Fruit often gets a bad rap, since it tends to be higher in sugar than vegetables. But in truth, fruit supplies only a fraction of the sugar most Americans consumeand it’s loaded with healthy nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. Here is some fruit-friendly advice from the experts at the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter:
- Go frozen Fresh fruit starts to lose nutrients shortly after it's picked. Frozen fruit, which is usually frozen right after picking, retains those nutrientsplus, it's available year-round and perfect for smoothies!
- Eat dried fruit sparingly Dried fruits are concentrated sources of healthy minerals, such as iron, copper, potassium and fiber, but they're also high in sugar and calories. Eat them in small amountsno more than a half cup a dayand be sure to brush your teeth afterward.
- Check juice ingredients Limit juice consumption to one cup a day and make sure the label says "100% juice." Be aware that manufacturers often sneak in apple and grape juices as fillers for pricier and healthier juicessuch as pomegranate and blueberry.
Dried Apples and Cholesterol
To help lower your cholesterol, try dried apples. In a study from Florida State University published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women who ate dried apples for a year (about 2½ ounces a day, equivalent to about two medium-size apples) decreased their LDL ("bad") cholesterol by 24 percent, on average, and improved other cardiovascular risk factors.
Apples are a major source of pectin, a soluble fiber known to lower cholesterol, as well as polyphenols (such as quercetin), which have other heart-healthy properties. The women also lost about 3 pounds, possibly because the fiber in the dried apples suppressed hunger and thus food intake.
Sources: our sister publications, Diabetes Focus Winter 2014 and REMEDY's Healthy Living Fall 2015