Eat Those Fruits

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08 Jul 2019

With summer upon us, there is now an abundant amount of summer fruits available. Peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, and watermelons are only some of the tasty fruits unique to the summer season.

Fruits play a very important role as an integral and healthy aspect to our overall diet. We know that people who eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables substantially reduce their risk of many diseases. Fruits provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body.

The Nutrition in Fruit

The United States government sponsored site, “My Plate,” does an excellent job in describing the nutritional benefits of eating fruit:

Health Benefits from Fruit

It is easy to see that you can get all of these important nutrients from tasty choices. “My Plate” also tells us some of the great health benefits of eating fruits on a daily basis:

Preventing Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes

The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in fruit may help keep your heart healthy so you can reduce your risk of problems as you get older. Walter Willett reports in his book, Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Eating Healthy, that individuals who eat five servings of fruits or vegetables a day are 15% less likely to have a heart attack. Fruit may also promote the healthy circulation of your blood, which reduces your risk of heart disease. Willett adds that citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit, may be particularly beneficial for reducing your risk of heart disease. It can also cut your risk of contracting type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes affects many people and is characterized by an inability to use insulin the proper way with insulin resistance or not being able to produce enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated. A 2016 review article published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation found that fruit, especially berries, was linked to a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Fruit contains fiber, which can improve how your body uses insulin. It can also make you feel full, which can keep you from eating unhealthy foods and may result in weight loss. Fruit contains many different nutrients that your body needs to maintain your health and eating several servings a day may cut your risk by providing you with the vitamins and minerals you need.

Selection and Storage of Fruits

What a Melon!

Personally, I love watermelon. I look forward to watermelon season and I use it for dessert most of the time for my Shabbat day meal. This past Shabbat, as I cut open a watermelon, I saw by the color that we had a winner and we all agreed it was the best one so far this season. Not only do they taste good, but watermelons are mostly water — about 92% — and full of nutrients. Each juicy bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6, and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants, and amino acids. There’s even a modest amount of potassium. Plus, this tasty summer snack is fat-free, very low in sodium, and has only 40 calories per cup.

A Word of Caution

Fruits are high in natural sugars, so try to keep it to about 4 per day and spread them out throughout the day—don’t eat them in one sitting. Including fruits as a part of a good healthy and balanced diet will “add hours to your day, days to your year and years to your life.”

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.