4. What’s in fruit
Fruits are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Ideally we get our vitamins and minerals from food and don’t need to rely on a multivitamin supplement. It would be challenging to consume all of the vitamins and minerals we need each day without eating fruit. Fruit is packed with vitamin C, folate, potassium, and vitamin A.
Vitamin C is found in orange, yellow, red and green fruits (and veggies). It is necessary for growth and repair of our cartilage, bone and teeth and it aids in the absorption of iron (which is related to how energetic we feel). It is also an antioxidant, so blocks damage done by free radicals – which contribute to aging, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.
Folate is important for all of us, but especially important for infants and women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
Potassium is an important mineral (and electrolyte). In the body, it helps regulate fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction. Potassium plays an important role in maintaining a healthy blood pressure and reducing high blood pressure, thus reducing risk for stroke.
Vitamin A is known as the “vision vitamin” because it promotes good vision, especially in dim light.
Fiber helps us feel fuller longer, with fewer blood sugar swings, and it’s heart healthy because it helps lower blood cholesterol. Fiber also helps with digestion, including regular bowel movements. The average American fiber intake is 15 grams per day – about half of what we need to consume in order to receive the benefits of fiber. Adults up to age 50 need between 25 (women) and 38 (men) grams of fiber per day (men over 50 need 30 grams per day and women over 50 need 21 grams per day). One piece of fruit contains 3 to 4 grams of fiber.
The natural sugar in fruit is sometimes targeted as the bad guy when it comes to weight or health concerns. Natural sugar is very different than “added sugar”, which is used in processed food. If you are trying to watch your sugar intake, fruit is not a source of excessive sugar.
5. How fruit can HELP with weight management
Multiple factors contribute to satiety (satisfying eating experience + fullness), including flavor, macronutrient profile (carbs + protein + fat = satiety), and volume. Fruit has relevance to each of these qualities: Fruit tastes sweet, fruit contains carbohydrate, and due to its high water content and fiber content, fruit has volume.