The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study which was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is the largest analysis of risk factors for death and disease in history. Almost 500 researchers from more than 300 institutions in 50 countries worked on this study.
In the USA, the study determined that the leading cause of death and disability was the American diet, followed by smoking! This is mirrored in Canadian statistics. Not eating enough fruit was one of the worst aspects of the north American diet.
There are many ways to quickly increase your fruit intake. Although fresh fruit is a convenient and easy snack you can also enjoy it cooked in desserts such as baked apples, poached pears and grilled pineapple. If you like to drink fruit juices, be aware that juicing removes fibre and polyphenol phytonutrients at the same time, since these are bound to the fibre. The phytonutrients are only available for absorption once the friendly flora in your gut release them from the fibre they are bound to. Blending your fruit will retain more of the nutrition of the whole fruit than juicing does.
Remember also, that while eating more whole fruit is linked to a lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes, the reverse is true with higher consumption of fruit juices. This is associated with a higher risk of diabetes! There is a good reason for the old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. A serving size is one medium fruit, or one cup of cut up fruit, or one quarter cup of dried fruit, with three servings a day being recommended.
Dates make another delicious fruit snack. When frozen they become chewy and taste like caramel - yum! It is quite easy to find good quality Medjool dates in most grocery stores and health food stores around Penticton.
There is a lot of literature about the clinical benefits of kiwi fruit. Probably not because they are necessarily a lot better than other fruits, but more likely because New Zealand has a major share of the global market so the research there is better funded. Eating kiwi fruit seems to help people with insomnia. Eating two an hour before bed seems to shorten the time it takes to fall asleep as well as improve the length and quality of sleep. Two a day also helps with constipation related irritable bowel syndrome and lowers your risk of getting upper respiratory infections. Be careful with children though as there is a fairly high incidence of children who are allergic to kiwi fruit.
On average, humans are experiencing about 800 hits to their DNA per hour. If these are not repaired, eventually mutations will develop which can then give rise to cancer. By comparing twins, researchers have shown that only part of the DNA repair function capacity is determined genetically. The rest is under our control, especially through dietary measures. Eating citrus fruits is the dietary weapon best known to boost our natural DNA repair functions. Within two hours of consuming citrus, your DNA becomes significantly more resistant to change. This may help to explain why there is a lower risk of breast cancer in people who eat more citrus. Some of the compounds responsible for this effect are found in the peel, so be sure to use lemon and orange zest on salads and other meals to add a bit of extra flavour and health promotion. Supplements do not help with DNA repair - so eat the real thing!