3 Excesses that fruit help you control

Fruitarians are brave people. They eke out all the nutrition they would usually get from a meat based diet through their supply of fruits. We are not asking you to sacrifice dairy or meat out of your plate. What you can be though, is a frugetarian. Someone who gets the micro and macro nutrients that a normal diet has to offer and then supplement that with something only fruits can offer, or not.

When talking about the importance of fruits, one has to remember what they don’t offer, and hence what you can substitute out of your diet for the better with just that one cup of fresh fruits or a fruit smoothie.

3 excesses that fruits can help you control

We have all heard the clichéd statement that “excess of anything is bad”. Somethings more so than others.  Fats, sodium, and cholesterol are the three evils born when one combines a 21st century lifestyle with an unbalanced diet that is ‘rich’ in fast foods.

Fats

India is catching up to the ways of the fast food culture popularized by sleek advertising and convenience factor associated with it.  In India, obesity is on the rise, becoming one of the primary risk factors associated with Cardiovascular Diseases. Central/abdominal obesity is present in as many as 36% adult individuals per a 2015 study by ICMR[1].

How do you cut out fat from the diet of the people who have grown among ‘barish waale pakode’ and ‘shaam ke samose’? You spread awareness that people can substitute that urge to snack on fatty and fried dishes with a rather ‘fruitful’ bowl of, well, fruits!

The good old apple for instance, contains no saturated fats. Turns out, its’ reputation as a doctor repellant is not unwarranted. If you went to a nutritionist today and ask them how much your fruits intake should be, they’d recommend somewhere between 1.5 cups of fruits to 2 cups everyday. That could definitely quench the urge to munch in the evening.

Sodium

Sodium is essential for our body to function in a sound manner. You go too low on this micronutrient and you’ll be suffering from serious health issues. In fact, there’s a term for sodium deficiency – hyponatremia.

There is, as always a flip side to the story, and a hypernatremia is a condition when your blood has excess sodium. This excess of sodium can even lead to brain disorders in extreme cases. To address or avoid this condition, you start by cutting out some salt out of your diet, and as always fruits come to your rescue when you call for them.

The USFDA reckons that up to 70% of dietary sodium comes from packaged and frozen food. India is predicted to double its frozen food market between 2021 and 2025, and by extension double the number of people who are newly exposed to harmful levels of sodium. While completely avoiding frozen or packaged food might be impossible for some urban populations, there will definitely be instance where it can be substituted by something fresh – like a bowl of fruits!

Cholesterol

Countless ads coming from cooking oil labels advertise themselves as being ‘low cholesterol’ and ‘healthy for your heart’, and yet the heart of Indian cuisine beats around fatty, high cholesterol diet. Ranging from dairy products like ghee, butter, and increasingly cheese. Add to these the ever more popular assortment of fast foods and you’ve got a ‘recipe’ for a health disaster that will engulf tens of millions of people.

While we can’t change habits built over generations, we can tweak them to control the damage these existing and emerging diet trends lead us to.

While the types of cholesterol are out of the scope of this piece, we can still look at the  various ways cholesterol  can be managed by Indians. We can obviously start with whole grain foods like barley and oats, and include vegetables like eggplants and okra for good measure. The fight against cholesterol cannot be won without help from our good friends – fruits!

Pectin is a form of natural sugar, polysaccharide for the chemistry nerds, that helps lower LDL[2] - the big bad cholesterol. It is found in a range of fruits including apples (again!), grapes, strawberries (are you thinking of a smoothie, too?), and many citrus fruits like oranges, and for Indians in particular – Mosambis.

Go get that OJ, or a smoothie to start a healthy, low cholesterol day!

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