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Diabetes

Some research looks specifically at whether individual fruits are associated with risk of type 2 diabetes. While there isn’t an abundance of research into this area yet, preliminary results are compelling. A study of over 66,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study, 85,104 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II, and 36,173 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study—who were free of major chronic diseases—found that greater consumption of whole fruits—especially blueberries, grapes, and apples—was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Another important finding was that greater consumption of fruit juice was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. [15]Additionally a study of over 70,000 female nurses aged 38-63 years, who were free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, showed that consumption of green leafy vegetables and fruit was associated with a lower risk of diabetes. While not conclusive, research also indicated that consumption of fruit juices …

Cancer

Numerous early studies revealed what appeared to be a strong link between eating fruits and vegetables and protection against cancer. Unlike case-control studies, cohort studies, which follow large groups of initially healthy individuals for years, generally provide more reliable information than case-control studies because they don’t rely on information from the past. And, in general, data from cohort studies have not consistently shown that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables prevents cancer. For example, over a 14-year period in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, men and women with the highest intake of fruits and vegetables (8+ servings a day) were just as likely to have developed cancer as those who ate the fewest daily servings (under 1.5). [3]A meta-analysis of cohort studies found that a higher fruit and vegetable intake did not decrease the risk of deaths from cancer. [2] A more likely possibility is that some types of fruits and vegetabl…

Blood pressure

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study[6] examined the effect on blood pressure of a diet that was rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and that restricted the amount of saturated and total fat. The researchers found that people with high blood pressure who followed this diet reduced their systolic blood pressure (the upper number of a blood pressure reading) by about 11 mm Hg and their diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) by almost 6 mm Hg—as much as medications can achieve.A randomized trial known as the Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial for Heart Health (OmniHeart) showed that this fruit and vegetable-rich diet lowered blood pressure even more when some of the carbohydrate was replaced with healthy unsaturated fat or protein. [7]In 2014 a meta-analysis of clinical trials and observational studies found that consumption of a vegetarian diet was associated with lower blood pressure. [8]

Cardiovascular disease

There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. A meta-analysis of cohort studies following 469,551 participants found that a higher intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, with an average reduction in risk of 4% for each additional serving per day of fruit and vegetables. [2]The largest and longest study to date, done as part of the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, included almost 110,000 men and women whose health and dietary habits were followed for 14 years.The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared with those in the lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake (less than 1.5 servings a day), those who averaged 8 or more servings a day were 30% less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke. [3]Although all fruits a…

What can I do with fruit?

Eat fruit fresh and whole of course!  In fact, fruit is the most nutritious for you eaten fresh and raw. Fruit can be added to cereal, porridge, toast, salads, or used to finish a meal. Fruit also makes a convenient snack in between meals and while out and about. Fruit based desserts like baked apples, fruit crumbles or stewed or poached fruit, are healthy and nutritious. Fruit is also great for adding to pancakes, pikelets, scones and low fat muffins.  Take a look at the healthy recipes on our website for ideas. Canned or frozen fruit can also be included for variety and convenience.  Look for varieties that are canned or preserved in fruit juice not with added sugars or syrup.

Health benefits of fruit

Did you know there is increasing evidence that whole foods such as fruit are more effective in reducing the risk of cancer than specific vitamin and mineral supplements. There is also building evidence that some risk factors for cancer can be avoided by eating fruit (and vegetables and legumes) during childhood and early adult life. Most fruits are low in energy (kilojoules) and high in fibre and water, making you feel fuller. This reduces the risk of over eating which can cause weight gain. The fibre in fruit is also thought to reduce the risk of some cancers, including colorectal cancer. Fruit is abundant in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Vitamins such as vitamin C and E and different phytochemicals may reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions. Potassium and magnesium found in fruit have also been linked to lower blood pressure. Different coloured fruits, especially orange, red and yellow fruit, contain carotenes (Vitamin A) which are also thought to assist in immune fu…

Banana fruits

Bananas make a nutritious snack! They are a great source of energy and contain lots of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, which is important to help cells, nerves and muscles in your body to work properly and it helps to lower blood pressure. They have a thick skin to protect them, which is green before bananas are ripe, and get more yellow in colour and sweeter in taste as they ripen. We peel away the skin and eat the soft fleshy part of the fruit underneath. Bananas grow in hanging clusters, sometimes called hands, on the banana plant in tropical regions like Southeast Asia. You can eat them raw, baked, dried or in a smoothie. Why don't you try mashing it up and have it with yoghurt or porridge or even on brown toast?