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Sweet and Healthy

Fruit: The Natural Choice for Great Health

Six tips for adding more fruit to your diet

My love of fruit goes back to my early years. As a child, I would pick apples, cherries, and other fruits right from the trees. Mom would often prepare my favorite, fruit dumplings: She'd wrap apricots, strawberries, or blueberries in dough and plop them in boiling water to cook. Sometimes I'd eat 10 of them. One time for lunch at school, I devoured 27 apricot dumplings.

Eating fruit is a part of my heritage and part of the reason I feel ageless. You see, fruit is nature's total package of healthy plant chemicals and nutrients. Its antioxidants fight cell damage and disease. Its fiber promotes a healthy digestive system and helps control cholesterol levels. And when people eat more fruit (high in water but low in calories), they automatically eat fewer foods that are less healthy, and they take in fewer calories. Weight loss is the happy result.

I don't want to tell you to eat a certain number of fruits a day, because for some people, numbers seem unattainable. But I will give you these six tips for adding more fruit to your diet and reaping its great benefits. Here goes:

  • Try an exotic new fruit every week or so. Until I came to the states, I had never eaten a mango (I had never heard of a mango!), but I tried one—and now I'm addicted. You just never know what new taste treat you might discover.
  • Enjoy mostly raw fruits for maximum health benefits. Raw fruits assist in better digestion, help control LDL cholesterol (the kind that gums up arteries), normalize blood pressure, help your skin look younger, and (may) reduce the severity of inflammation in conditions such as arthritis.
  • Sneak fruit into your meals in clever ways. Enjoy fresh fruit for snacks; top pancakes, waffles, or cereal with fresh fruit; or have fruit or a fruit salad for dessert instead of something sugary.
  • Reach for fresh fruit instead of a candy bar to quell your sweet cravings. Fruit is naturally sweet and will nip your cravings in the bud.
  • Choose fresh, locally grown fruits when you can. Once they're plucked from the vine or harvested from the ground, their antioxidant power starts to dwindle.
  • "Drink" your fruits. Juicing delivers a concentrated amount of quickly absorbed nutrients to improve performance. I've noticed that I'm much more energetic in the morning if I start the day with a fresh juice. Try two of the simplest fruit-juice combos I know (some will require a juicer): orange-grapefruit juice (two oranges and one grapefruit) or triple-citrus juice (two oranges, ½ grapefruit, and ½ lemon). Fruit smoothies are just as beneficial as juices. Try peeling and freezing some ripe bananas, and use them in smoothies for an ice cream-like treat.

Trust me, try some of my suggestions, and you'll soon feel the difference in your body. You'll feel lighter, stronger, and more vibrant. Your body will release toxins. You may lose weight. And your skin will look younger (that's an outward sign of inner rejuvenation). You'll also think more clearly and creatively. Start harnessing fruit's health power today.

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