An apple a day just doesn’t cut it anymore, and too many apples could make you fat.
That’s the advice of Iva Young, a nutritional expert who warns that the wrong kinds of fruits can actually do more harm than good.
“We really should be smart about the fruits we consume,” said Young, author of Healthy Mom (www.ivayoung.com). “After all, remember that fruits are very similar to breads, pastas, rice, and other high carbohydrate-rich foods in that fruits are high in carbs. That is one reason why we should only consume a certain amount, and choose the fruits that are lower in sugar. If you pick the right fruits and eat the proper portions, then you will give your body what it needs and it will benefit greatly from your efforts.”
So, which fruits offer the biggest health boost? Young named the following fruits, all of which are comparatively low in sugar, as her top five:
* Raspberries – Raspberries are an excellent source of fiber, offering 30 percent of our recommended daily value, 8 grams per serving. Raspberries are also a rich source of vitamin C, with about 50 percent of our daily value. In addition, they are a rich source of manganese, delivering 60 percent of what we should have each day. Raspberries rank near the top of all fruits for antioxidant strength and contain many anti-disease properties if consumed regularly, helping to fight against inflammation, chronic pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, allergies, age-related cognitive decline and eyesight degeneration associated with aging.
* Blackberries – Blackberries are notable for their high nutritional contents of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, and manganese. Blackberries are well-ranked for having strong antioxidant levels, and they also contain copious amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
* Kiwi – Kiwi is a rich source of vitamin C and vitamin K, which is a natural blood thinner. It’s also a good source of potassium, just slightly less than that of a banana. Potassium is one of those nutrients that’s absolutely essential for heart health, yet many people don’t get nearly enough. Kiwi also delivers a mild laxative effect, possibly because of the high level of dietary fiber.
* Strawberries – Strawberries are low in calories compared to many other fruits, and are a good source of fiber. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C and flavonoids, promoting lots of antioxidant activity in the body.
* Oranges – Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin A and C, along with powerful antioxidants. Oranges also provide a good source of fiber when the pulp is consumed. The white pith of the orange also contains flavonoids, and some doctors are even using extracts from the pith to help fight certain types of cancer.
“Sugar is also something that you should keep your eye on, because it affects the health of your teeth and the functioning of your hormones, specifically leptin,” she added. “Leptin is the important hormone responsible for telling the body that you should stop eating. With excess amounts of sugar in your body, the amount of leptin is diminished, which causes you to overeat. Excess sugar also has been known to cause intestinal issues increasing the chances of bloating, which causes your stomach to stick out and look like you have extra fat. That’s how consuming too many sugar-rich fruits can actually make you look fat, and make you feel less healthy than if you didn’t eat any fruits at all.”
Young was born in Munich, Germany, and her family moved to Toronto, Canada, when she was two years old. Her parents grew up in Croatia, so she grew up eating traditional high-fat Croatian and German meals. That upbringing helped spark her passion for nutrition and natural health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and health promotion from California Polytechnic University.
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