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10 Good Reasons to Eat More Fruit

A few weeks ago I came back from a trip to Hawaii. I hadn’t taken a real vacation in a long time, so this was something I really needed. When I left to Hawaii, it was the end of April and the weather was still fairly miserable in Canada.

I arrived in Honolulu on a bright sunny day and we were greeted at the airport by my good friend Shelli, an awesome personal trainer I first met in San Diego almost 15 years ago.

Shelli brought us some pineapples and papayas so we would have something to eat right away until we could shop the next day. When I got to the hotel, I proceeded to devour an entire pineapple! I was so thirsty from flying that I needed something juicy.

In my entire time in Hawaii, I ate on average one pineapple a day. I brutalized my tongue with an onslaught of the delicious acid fruit, but fortunately Hawaii pineapples were ripe and not too acidic. I also did not eat them all at once but throughout the day.

This, of course, was in addition to all the other fruit I ate when I was there!

When I’m in the tropics, I find it easy to eat massive quantities of juicy fruits. When I’m in a colder climate, I crave heavier fruits, like bananas, and also temperate climate fruits, like apples, pears and cherries.

I’ve been eating fruit in massive quantities since 1997 and I believe it’s only helped my health. All the health troubles I suffered in my years as a pure raw foodist were not caused by eating fruit, but rather by eating:

– Too much fat
– Too much dried fruit
– Oil
– Complicated raw food recipes
– Insufficient quantities of fruit

15 years later, my diet consists mostly of carbohydrates like fruit. My teeth are doing great (no cavities), I’m getting in better shape every year, and fruit is still the food that I love the most — as long as it’s ripe and delicious.

To all the naysayers that say fruit is evil, fruit is bad for you… consider these 10 good reasons to eat more fruit:

Fruit is the best carbohydrate — The human being is meant to live primarily on a diet of carbohydrates. That’s what all long-lived populations in the world eat, such as the Okinawans in Japan (sweet potatoes), the Costa Ricans of the Nicoya Pininsula (corn tortillas, beans, rice and fruit), the healthier Asian populations (rice), the Hunzas (fruit), and the best athletes in the world. Fruit is the best carbohydrate food because it is alkaline forming (grains are slightly acid-forming, and animal foods are very acid forming). It’s rich in vitamins and minerals and packed with nutrients.

Fruit doesn’t require any seasonings — Fruit is probably the only food that people love to eat in its natural state without any seasonings. It’s perfect on its own. Who wants to add salt and pepper to a papaya? A pineapple doesn’t need any dressing, and a banana is perfect as it is.

Fruit is low in sodium — Fruit is naturally low in sodium and because it doesn’t require any seasonings, eating more fruit will help you lower the overall sodium content in your diet. The more calories you get from fruit, the less sodium-rich your diet will be. This will in turn lower your blood pressure and keep you healthier.

Fruit is low on the glycemic index — It’s a myth to think that fruit quickly raises blood sugar. In reality, fruit is low on the glycemic index. While a piece of white bread has a glycemic index of 95 (high), a banana is 54 (low), a peach is 42 (low), and grapes are 46 (low). Only a few fruits, such as dates, have a high glycemic index (103 for dates). The reason why fruit is so low on the glycemic index is that fruit contains a combination of sugars: fructose, sucrose and glucose. Each sugar is assimilated at a different rate. Fruit also contains plenty of fiber, which slows down the assimilation of sugar. In this sense, fruit is the perfect energy food. It contains some sugar that is assimilated immediately, giving you instant energy, and some that are assimilated slowly, giving you long-term energy.

Fruit is hydrating — Fruit is so full of water that it’s not only a food in itself. It’s a drink! Many fruits are over 90% water.

Fruit is fast food — Fruit can be easy and quick to eat. What could be easier than peeling a mango and eating it? Or biting on a ripe peach? Almost all fruits are conveniently packed, wrapped in their own mother-nature containers we call peels, and ready to be consumed. There are a few exceptions though, such as the spiky durian, or the giant jackfruit, whose skin is full of a sticky substance similar to glue!

Most long-lived cultures eat fruit — The Hunzas, who for a while were reputed to be some of the longest-lived people in the world, probably ate more fruit than most cultures in the world. Although fruit can be a delicacy in many cultures, most long-lived cultures in the world today and long-lived people anywhere typically eat a lot of fruit. For each centenarian we can find that smokes constantly and eats a junk food diet, you’ll find many more that eat plenty of fruit.

Fruit is packed with antioxidants — Fruit is packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants — so much that many companies are trying to concentrate this goodness into expensive fruit juices and pills. Almost all of the anti-aging compounds that are the most effective are found in fruit. Think of the reputed richness of antioxidants in blueberries, pomegranate juice, açaí berries, and the tropical mangosteen. Colored fruits are almost always packed with healthy compounds we are only beginning now to research and understand.

Fruit keeps you lean — Fruit is the perfect weight loss food. Just eat a large apple before any meal, and it will fill you up and prevent you from overeating at the table. Fruit is filling because it’s filled with fiber and water, yet it is low in calories. Fruit, on average, contains 250 calories per pound. On the other hand, bread contains 1200, starches are 500, and nuts are 2800! Only vegetables have a lower caloric density than fruit. That means you can fill up on fruit and be certain to never get fat!

Fruit Makes You Beautiful — David Wolfe, who published my first book The Sunfood Cuisine, used to say that beautiful people eat a lot of fruit. Research has shown that certain compounds in fruits and vegetables, like carotenoids, help the skin look more vibrant and beautiful. One research even showed that people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables are considered more attractive because the carotenoids gives the skin a healthy natural “tan” look. ( Just make sure you don’t drink too much carrot juice though, otherwise your skin might turn orange!

You don’t have to become a fruitarian to get the benefits of fruit. Start eating more fruit today, beginning with your favorite one! My favorites include pineapple, white peaches, Hawaiian papaya, Rainier cherries, just to name a few.

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets.