Recommended by Olivia Kinkade, clinical nutrition department team member at United Hospital Center.
We are embarking upon a food group journey in recognition of National Nutrition Awareness Month! Join us to discover interesting details on the five main food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. Our adventure begins with the fruit food group.
What foods are in the fruit group?
The fruit food group comprises all the foods we know as fruits – apples, oranges, bananas, etc. – as well as 100% fruit juice. These fruits appear in many forms: fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/hydrated, and can be enjoyed in numerous ways: whole, cut into pieces, pureed, or cooked. While 100% fruit juice counts as part of the fruit food group, at least half of the recommended amount of fruit in your daily diet should come from whole fruit rather than the juice itself.
Why should I eat fruit?
Including fruit in your diet provides your body with various health benefits, such as a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Eating fruit provides your body with nutrients vital for health and maintenance.
Discover the following nutritional benefits of fruit:
- Fruits have no cholesterol. They are low in fat, sodium, and calories.
- Fruits fill your body with essential nutrients, like potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate. Including more fruit in your diet will increase your intake of these nutrients.
- Potassium-rich diets may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Which fruits are beneficial sources of potassium? Try bananas, prunes, prune juice, dried peaches, apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, orange juice, jackfruit, guava, and kiwi.
- Interested in reducing blood cholesterol levels and lowering your risk of heart disease? Dietary fiber from fruits, as part of an overall healthy diet, can help! In addition, fiber helps with bowel function. To consume fiber via fruit, try whole or cut-up fruits. Fruit juices contain little to no fiber.
- Vitamin C to the rescue! How does vitamin C benefit your body? It helps grow and repair body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, keeps teeth and gums healthy, and helps the body absorb iron more quickly.
How much fruit is needed daily, and what counts as 1 cup of fruit?
Our bodies are all unique. The serving of fruit you should include in your diet varies based on your age, sex, height, weight, and level of physical activity. Breastfeeding and pregnant women also have different nutritional fruit intake needs.
In general, 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice or ½ cup of dried fruit can be considered 1 cup from the fruit food group.
We hope you enjoyed learning about the fruit food group! Join us here at UHCHouseCall.com to discover more about the remaining four food groups.
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