Do you really know what the health benefits of eating fruit are?
Thankfully, there is a huge variety of fruit to choose from; all of different shapes, colours, sizes and tastes – so whether you like soft juicy berries or a crisp sweet apple, there is pretty much something for everyone! Great to snack on, add to meals or recipes, blend in a juicer or simply eat fruit raw or dried fruit can be consumed in many different ways. Which is great news, as fruit contains an abundance of essential nutrients that are immensely beneficial to our health and as part of a healthy diet, greatly reduce the risk of serious diseases!
So let’s look at what nutrients fruit contains and what these benefits are!
- Antioxidants: Fruit contains high levels of antioxidants which are chemicals that help prevent damage caused by free radicals. It is believed that these molecules, free radicals, contribute to the aging process and to diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The more colorful the fruit, the higher the antioxidants!
- Vitamin A (beta carotene) supports the immune system to fight disease and infection and maintains healthy skin.
- Vitamin C (absorbic acid) helps to protect cells and helps with healing wounds. It also maintains healthy bones, skin, blood vessels and cartilage.
- Vitamin E helps to build up the body’s natural defence against illness and also helps to maintain healthy skin and eyes.
- Magnesium helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function and a healthy heart beat as well as many other processes in the body!
- Zinc helps wounds heal and helps to ward off infection, it is also important for taste and smell.
- Phosphorous helps with the formation of bones and teeth and aids nerve and muscle function.
- Potassium can help to maintain healthy blood pressure, regulates fluid balance, nerve signals and muscle contractions.
- Folic acid. If you are deficient in folic acid, you are usually said to have anemia. Folic acid aids red blood cell formation and helps the body produce and maintain new cells
- Fibre Consuming fruit is a great way to increase your fibre intake which is paramount for a healthy digestive system. It also regulates blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- And another plus to eating fruit is that it is naturally low in fat, sodium and calories!
So how much fruit should we eat to reap the benefits?
Adding fruit should be part of a balanced healthy diet. The government recommends eating 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day to really gain the benefit. The advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), recommends eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables a day to lower the risk of serious health problems. This should include a variety of fruit and vegetables. To read more about 5-a-day visit the NHS website here