Doctor’s Tip: Non-berry fruits are good for you too
In last week’s column the numerous health benefits of berries were discussed. The column today is about other fruit, which is the 10th of Dr. Michael Greger’s daily dozen from his book “How Not to Die,” and is the last of the foods he says we should be eating every day for optimal health.
Next week’s column will be about the fluids we should be drinking daily, and the final column in this series will discuss Dr. Greger’s recommendation for exercise, which will complete his “daily dozen.”
Dr. Greger notes that few Americans eat the amount of fruit recommended by guidelines. He recommends three servings a day, with a serving size being one medium-sized fruit such as an apple or pear or orange; 1 cup of cut-up fruit; or ¼ cup of dried fruit. Among his favorite non-berry fruits are apples, dried apricots, cantaloupe, clementines, dates, dried figs, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwifruit, lemons, limes, lychees, mangos, nectarines, oranges, papaya, passion fruit, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums (especially black ones), pluots, pomegranates, prunes, tangerines and watermelon.
Here are a few tips about fruit, from “How Not to Die”:
• Watermelon has few antioxidants but the seeds do, so avoid seedless and eat the seeds.
• Watermelon contains a compound called citrulline that boosts the activity of an enzyme that works like Viagra, and yellow watermelon has more of this than red.
• Kiwifruit helps with insomnia, the dose being two, one hour before bedtime. It also boosts immune function.
• Rarely a person is allergic to kiwifruit.
• Citrus helps with DNA repair. Certain citrus compounds concentrate in breast tissue and help prevent breast cancer, and there are more of these in the peel. So eat an orange or half a grapefruit every morning as part of your breakfast, and include some orange peel. You can grate your own peel, but if you do, be sure to buy organic and wash the fruit before grating. Another option is to buy a bag of organic, grated orange peel at Vitamin Cottage.
• Grapefruit can affect the metabolism of certain pharmaceuticals such as some statins. So if you’re taking a statin, check with your provider or pharmacist to see if you need to limit your intake of grapefruit.
People often wonder if they should limit fruit because of the sugar it contains. Someone asked Dr. Greger this question after his talk at the Colorado Veg Fest in Denver recently, and he said that the only way you’re going to hurt yourself with fruit is if you drop a 20-pound watermelon on your foot.
Sugar from eating whole fruit is not harmful, but avoid fruit juices. Even if you make your own orange juice, your blood sugar rises sharply when you drink it, which leads to many problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This does not occur if you eat an orange. For this and other reasons, it is best to chew your fruit rather than drink it by juicing or making a smoothie.
Dr. Feinsinger, who retired from Glenwood Medical Associates after 42 years as a family physician, now has a nonprofit Center For Prevention and Treatment of Disease Through Nutrition. He is available for free consultations about heart attack prevention and any other medical concerns. Call 970-379-5718 for an appointment. For questions about his columns, email him at email@example.com.
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