Fruit has taken a bit of a bashing following the popularity of low-carb diets, and many people believe fruit is bad for them because it contains sugar. Perhaps it is the belief that something that tastes so good cannot possibly be good for us.
Thankfully, that is not true. A healthy diet is good for the body, mind and taste buds. Sugar in fruit is not the same as foods containing a lot of added refined sugar. The term 'sugar' just means short chain or single carbohydrates – for example, glucose is a type of sugar that circulates in our blood stream, fructose is found in fruit, lactose is found in milk, and sucrose is the type of is the type of sugar we find in packet or table sugar. Sugar is not necessarily bad and, in many cases, is a very good source of energy. The key point is whether that sugar is intrinsic to the food (as in the case of fruit and milk) or added to the food (as in many processed foods).
Most fruits have a low glycaemic index (GI) and this means that the sugars present are slowly absorbed, having a smaller and steadier effect on your blood sugar levels than many other foods with little or no sugar (such as white bread or rice). Fruits are also packed with fibre, antioxidants and other nutrients our bodies need.
Benefits of eating more vegetables and fruit:
- Packed with antioxidants, so help you fight disease and slow the ageing process
- Provide numerous essential vitamins and minerals
- Most have low energy density so can help with weight control
- Most contain considerable amounts of fibre to keep the digestive system healthy, slow blood sugar responses and keep cholesterol levels in check
- Ways to eat more: Order online direct from the market Keep the freezer stocked with a selection of vegies including corn cobs, green peas, spinach and frozen berries
- Have a fruit bowl on your desk so you can grab a piece when you're feeling hungry
5-star performers: fruit
Each fruit was assigned a division based on its nutritional profile. The criteria for selection was ability to defend and protect the body and included: antioxidant power, fibre content, GI and nutrient density. Consideration was also given to added sugar and other additives when processing.
- Berries: blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries and strawberries
- Citrus fruit: grapefruit, kumquat, oranges, pink grapefruit
- Kiwi fruit
- Passion fruit
- Rock melon