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What Makes Fruits A Healthy Choice?

By Expert Author: Deepak A Ganesh

We all know that fruits are healthy. But do you know why they are said to be healthy? Let's discuss this in this article.

Magic ingredients of fruits: Fruits contain essential nutrients that a human body cannot produce by itself. These nutrients aid the body in performing various normal and metabolic activities. So, let us check what the magic ingredients are and how they help the body.

•Vitamins and minerals: Vitamins are chemical compounds and minerals are chemical elements which assist the body in number of processes - to control the chemical reactions, to use the energy nutrients; to strengthen the bones, etc. Both vitamins and minerals are essential for the body.

Our body needs 13 essential vitamins and 16 essential minerals to perform different functions. Fruits contain large amounts of vitamins like A, C, B, E, K and minerals like potassium, calcium, phosphorous, manganese and iron. Concentration of these nutrients depends on the type of fruit. For instance, citrus fruits like orange, mango are rich in Vitamin C.

•Fibre: Fruits are rich in soluble dietary fibre which helps cleanse wastes and toxins from the body. The edible skin of many fruits contain substantial amounts of fibre which helps lower cholesterol, prevent constipation and decrease the risk of bowel cancers and other illnesses. Apples, Oranges, Bananas are rich in fibre.

•Simple sugars: Fruits contain simple sugars which the body can easily convert into energy with the help of oxygen. Burning sugars using oxygen releases water and Co2 from which the body uses the water and disposes the Co2. Since the energy burning process of fruits releases no toxic wastes, no further energy is required to process those wastes. Thus, fruits are digested much quickly. Hence fruits are a quick, clean and easy way to extract energy.

•Essential amino acids: Many people have a false belief that fruits do not provide protein. But the fact is that proteins contain amino acids and our body uses 22 amino acids to make 50,000 different proteins. Out of 22 there are 8 amino acids which the body cannot synthesize by itself. They are termed as essential amino acids and we need to supply them through food. There are many fruits that contain all these 8 amino acids and hence provide the essential protein required by the body. Fruits like Banana, Tomato and Cucumber do have all the 8 amino acids.

•Anti-oxidants: Anti-oxidants include Vitamin A, C, E or some plant chemicals like flavonoids, and carotenoids or a mineral such as selenium. Anti-oxidants help the body fight against the harmful effects of free radicals that damage various body cells and cause degenerative-diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, cataracts, etc. Many fruits contain various anti-oxidants which protect the body from all such diseases. Among fruits, Guava is found to have high anti-oxidant value.

•Phytonutrients: The bright colour of the fruits is because of the pigment called phytonutrient. Phytonutrients are extremely powerful anti-oxidants that protect the body from cell damage and also help promote healthy aging. They may also act as antibacterial or antiviral agents. Mangoes, melons, citrus fruits, etc., are rich in phytonutrients.

Additional benefits of eating fruits

•Fruits are 100% cholesterol-free and are also very low in calories

•Fruits contain 80% of water and no other food can provide that much of water as fruits do

•The natural sugars in the fruits show a positive effect on the brain cells and hence help think and recollect faster

•Fruits provide the roughage and fibre which help the body in eliminating wastes

•The anti-oxidant property of fruits helps in preventing chronic diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, etc.

•Regular consumption of freshly squeezed fruit juice helps come out of depression in a long run

•Regular intake of fruits prevent or at least prolong the natural changes of aging by protecting and rejuvenating the body cells which cause aging

•Fruits help in weight management

•Fruits help the body to detoxify, i.e., eliminate the toxic wastes from the body

Recommended intake of fruits

According to the latest dietary guidelines of Harvard School of Public Education, minimum 5 servings i.e., 2 ˝ cups of fruits a day are recommended.

Make sure that fruits are pesticide free

These days many fruits are exposed to higher concentrations of pesticides. They may pose some health hazards if consumed without washing thoroughly. Especially, children and pregnant women are more vulnerable to effects of pesticides. Hence, you should properly wash fruits with plenty of water until the residues of pesticides are completely washed away.

Health section at Living Smartly website offers informative articles on health and wellness. It provides health tips and interesting facts on healthcare

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