taking supplements is going to replace or even compete with eating raspberries, for example that provide hundreds of phytonutrients.

If you’re looking for a place to improve your diet; you may want to consider adding more fruit. The following are a few ideas to consider:

  • Make a commitment that every cereal breakfast includes fruit. If you don’t always have fresh fruit, consider frozen or dried fruit.
  • Replace syrup on pancakes, French toast, waffles and crepes with blended fresh or frozen fruit.
  • Consider mini-fruit salads – have you ever noticed how quickly fruit is gobbled up when it is already cut up?
  • Help to keep your rapidly browning fruit (bananas, avocado, pears, apples, peaches) fresh and appetizing. Use a little Ball Fruit-Fresh or lemon juice.
  • Set the dinner table with a little dish of fruit for dessert.
  • Use bananas to sweeten smoothies, and to replace the sugar or honey in recipes.
  • Add fruit to green salads. We enjoy berries; grapefruit; pomegranate; apples; pears; to name a few.
  • Put fruit where it can easily be seen and grabbed for a quick snack.
  • Make a little fruit salsa to serve with fish or chicken. One frequent addition is: diced frozen mango (defrosted a bit in the microwave) by itself or with avocado.
  • Make fruit kabobs or let children make fruit kabobs.

If all else fails, go to the farmer’s market and just take in the colors of summer fruit; if you find yourself drooling, it may be easier to say “pass” on the latest diet idea that encourages you to shun fruit.