I’ve started a new feature on my Facebook page starting in August – Monthly Challenges! I started these challenges as weekly endeavors, but in order to make the biggest impact on your health I’ve opted for a monthly time frame. This gives us more time to really understand the benefits of making the simple change I’m offering up to you.
Our first challenge is to add new fruit to your diet. After I started researching fruit consumption it occurred to me that instead of a new fruit – let’s just say – ANY fruit. How many of us are eating enough fruit? Not enough! According to the CDC report published in 2013, 38 percent of adolescents and 36 percent of adults report consuming fruit less than one time daily. To top it all off we are taught through marketing what to eat but not why. Consequently, orange juice is our major fruit and French fries our major vegetable consumed. Ack! The horror!
Let’s get to the WHY of fruit consumption.
Off the top of my head, adding fruit to your balanced whole food diet brings five fabulous fruity benefits!
- Boost your immunity! Essential vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables help to increase the body’s immunity against a host of diseases. It will protect your body from many common infections like common cold to serious disorders like cardio problems. Start boosting your immunity now before the cold and flu season begins.
- Fiber makes you full! Fruit and vegetables are high in fiber. For example, an apple contains 12% of the daily recommended allowance of fiber, pears contain 18% and a cup of strawberries packs 12%. A diet rich in fiber helps lower cholesterol and prevents constipation. Interesting tidbit about the fiber from an apple. Apple has two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber helps lower LDL cholesterol. Soluble fiber helps the LDL be removed from the liver.
- Increase your energy level! Because fruit and vegetables do not contain artificial sugar and are packed with minerals and other nutrients and vitamins they help maintain energy levels. Foods high in sugar, caffeine or “energy drinks” often result in a sugar-crash because they elevate sugar levels quickly and burn off quickly. Fruit and vegetables provide a more enduring energy level.
- Fight disease with fruit! The antioxidant benefits of fruit are powerful weapons against disease. According to the Linus Paul Institute a diet rich in fruit and vegetables aids in the prevention of a number of diseases. Among these are cardiovascular disease, high-blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis.
- Kick start your metabolism! Deficiency of vitamins and minerals will slow down your metabolism. Also, many vitamins are essential for proper absorption of food. Lack of certain nutrients can also lead to improper functioning of thyroid. Many nutrients from fruits and veggies keep the thyroid levels normal. All these reasons can contribute to weight gain.
Let’s not forget the most obvious…flavor! Just think about all the tantalizing flavors fruit offer up to tickle your taste buds. You can be swept away to the tropics with a sweet juicy mango or carted away to the orchard with the first bite of a tart crisp apple. The variety of taste explosions is practically endless when you bravely add a new exotic fruit to your produce basket. Make it a point to treat your taste buds this week!
Let me know how you plan to increase your fruit intake and what your tasty treat sensation is this week!