By Ella Leché
There's no doubt that eating fruit is important to our overall health and wellbeing. Fruit is healthy for you, we all know that, but, it's good to know that eating it should follow some general guidelines to fully benefit our health. It's just not as simple as putting it into our mouths whenever we feel like it. Learn about the proper ways to eat fruit and your whole body will thank you with less digestive problems and tons more energy.
Incorporating fruit into our diet, the proper way, gives our digestive system more powerful benefits through vitamin intake and improved digestion. Looking at the nutrition of fruit, most fruits are a great source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C and folate and so much more. Their nutrients help guard against disease, lower rates of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. However, eating fruit carelessly without any nutritional knowledge could bring on more problems to our health than benefits. Here is the major rule about eating fruit:
Fruit should be eaten alone or with other fruit on an empty stomach.
This is because when fruit is eaten, the digestive process works very quickly and our body uses different enzymes to digest the fruit. The simple sugars contained in fruit need time to be completely absorbed by your body. When fruits are eaten alone, your stomach can more easily process all of the nutrients, fibre and the simple sugars contained in the fruit. This is the optimal 'proper way' to benefit from the fruit you eat. If you eat fruit close to a meal, especially right after a larger meal and combine with other foods, it's held in the stomach too long along with other foods and will rot and ferment in the gut. If you experience indigestion, heartburn, burping and and other digestive discomforts and you blame on the meal - it could be the combination of the food, the fermentation with fruit that causes your upset stomach. If left uncontrolled it could lead to other health problems that stem from the digestive tract.
Applying this rule is very simple. We eat approximately 3 large meals a day, so space out your fruit servings in between. If this means you need to glance at the clock occasionally and calculate when you could eat the apple you brought along with you, then you do that. And aim to have it about 1 hour before a meal, or 2 hours after your meal. For heavier meals, like pasta or burgers, you need to let that food digest for even longer before you add fruit with all its acid into your stomach, about 3-4 hours. If you've just had a mixed green salad for lunch, same rules apply but for a much shorter time, about 1.5 hours.
The best time to eat a bounty of fruit is either first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, or as a mid-morning snack (which I prefer) - in between breakfast and lunch. It's a good idea, to just eat more fruit at one time, whether it's fruit salad, an apple or a fruit smoothie. (3-4 servings of fruit is a proper daily requirement, that's 2 1/2 - 2 cups of fruit). If you feel very hungry after your fruit servings, pay attention to what you've had for breakfast and maybe your meal planning needs to be adjusted. You should be able to wait it out about 1-2 hours with success. That will ensure all the fruit is processed and gone into your body to do what it's supposed to do.
Definitely avoid eating fruit close to bedtime as there's plenty of sugar in fruit to spike up your energy and keep you up when you need your sleep.
Smoothie lovers! It is fine to consume nut milk or coconut milk with fruit, but in small amounts and not every time. Therefore, nut butters, nut milk, or non-dairy yogourt (such as soy) will not strain the digestive system too much. And adding a single serving of a low-glycemic fruit, such as an apple to your green smoothie will be fine and will not create a lot of problems for you as long as you keep the fruit serving to a minimum and it too is consumed apart from a larger meal. However, ideally it is best to stick with eating raw fruit alone - or leave alone!
Dried fruit holds the same recommendations. Keep in mind it's also too sweet and too addictive. Limiting portions of the dried fruit you eat is essential - think of a date as a special occasion ;)
If you do eat fruit on an empty stomach, you will gain the proper nutrients that fruit - nature's perfect gift - will offer to your health and wellbeing. You will avoid most digestive problems, feel energized, promote weight loss and you'll look and feel fantastic because your body will be fully absorbing all the vitamins, fiber and healthy carbohydrates that it needs to function in good health.
Published May 30, 2012 at 11:20 AM