Eat Those Fruits

BY
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31 May 2018
Health

This past Shabbos brought a certain amount of stress with it.  Stress on Shabbos?  Why?  A day away from work, removed from phones and technology and a day with more time to learn, daven and rest.  We were looking forward to guests for Shabbos lunch but this was exactly the root of the problem.  You see, one of our guests wrote a column in this newspaper about a year ago about picking out the right watermelon for Shabbos and all of the anxiety it can sometimes bring until you open it and find out if it is a great fruit or not.  Yes, HaModia news editor Joel Rebibo and his wife, the author of the weekly “second thought” column, which last year dealt with watermelons, was coming to my Shabbos table and would my watermelon be up to his very high standards? 

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. Now that it is summertime, the great selection of fruits in season seems almost never ending.  Taking advantage of that can mean better health and feeling a lot more energetic too. 

The nutrition in fruit

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

Health benefits from fruit

It is easy to see that you can all get 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 are 15 percent less likely to have a heart attack.  Fruit may also promote the healthy circulation of your blood, which also reduces your risk of heart disease. Willett adds that citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit, may be particularly beneficial at 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 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

Now, back to my watermelon.  I love watermelon season and I look forward to using it for dessert most of the time for my Shabbos day meal.  It didn’t take long for my stress to melt away.  As I cut open the watermelon, I saw by the color we had a winner and we all agreed it was the best one so far this season.  Not only does it taste good, but watermelons are mostly water — about 92 percent — 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.

Joel, myself and everyone else enjoyed the watermelon and all of us are careful to eat fruits daily.  BUT BE CAREFUL!  Fruits are high in natural sugar and eating more than 4 per day if you are an exerciser or more that 3 a day if you aren’t can put you over your daily calorie limit.  It is also better to eat your fruits throughout the day and not in one sitting.  Including fruits as 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.