The Best Way to Eat Fruit
Choose High-Nutrient Fruits
Fruit comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and nutrient levels. If you want to get the most nourishment from eating fruit, go for the varieties packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Berries top the list, thanks to their plentiful polyphenol antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and manganese. Other notable powerhouses include kiwi, pomegranates, grapefruit, apples, and oranges. Best advice? Eat an array of fruits to ensure you get a range of nutrients.
Go Organic, Especially for These
There’s been much debate about whether eating organic food is worth the cost. When it comes to fruit, you’ll avoid harmful pesticides by choosing organic varieties., but studies suggest you might also consume higher levels of nutrients. For some people, organic fruit is worth the price based on taste alone. A good rule of thumb is to go organic for the fruits listed in the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen: strawberries, apples, peaches, pears, nectarines, cherries, and grapes.
Wait for Fruit to Ripen
There’s more reason than better flavor to wait for fruit to ripen. Scientists believe that doing so increases the antioxidant levels present in the fruit. Be wary of letting fruit ripen too long, though. Those brown bananas sitting in your fruit bowl may be perfect for banana bread or muffins, but they’ve also undergone nutrient loss that makes them less valuable for health. One benefit of eating underripe fruit is that it may contain more fiber than its more mature counterpart.
Clean Your Fruit First
Washing produce before eating it helps prevent food-borne illnesses, which is why the Center for Disease Control recommends cleaning your fruit prior to consumption. But this simple habit can also remove residue, dirt, and other debris that gets stuck on fruit and makes it taste bad. What about fruit with peels or skin you don’t plan to eat? They still need a good rinse for cleanliness. The best way to clean fruit is to wash it under running water and dry it with a paper towel or cloth.
Chop It Up
Grabbing an apple or banana on the run might seem like the simplest and most convenient way to eat fruit, but taking the time to chop it up and sit down to enjoy it can make a big difference to your taste buds and health. You’ll help improve the digestive process that way, plus it’s less messy, more filling, and easier to avoid damaged or bruised areas. You’ll also appreciate the aroma, flavor, and texture of fruit better when you chew leisurely and pay attention to your senses.
Don’t Overeat Fruit
According to the USDA, adults should eat at least five servings of fruit daily. While that may sound like a lot, a serving size isn’t all the big–roughly 80 grams, the size of a small orange or a half-cup of chopped fresh fruit. In fact, it’s easy to consume more than five servings in a day. There’s no harm in doing so as long as you avoid consuming large quantities of fruit, which can cause stomach upset and keep you from getting nutrients from other important food groups.
Be Wary of Juices
Fruit juice can count for a daily serving of fruit, but it’s not always the best way to consume fruit. Many fruit juices contain added sugar and preservatives that make it less healthful than whole fruit. Plus, you miss out on the fiber benefit of eating a piece of fruit. Of course, every fruit juice is different, and some contain ideal nutrition. Read labels before choosing fruit juices. Or, do your own juicing to get all the benefits of whole fruit without the harmful additives.
Consider Frozen Fruit
Picked right off the crop or purchased from your local farmer’s market are great ways to get the freshest fruit, but don’t discount the frozen section of your grocery store. Many frozen fruits are picked at their peak and frozen immediately to retain nutrients in their richest condition. Frozen can be the ideal way to get summer fruits during the wintertime, too. When fresh fruit doesn’t look so fresh, head to the freezer. You may be surprised at the varieties and quality you’ll find there.
Eat Fruit Between Meals
Diet experts agree that eating fruit between meals is a healthy habit worth following. That’s because fruit is a filling snack that satisfies and keeps hunger pains at bay. Eating fruit on an empty stomach can also help process the nutrients better than eating fruit during meals. Some people swear by starting the day with a piece of fruit and a glass of water as the best way to give your body an energy boost. No matter when you time it, eating fruit daily will give you health perks.
Fruit is highly versatile, which makes it a fun ingredient for your culinary dishes. Cooking, baking, and grilling with fruit is all the rage today. Try fruit skewers on the barbecue, make a healthy fruit crisp for dessert, or mix fruit into your favorite casserole or salad. There are many ways to get creative with fruit and boost the nutritional profile of your meals. Look online for recipes, then get busy creating healthy fruit concoctions for you and your family to enjoy.
Eating fruit regularly is an excellent health habit, but to make it even better, follow the above tips. The rewards will be that much sweeter.