Healthful fruits don’t have to be exotic or expensive. You just need to eat them every day for wellness.
Why eat fruit?
Almost half of Australians don’t eat the recommended daily serving of fruit. Yet fruit works wonders for your health in so many ways. For example, fruit has unparalleled benefits for stroke prevention. In a meta-analysis of seven population studies, each additional daily serving decreased the risk of stroke by 11 per cent. Fruit also protects against heart attack and improves lung function by dampening inflammation in the body. This is especially important for those who have asthma or emphysema.
Eating more fruit (and vegetables) may also be the secret to maintaining your natural, youthful beauty, according to a study from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where higher intakes were correlated with measureable differences in skin tone and increased ratings of attractiveness by others.
A minimum of two servings is required daily, but more is better (for example, one serving is one apple or two plums or one-and-a-half tablespoons of sultanas). Variety is also important. Different fruits are rich in different nutrients.
And don’t skip on fruit if you’re trying to lose weight or have diabetes. A clinical study published in Nutrition Journal found that people who ate at least two pieces of fruit per day over a three-month period did not experience any more negative effects on their average blood sugar than those who ate no more than two pieces per day. The researchers also recommended that fruit should not be restricted in people with diabetes. They should just spread it out over the day and eat it whole, not juiced.
- All fruits are beneficial, not just the exotic ones. Buy what’s in season to get the best flavour and value.
- Fresh, frozen or dried fruit also counts. Eating fruit almost exclusively after a main meal is a traditional Mediterranean custom.
- Buy organic where possible, and keep the skin on. Research shows that apple with its skin intact blocks cancer cell growth more powerfully because there are more phytonutrients in the skin than in the flesh.
- Citrus fruits may be particularly good to fight cancer, whereas berries seem ideal for diabetes and preventing dementia.
So eat up and enjoy the multiple benefits of these natural health foods.
Baked apples with almonds and apricots
The apples have a low glycaemic index (GI) and the nuts and seeds will further reduce the impact of the total carbohydrates on your blood sugar level.
Preparation time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 45 mins | Serves: 6
- 6 large green apples, washed and cored
- 2 tbsp almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1 tbsp white chia seeds
- 4 dried apricot halves, finely chopped
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp honey
- ¾ cup apricot nectar
- Preheat the oven to 190°C.
- Cut a slit around the middle of each apple like a ring to prevent it from exploding as it cooks.
- Combine almonds, chia seeds, apricots and cinnamon and mix through the honey.
- Fill the hollowed centre of each apple with the mixture and press down firmly.
- Place the apples in a baking dish, adding the nectar to the bottom of the dish.
- Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until the apples are lightly browned but still retain their shape. Serve hot, drizzling the apples with the reduced sauce from the baking dish or chill and enjoy the next day as a cold dessert or snack. Top with a dollop of low fat yogurt or cashew nut cream.
PER SERVE: Energy 639 kJ (153 cal). Fat 3 g. Protein 2 g. Saturated fat 0 g. Carbohydrate 30 g. Fibre 5 g. Cholesterol 0 mg. Calcium 37 mg. Iron 1 mg.