What is the best investment you can make with regards to your health and the health of your family? It is not a treadmill or a gym membership. It is not life insurance. It is not supplement. It is fruit. Colorful fresh or freshly frozen fruit. The red, purple, orange, pink, green and yellows that you see are actually the nutrients. The reds and purples are flavonoids, the orange and yellow are carotenoids and the greens are chlorophyll. Fruit also contains a lot of water that helps to keep you hydrated and is a much better option than sports drinks.
The carotenoids are precursors to vitamin A. Taking too much vitamin A as a supplement can be toxic as it can cause bone thinning, dry skin and even liver cancer. Eating fruit provides just the right amount of precursor that the body can handle to make the vitamin A that it needs and no more. Eating orange and yellow fruits provide carotenoids that help protect against cancer particularly lung and skin. So eat your papaya, cantaloupe, peaches, mamay spapote, and oranges.
Flavonoids are found in berries, bananas, and citrus. They have strong anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, anti-oxidative, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Translated, they decrease the risk of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis or DNA damage resulting in cancer. Interestingly, they protect the plant first from fungi, bacteria and against low temperatures. In humans they decrease cardiovascular mortality rate and coronary heart disease. These compounds have been shown to have anti-cholinesterase activity which is useful in the treatment of attention deficit disorders and may improve your mood.
Chlorophyll is what gives fruits and vegetables the green color. It is what the plant uses to absorb sunlight and turn it into energy. The structure is very similar to hemoglobin with the only difference being a magnesium substituted for iron. So yes, fruit is a wonderful magnesium supplement. Chlorophyll is affective against colon cancer and stimulates apoptosis which is self destruction of the tumor. It helps to decrease the absorption of toxins into the body and protects against DNA damage in the first place. It’s antioxidant properties help to decrease the pain associated with inflammation in arthritis and fibromyalgia. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals. It may even be effective in the treatment of insomnia by it’s calming properties.
So what is stopping so many people from eating fruit? I was blueberry picking last week and overheard a mother telling her young son to stop eating the blueberries!! He was about 4 or 5 and I thought to myself, those blueberries are the most nutrition thing that child will probably eat all day. How many did she think he would eat. No one over eats fruit. We stop because we are satisfied nutritionally. Besides all of the nutrients above, fruit is a clean source of energy. Nothing is better after a vigorous workout than fruit to hydrate, restore glucose stores, and decrease exercise induced inflammation.
The cost is often a perceived deterrent to buying fresh or frozen fruit. The reality is that most fruits cost $1.50 to $3.00 a pound which amounts to a lot of fruit and a tremendous health benefit. Dried cereal is $1.60 to $2.00 a pound with minimal absorbable nutrients. What if you compare fruit to something I see in almost every cart at the grocery store; tortilla chips. They are a whopping $2.42 a pound on average with no nutritional value but they do have significant fat and salt. People do not think twice about eating a chip that is laid out at a gathering but will refrain from that perceived sugar in a piece of fruit. What if we compare the price of fruit to vitamins or protein bars? Fruit is just a transportable with the nutrients more readily being absorbed. No extra sugar or oils either. How about the cost savings from eliminating medications? The insurance industry and pharmaceutical industry hide the cost of medications in inflated insurance premiums and market to the public as free or for a small copay. The general consensus is that you might as well take mediations if you are already paying for them with high insurance premiums. And so the beat goes on.
I have had patients with diabetes tell me they have not had fruit in years. It is not the fruit that drives those glucose numbers up. It is the oil and fat associated with processed foods and animal products. Eating fruit instead of fatty processed foods is one of the most healthy things a person with diabetes can do. We all have taste buds for sweet things. Why not satisfy yourself with fruit instead of a processed oily treat.
So what can you do to decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer, vascular disease and diabetes at a very economical cost? Eat fruit and include the reds and purple fruits each day.
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