How Fruitful Is Your Fruit Intake?

While nature has created fruits to be eaten, people looking at gaining weight can consume fresh fruit juice also

Since childhood, we have heard that eating fruit everyday is a healthy habit. Fruits are considered an important source of vitamins and energy. However, one can maximise benefits from a food group when taken in a mindful manner.

Most of us consume fruits by eating them whole or as juice. While nature has created fruits to be eaten, people looking at gaining weight can consume fresh fruit juice also. With the same logic, those who want to lose weight should avoid having fruit juices as one glass of juice will have the sugar of 3-4 servings of fruit minus the fibre. You may be surprised to know that there is a direct relationship between fructose intake and serum uric acid levels. Clinical evidence suggests that chronically high uric acid levels may be a risk factor for hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and elevated lipids. It may also impact kidney function, cause diabetes and cognitive decline.

While the best way to boost immunity, longevity and vitality is to eat local and seasonal produce, keeping the following pointers in mind while consuming fruit can go a long way. As per Ayurveda, ripe seasonal fruit turns into rasa, first of the seven body tissues and helps build ojas(vitality).

-  As one of the fundamental rules of food combination, avoid combining melons with any other fruit or food. They are best eaten alone. Have fruits with similar prakriti together, like apple and pear, berries can be had together.

-  Avoid having fruit with or immediately after your main meals. While cutting fruit like melons, mangoes after meals is a common practice in most Indian households, it’s not the best thing for your health. Fruit gets digested quickly and that may lead to slowed digestion and fermentation of the food already eaten, creating a perfect environment for gas and bloating. The minimum gap between a meal and fruit should be 1 hour.

-  Milk and sour fruit is not an ideal combination. Milk and banana is a poor combo that can cause mucus and phlegm build up by aggravating kapha. However, ripe mango  can be combined with milk.

-  Avoid having these 3 fruits- banana, watermelon and guava after sunset.

-  Most of the nutrients are packed in fruit skin, so it's best not to remove the skin of fruits that can be eaten as it is.

-  Avoid combining fruits with vegetables, as they require different time intervals to get digested. So having a smoothie with apple and carrot, or adding pomegranate/ oranges to your vegetable salad may sound exotic but doesn’t do much good for your health.  

-  Pomegranate – Known as fruit of the gods, it’s well documented for its role in many ayurvedic remedies as sweet pomegranate helps balance tridosha (- Kapha, Vata & Pitta) . It’s excellent for people with cardiac issues, and can help cure chronic dysentery. Those who are prone to constipation should avoid chewing pomegranate seeds.

- Grapes/ raisins  are rasayana, that is they help enhance longevity. They are extremely beneficial for blood –related disorders, help raise iron levels and calm down aggravated pitta.

-  Dried fruit – raisins, prunes, dates, figs also constitute fruit intake in a more concentrated form of energy. These can be combined with milk as ojas(vitality) building food.

-  Avoid fruits when having fever/ cold and congestion, acute pain.

-  Packaged fruit juices are best avoided. Those consuming fruit juice should have them within 15-20 minutes of extraction to avoid oxidation of nutrients.

While Fruits are certainly a powerhouse of nutrients, avoid being on a fruit-only diet all day, like practiced by fruitarians or people who fast, thinking this will help them detox or drop weight faster. A diet devoid of macronutrients like protein may not be sustainable in the long run.

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