FRUITS – when to Eat and How?

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Fruits are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates etc. They help in improving our digestive ability, provide essential nutrients to guard against disease, improve our immunity, decrease high blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and detoxify our body. Hence fruits are an important food group and should be eaten with care or else they can cause health problems instead of health benefits.
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Follow these simple rules while eating fruit *Fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach :* Contrary to what you may have heard, eating fruit on an empty stomach CANNOT cause greying of hair or baldness or manic depression or mood swings or dark circles under the eyes or frequent urination or…or…or… !!!

The reason why fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach and not immediately after meals is because fruits contain fructose, a simple sugar which has to be completely absorbed by the body. If however, you choose to eat fruit along with or immediately after a meal, it will stay in your stomach for a long time and rot and ferment in your intestine. This will lead to indigestion, hyperacidity, bloating, gas, burping and general discomfort. So if you have been complaining of burping after eating a slice of watermelon or bloating after eating jackfruit or heartburn after eating an orange, it could be because you are eating fruit too close to eating a main meal.

*Eat fruits between breakfast and lunch or between lunch and dinner :*

This will prevent the blood sugar spike which normally happens when fruit is eaten immediately after a meal. It will also prevent you from eating unhealthy snacks in between main meals. Aim to eat fruit at least an hour before a main meal…the digestive enzymes from the fruit will aid in the digestion of your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Else eat fruit 2-3 hours after breakfast or lunch in order to prevent fruit from mixing with partially digested food and causing intestinal gas.

*Avoid eating fruits immediately after dinner or at bedtime : *

Most people say they eat fruit after dinner to curb sweet cravings and to prevent them from reaching out to that bowl of icecream or that bar of chocolate. However the sugar in fruit can cause energy levels to spike at night and prevent you from getting good sleep at night.

*Limit your intake of dried fruit :*

Dates, raisins, prunes, dried figs, dried apricots etc are all excellent for the body…when eaten in small amounts. They provide a concentrated form of sugar and can be very addictive. Sulphur dioxide is used to preserve dried fruit and it can be harmful to asthmatics and those people with respiratory problems. Opt for freeze-dried fruits instead or eat fresh fruit.

*Fruits like oranges, strawberries and sweet limes do not cause heartburn :*
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In fact when we consume acidic fruits, the body produces more alkalis to neutralize the pH and these fruits become alkaline in the body.

*Eating a whole fruit is much better than drinking fruit juice : *

Eat freshly cut fruit to enjoy the benefits of vitamins, minerals and the fiber that the fruit provides. It will also provide the body with lesser sugar than that provided from a glass of juice which uses a minimum of 4 fruits. If however you are craving for a glass of fruit juice the opt for one which is freshly extracted and not strained.

*Avoid eating cooked fruit : *

Heating or cooking fruit destroys its vitamin content. The vitamin C in fruits is so heat-sensitive that simple cutting a guava for eg and leaving it on your table for an hour will reduce its vitamin C content.

So delve into that fruit bowl to feel energized, look radiant and to stay in shape.

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Dietitian Nalini, winner of Best Diet Consultant in Chandigarh award for 2 consecutive years – 2014 and 2015, has helped hundreds of people achieve their weight loss goals. A Post Graduate in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Nalini says that in order to lose weight effectively, you have to eat!

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