Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fruits for longevity

Fruits should be eaten to maintain a healthy life, not as a substitute for normal food — Dr. Naveen Kumar
Among all the foods available, fruits are the most delicious and enjoyable to the senses. Fruits are rich in all the essential vitamins, minerals and water content. But very few people give much importance to them as most of them think it can not sustain a hard-working person.
According to Dr. Naveen Kumar of Dr. Naveen’s Health & Diet Care Centre, people who are obese can skip breakfast and consume fruits like Papaya, Melons, Pineapple, Grapes, Apple etc.
Fruits are rarely seen as staple food; instead they are eaten as snack or dessert. Many people consider fruits as nutritious and eat whenever they feel hungry. But the nutrition content of the fruits vary. Melons have less calories, while Bananas contain more. Eating a small cantaloupe (200 calories) can help one sustain for a short time, but eating dried fruits and nuts can sustain a person for a longer time.
Eating fruits on an empty stomach before meals are good, because fruits are rich in sugar called fructose and they don’t combine with other foods, they do not even require much digestion and hence do not stay in the stomach for long.
But if a person consumes fruits just after a meal, the fruit sugar will stay for a longer time in the stomach along with other foods and gets fermented. Especially when one consumes foods which are rich in fat, proteins and starch, it will stay in the stomach for a longer period and require more digestion causing fermentation (upset of the stomach).
This is the reason why some people experience digestion problems when they eat fruits just after consuming food and they blame it on the fruit saying it might be allergic.
Diet: Instead of skipping meals and consuming only fruits, maintain a balanced diet. Avoid rice for dinner at night; eat cha-pathi, ragi dosa, rava idli and ragi ball. For patients who are obese, this diet is very useful as fruits help in burning fat.
How much to eat: Chapathi - Medium size two; a small bowl of rice with vegetable curry and butter milk for afternoon meal. Later consume fruits which are less in calories. Obese people should avoid banana, dates, cherries and mangoes as they are rich in calories.
Fruits are ideal food after exercise: There is nothing better than oranges, grapes, pineapple or melons after a workout as they are rich in water content and sugar, which the body requires after an exercise. These fruits contain enough water to hydrate the body and the natural sugars are quickly absorbed to replenish the energy.
Natural sugars provide the much needed energy required by the body. When starchy foods like potatoes and bread are eaten, the digestive enzymes in the stomach have to break down complex sugar (starch) into simpler sugars. But when fruits are eaten, the body absorbs the simple sugars (fructose) directly, without need of breaking them down any further.
Fresh fruits don’t cause tooth decay as they contain lots of fiber and water along with natural sugar. The combined effect of fiber and water rinses and cleans the mouth.
But when fruits are dried, water content will be less and they stick to teeth and gums causing tooth decay. Drink juices at least once. But if you filter and drink, the natural fibers are no longer present to clean the teeth. As long as we eat entire fresh fruits with all of its natural water content and fiber, we will get the maximum benefit out of them. Diabetics are advised to get medical help.
Many people sustain only on fruits instead of meals. It’s a bad habit. Living on fruit alone will deteriorate health.
Fruit stimulates our memories: Fruits have a positive effect on the brain and makes us to recall information quickly and easily.
Fruits are free of cholesterol: Fruits don’t contain much cholesterol, unlike meat and dairy products which contain a lot of cholesterol.
Fruits help to come out of depression: If one consumes substantial amount of fresh fruits on a regular basis, one can get out of depression. Slowly but surely, eating lot of fruits has a mysterious healing effect.
Other health benefits: Lesser chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis and cancers of the bowel and lungs.
Weight control: Fruit contains plenty of vitamins and minerals, which keeps a person healthy. As they are low in fats and calories, they are ideal to keep weight in control.
Benefits of eating fruits
• Fruits are rich sources of vitamins, not available in any other food. They contains more anti-oxidants.
• A fruit is the best source of natural sugars required to produce energy needed by the body.
• Fruits are easy to digest.
• Fruits are alkaline forming, while grains,
meat, fish are acid-forming.
• Fruits contain lots of fiber, which is necessary for optimum digestion.
• People who eat lots of fresh fruits live longer.
[Wednesday 28th October 2009]

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