Benefits of Fruit

Everyone knows about the great benefits of fruit, right?

Turns out that...

Americans' fruit consumption is 60 percent too low.

This shocking data comes straight from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

When I talk with my peers, I hear this – "As kids we used to eat lots of fruit."

I agree. I grew up in a rural area where locally-grown fruits were plentiful most of the year. In the winter months, we ate them dehydrated, such as prunes, dried slices of apple and pear. We also enjoyed them in the form of preserves.

Then what happened?

With the steady increase of affluence and the cost of meat products decreasing, fruits and vegetables were crowded out on the breakfast, lunch, and dinner plate by ever bigger slabs of meat and other processed animal-derived foods.

Let me get back to the USDA for a minute.

Even though their recommendations are VERY generous with regard to meat consumption, Americans consume 20 percent more animal products than recommended.

Note: The federal agency was established with the express idea of promoting agriculture, but turned into an advocate for primarily the powerful interests of the meat and dairy industries.

According to the USDA's Dietary Guidelines, at least half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables.

I think it should be even more. This is why…

The Health Benefits of Fruit Are Amazing

Fruits (whether fresh or frozen) are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

They have been shown to protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and various kinds of cancer. They lower the risk of stroke and heart attack.

They are generally low in calories, making them an ideal part of your weight loss strategies.

Eat them in their whole state. Popping supplements like beta-carotene pills just won't do.

If you drink fruit juices – leave the pulp in!

Fruit smoothies can be an easy way to nourish your body with essential nutrients.

The soluble fiber in fruit helps slow digestion and helps control blood sugar and lower cholesterol.

The fiber also helps with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) by relieving and preventing constipation. It may help prevent diverticulosis.

A diet rich in fruit helps reduce blood pressure.

In fact, a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in dairy (less saturated and total fat) lowers blood pressure as much as medications can do.

Want to lower your risk of diabetes? Eat your apples, your blueberries, your grapes.

Want to keep your eyes healthy? Take advantage of the myriad benefits of fruit.

Most fruits are naturally low in fat and sodium. Most are low in calories. None have cholesterol.

Variety is as important as quantity.

There are lists of superfruits. Never mind the lists.

Eat as many different types of fruit as are available in any given season.

The benefits of fruit are too many to recite them here. So, just eat fruit.

Start with an apple a day. It keeps the doctor away…

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