Not all sugars created equally
Hockessin, Del.– Many fruits are now at their summer peak, yet many consumers opt to forego the tasty goodness for fear of increasing the amount of sugar and carbohydrates in their diet. Consumers, fear not! Mother Nature provides the naturally occurring sugar in fruits called fructose. Fruits contain water, fiber and other beneficial nutrients, making them a great choice to include in a balanced and healthy diet. Purified and condensed forms of sugar like high fructose corn syrup or table sugar are found in foods such as soda, candy, and sweetened baked goods. Too much of this added sugar can contribute to obesity, weak bones, fatigue, lack of concentration, and tooth decay.
Researchers are learning that Mother Nature put more thought and chemistry into her fruits than just sweetness. Many fruits contain phenols, an antioxidant plant compound and phytonutrient, offering many health benefits including protection from heart disease, stroke, some cancers, and other damaging effects of free radicals in the body. An easy way to fight off free radicals is to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in meals and snacks each day. Eating and drinking colorful fruits and veggies provides a natural variety of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber that allows the body to be at its best everyday. ? ?Over the last few years more research has been dedicated to the healthful impacts of phenols to the immune system and the prevention of a variety of diseases. A recent study published in 2010 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition supported the role of phenols in strawberries in decreasing the oxidation of fatty acids that could cause a build up of plaque in the arteries. Another study published in 2010 in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, found treatments using the extract from peaches and plums destroyed breast cancer cells. Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that phenols found in broccoli and broccoli sprouts have the remarkable ability to target the cancer stem cells responsible for fueling the growth of cancerous breast tumors.
As the science behind the health benefits of fruits and vegetables continues to gain momentum and expand, more will be learned about the important role phytonutrients, traditional nutrients, and diet plays in disease prevention. More information on phytonutrients found in various fruits and vegetables can be found on the Produce for Better Health Foundation website. Articles on recent fruit and vegetable stories and headlines can be found in the About the Buzz section of the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters website.