Friday, March 12, 2010

A Healthy Dose of Fruit

A variety of fruit is a necessary part of a healthy diet. A debate can be made for both sides of the aisle as to how diverse the plate of fruits eaten by a person should be (or not be). Some people go by the rule that people should only eat fruits (not to mention other food sources) that are native to their region because those are the foods that are best for them nutritionally through evolution. Others however, think that a wide variety of fruits is best in order to reap all the benefits available from this food group. Perhaps it is better left to the individual because while evolution may play a part, taste buds may overrule it at times and a banana from Panama may be more attractive to someone than a peach from Georgia.

Personally, I love fruit and would be happy to subsist on a diet of 90% fruit, if that was at all healthy. Unfortunately however, it's not. While fruits are an essential part of a healthy diet and it is recommended that each person eats 4-5 servings of fruit each day, eating too much fruit may sabotage an otherwise good diet. The main issues are that while fruits are low in fat, they can be high in calories and sugar.

This morning I had quite a bit of fruit in my breakfast. Because I love the taste, texture and freshness of good fruit, I can easily go overboard and need to be careful about how much I eat (especially in the summer when fresh local fruit is most abundant). Woody and I like to purchase our fruit mostly from the fruit carts around the city (we've found good ones with the best prices) and the farmers market, but will purchase from grocery stores or bodegas when we really need something and can't find it elsewhere. Yesterday, Woody picked up bananas and blackberries from a vendor near his office. Blackberries are definitely a treat for us since they are often very expensive (and unfortunately these came from Mexico) but he found a good deal and couldn't resist! He also picked up a mango the other day. Of course, these delicious fruits lend themselves well to a delicious breakfast:
Organic Stoneyfield fat free plain yogurt with ground flax seeds & cinnamon topped with banana, mango, blackberries and homemade granola. I definitely frontloaded my fruit intake this morning, but it was worth it!

A few nutritional stats:
Blackberries: 1 cup (more than I had)
62 cal, 1g fat, 8g fiber, 2g protein, 7g sugar
Very good source of fiber, vitamin C & K, and manganese. Good source of vitamin E, folate and magnesium.
A large amount of the calories is from sugar.

Mango: 1 cup
107 cal, 0 fat, 3g fiber, 1g protein, 24g sugar (yikes!)
Very good source of vitamin A & C, good source of fiber and vitamin B6.
A large portion of calories is from sugar.

Banana: 1 cup
133 cal, 4g fiber, 2g protein, 18g sugar
Very good source of vitamin B6, good source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and manganese.
A large portion of calories is from sugar.

As you can see, fruit is great for fiber needs and vitamins, but it does definitely have a lot of sugar. So, enjoy it as a part of your diet, but it's not the best idea to make fruit the majority of your diet! And remember, whole fruit is much better than fruit juices which are much more caloric and often include unnecessary additives.

One other thing to remember is that some fruits are very vulnerable to pesticides and chemicals, so it's best to choose organically grown peaches, apples, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, grapes (imported), and pears. Take a look at this list from the Environmental Workers Group to see what organic vegetables you should be eating, too.

What is your favorite fruit?


Jen Cole said...

Favorite fruit? Apples, bananas, any kind of berries, peaches, perfectly ripe pears...

Are we supposed to pick just one?

I made "overnight oats" (from Kath Eats) last night and we ate them this morning. You soak the raw oats in yogurt and milk (equal parts of each) overnight and gobble them up in the morning. I used YoPlus Blackberry Pomegranate yogurt and skim milk. I think I might be in love with the mix. :)

shelley said...

hmmm fav fruit has to be in the mellon family... i'm allergic to strawberries so none of them... love your photo looks good enough to eat! been eating low fat greek yogurt, ever try it?

Alisa said...

I am a strawberry and pineapple lover---sadly both summer fruits. I do love oranges too but only from my tree at home and sadly I'm not home all that often.

I once ate so much pineapple in hawaii on vacation that I got citris hives---it wasn't pleasant but almost worth it from the yummy pineapple.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

That looks delicious. I always want to eat this way but seldom to.
I think I am very lazy. I do love Blackberries, they are my favorite.

Jocelyn said...

if I could bathe in fruit I would. that sounds kind of weird. Lets pretend I didn't say that. Weirdly I am not a berry person. I think its the texture. But I love them blended in yogurt or a smoothie. I love apples.I could have an apple a day and never get tired of it. Also pineapple! SO good.

AM! said...

Hi there,
Glad you stopped by my blog for the giveaway and great to see your blog.
Fav fruit..hmm...prob blueberries for sure w/mango a close second.;-)
have a good wknd!

Anonymous said...

ooooo I like all fruit! I would say my favorite has to be the classic apple or banana!