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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight
- Harvard School of Public Health: Vegetables and Fruits - What Should You Eat?
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Eating fruit can keep you feeling healthy and give you energy throughout the day. Fruit, like most foods you eat, contains calories. Calories are the unit of measurement used to describe how much energy is in food. In addition to calories, fruits also provide vitamin C and antioxidants that are important for your energy levels 1. Fruit should be part of your daily diet if you want to remain energized. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that you eat at least 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit each day to meet your dietary needs..
Fruit contains fructose, which is a simple sugar. Each gram of fructose you consume provides you with 4 calories of energy. Fructose takes longer to digest and enters your stream more slowly than other simple sugars 1. This helps stabilize your blood sugar better than other sugar and starch sources like rice or potatoes. In general, one serving of fruit usually contains around 70 to 100 calories. One medium-sized apple contains 72 calories, while one medium-sized banana contains 105 calories. Blueberries have 83 calories per cup, grapes contain 100 calories per cup and pineapple has 83 calories per cup. .
Fruit also provides you with a significant amount of antioxidants, which protect you from harmful free radicals. Free radicals are byproducts of using oxygen in your body for certain cellular functions. Antioxidants react with the free radicals to negate their harmful effects. Keeping your cells healthy keeps you feeling energized and prevents you from feeling rundown from the damage these free radicals can cause. Prunes, raisins, blueberries, strawberries, plums and oranges contain some of the highest antioxidant amounts among fruits.
Vitamin C is not only an antioxidant, but it also keeps you feeling energized by boosting your immune system. This will keep you from getting illnesses like the flu, and if you do get sick, you will recovery in a shorter amount of time. Fruits contain other nutrients such as fiber, folate, vitamin A and potassium. These nutrients are also important for regular metabolic function. Deficiency in these nutrients can leave you feeling rundown as your body struggles to operate without them.
As registered dietitian Terese Scollard points out on the Providence Health & Services website, you can eat too much fruit. The calories in fruit must factor in to your daily caloric needs. If you eat an excessively large amount of fruit, you can gain weight, which can make you feel lethargic. Individuals who are performing endurance-based cardiovascular exercise should also avoid fruit prior to and during their workouts for energy purposes. When you exercise, blood is diverted from your digestive system to your muscles. This can cause stomach cramps. Fruit also requires a large amount of water to be digested properly. Poor digestion during exercise combined with the high water requirement can cause you to have diarrhea if you have eaten fruit prior to or during your workout.
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