Eating for health is what most of us want to do, but sometimes it can be confusing to ensure we are getting the proper nutrients. It is important to eat a well balanced diet throughout the day, focusing on foods that will provide us with the most potent nutrients to thwart off a number of illnesses.
In today’s post we are focusing on fruit! We have always been told how healthy fruit is, but how much should we eat per day? What variety of fruits should we eat? And WHY?
A lot of my eating philosophy has beenshaped by the nutritarian perspective. This is a term coined by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of “Eat to Live,” and it refers to a diet which concentrates on eating the most micronutrient rich foods. My recommendations regarding fruit in our diets originate from this perspective.
The nutritarian perspective is that we should eat AT LEAST 3 FRESH FRUITS per day. (Frozen fruits work as well because they retain their phytonutrients). One of those servings should be either berries or pomegranate. Berries include raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries and strawberries.
At least 3 fruits per day will fill your body with the necessary phytonutrients, which have anti cancer effects, and serve to fulfill other healing properties within the body. Fruits contain antioxidants, which protect against cancers, since oxidative damage of DNA is what can cause cancerous changes in cells.
Phytonutrients and vitamins cannot be removed from the fruit and placed in supplement form. Fruits are able to help heal us because the phytonutrients work through “food synergy.” This means that there isn’t one component of any fruit (for example, an apple) that makes it healthy, it is the balance of all the different components working together within the fruit. Therefore we must eat fruits in their whole form in order to receive the optimal nutrient effects.
Dr. Fuhrman notes that berries and/or pomegranates are SUPER important to have every day because they contain an important phytonutrient called ELLAGIC ACID. This helps to block the formation of tumors. This is an “antiangiogenic” property, meaning they inhibit blood supply to tumors, which prevents them from receiving the nutrients they need to grow. Berries also protect the brain from dementia later in life. In addition, they contain flavonoids, which help to reduce the risk for coronary heart disease, reduces blood pressure and inflammation, prevents DNA damage, and protect the brain against oxidative damage. (The End of Dieting, by Fuhrman)
In addition to the phytonutrient component, fruits are amazing because of their fiber content, which help to make us feel full, regulate our metabolism, and improve our digestive system!
Whenever I compose my weekly meal plan, I am sure to always incorporate at least 3 fresh fruits per day. Smoothies are a great way to incorporate a few servings. I have included serving sizes below to ensure you are consuming the proper amount!
Fresh Fruit Serving Sizes:
- Berries=1 cup
- Orange=1 orange
- Grapefruit=1/2 Grapefruit
- Apple=1 small apple
- Melon=1 cup chopped melon
- Kiwi=1 kiwi
- Banana=1 banana
- Grapes=1 cup
- Pomegranate=1/2 cup of seeds
- Pineapple=1 cup
You can find more information about the nutritarian diet here