Do you ever wonder why we need to eat so much fruit each day? How did the experts come up with the number of recommended servings anyway? According to Christine Filardo, M.S., R.D. and spokeswoman for the Produce for Better Health Foundation, "the best nutrition minds in the country made these recommendations after studying the research that show fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk for heart disease, type II diabetes, some cancers, and high blood pressure." Not to mention, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a natural source of energy, helps to promote weight management and fights obesity.
Looking for a sure-fire way to tempt your fruity side? Try dicing up some colorful fruits like pineapples, mangos, grapes, star fruits, strawberries, kiwis and bananas and putting them on decorative skewers. When you eat a wide range of colors, your body also receives a wide range of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber and folate. Stick these scrumptious fruit kabobs in the front of your fridge so you are sure to see them anytime you reach for a snack.
Whip up a yummy fruit salad with all your favorites and pack a bowl to eat with your lunch at work each day. Or toss it over some granola and yogurt in the morning for a hearty breakfast treat. When you get hungry in the evenings before bed, reach for a cool, refreshing bowl of fruit salad. Sprinkle with a handful of nuts or a dollop of whipped cream for a decadent but healthy dessert.
Do you like to eat cereal in the mornings? How about slicing up some bananas or tossing a handful of fresh berries in your bowl? Are you a pancake junkie? Try adding some delicious blueberries to your pancakes or waffles. Or make a homemade fruit compote and drizzle it on top of your French Toast instead of syrup. Love muffins? It's a cinch to add lots of fruit to any sweetbread recipe. Not only can you add fresh or dried fruits, but you can replace the oil in just about any recipe with applesauce, pumpkin or sweet potato. Yum!
It's important to make sure that you eat at least some of your fruit because most commercial juices tend to remove the pulp, which diminishes the fiber content. Fiber is the indigestible part of all plants that helps your digestive tract to function efficiently. Studies show that eating a diet rich in fiber fights many chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders, obesity and some cancers.
However, if you choose to make your own fruit juices or smoothies, you can leave the pulp in and get all the benefits of the whole fruit. Try some of these tasty smoothie recipes and you can knock out several servings from your daily quota in one delicious glass.
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