Whether you follow a raw vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous diet, fresh fruits and vegetables always make it to the top of your menu. No diet plan is ever complete without this ubiquitous food. We eat food not just to satisfy our hunger, but also to keep our body and mind healthy. As an old adage goes, we are what we eat.
The recent advancements in food processing technology provide us with a wide range of food options to choose from. They certainly taste better and fill our stomachs. We can’t even imagine our modern lifestyle without fast food. But there is a darker side to it.
Our food habit is killing us. Countless words have been spent on that topic. But today, we would like to focus on how we can start taking control of our diet to lead a healthy life. Let’s start by switching to healthy alternatives, and there is none as healthy as consuming whole fruits.
What Are Whole Fruits?
Whole fruit is when you consume the fruit in its entirety, from the outer skin to the flesh and inner pulp. Each of these layers is loaded with different types of essential nutrients. You are leaving out the best part of your diet if you have the habit of discarding any of those parts of the fruits.
To put it in perspective, the unpeeled fruits have more nutrients than you can imagine. The fruit skin is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and flavonoids. Similarly, the flesh contains vitamins and minerals, and the pulp houses almost 95 percent of the total fiber and half of the total nutrients found in many fruits and veggies.
Studies on food nutrition reveal that a raw whole apple comes with comparatively more nutritional value, such as vitamin A (142 percent), vitamin C (115 percent), vitamin K (332 percent), calcium (20 percent), and potassium (19 percent). As you can see, the numbers speak for themselves.
Each of these parts of fruits interacts with each other to ensure that you get the most out of the fruits you consume. Your body reacts positively to the whole fruits by better absorbing and digesting them.
Some people prefer fresh fruit juice instead of whole fruits. They argue that it is an easier alternative and the nutritional benefits are the same. Well, they are not wrong.
Let’s Talk About Fruit Juice
Unlike whole fruits, fruit juice is mainly processed from the flesh part of the fruits. Although it retains some nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, you will be missing out on the fiber content found in the pulp and skin of the fruit.
The effect of juicing is evident in the drink’s sugar concentration. Fruit juices have a higher Glycemic Index (rate of blood sugar spike due to carbohydrates in food) than whole fruits. They are instantly absorbed by your body.
As a result, you won’t feel that satiated after drinking juices. But you will be intaking a relatively higher amount of sugar and calories. The “healthy” drink might be taking you one step closer to the risk of type 2 diabetes and weight gain.
Don’t fall prey to the claims of packaged juices because they are loaded with artificial sweeteners and preservatives. You have been warned.
If you are still not convinced, the following section will definitely make you change your mind.
Benefits Of Whole Fruits
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. As raw foodism is making it into the modern mainstream of daily life, this age-old proverb has become even more relevant. Not just apples, but all the fruits and vegetables fit into this context.
Energizing And Satiating
Whole fruits are more energizing and satiating than their liquid counterparts. It will satisfy your hunger quickly and the slow release of energy keeps you fueled for longer. It will control your temptation to eat frequently.
Rich In Nutrients
Nutrients are sensitive compounds that are lost when you heat or process the food. Even the juice extraction process will cause damage to the nutritional value of fruits. Including whole fruits in your diet ensures that you are getting all the nutrients in their original state.
By decreasing both the frequency and volume of food consumption, it becomes easier for you to manage your weight. Consuming whole fruits is one of the most effective ways of cutting down on sugar and calorie intake without skipping meals.
High Fiber Content
Whole fruits are very rich in dietary fiber that play a major role in improving digestion, enhancing metabolism, controlling blood sugar levels, and reducing cholesterol. This accompanying nutrient is what keeps the sugar in check, both in our body and the fruits. It slows down the digestion process to keep your hunger at bay for a while. It also regulates the secretion of digestive enzymes to prevent gastritis.
Whole fruits retain phytochemicals in their natural state which have a high level of antioxidant activity. The antimicrobials found in whole fruits are effective against preventing the growth of microorganisms and pathogens responsible for causing cancer, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
What’s The Verdict?
Whole fruits are a nutritional powerhouse. Each layer of the fruits is packed with different nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fibers, natural enzymes, and antioxidants. When you consume them in raw and whole form, your body is able to naturally absorb those nutrients.
The problem starts when you manipulate its natural state. Fruit juices are healthy, but they are low on fiber. Experts advise drinking only natural fruit juice with no additives or preservatives. Keep it moderate to avoid spikes in blood sugar levels that can do more harm than good. It’s recommended that you take no more than a couple of fruit juice in a day.
An alternative is to make fruit juice by yourself at home so that you have greater control over the process. Instead of throwing away the skin and pulp, mix them with the flesh. Add some vegetables as well to enhance the nutritional value of the drink. But nothing is better than consuming raw whole fruits. That’s for sure.