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Healthy fruits to your rescue

Is drinking fruit juice the same as having a whole fruit? What’s the difference? Dr Anjali Mukerjee, a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total recommends whole fruits because of their high fibre content.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2013 17:15 IST
Dr Anjali Mukerjee

Is drinking fruit juice the same as having a whole fruit? What’s the difference? What would you recommend?
Although both whole fruits and freshly prepared juices have vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, whole fruits are healthier because of their high fibre content. Fibre present in whole fruits helps keep our digestive systems strong and prevents heart diseases. Fruit juice without the fibre is basically just a concentrated source of fructose that lacks the
supportive nutrients to help it digest and metabolise. It also tends to elevate blood sugar more quickly than whole fruit. Additionally, many fruit juices that are sold in supermarkets contain only a small percentage of real fruit juice and contain added sweeteners (sucrose or high fructose corn syrup). As a result, you consume a large amount of calories without getting any actual nutrition when you have these beverages.

What kind of berries are healthy?
Berries such as strawberries, raspberries or cranberries are rich in potent antioxidants (with anti-aging and anti-cancer benefits). The pigments that give berries their red, blue, black and purple colours are a type of phyto-chemical that has been shown to have significant disease-fighting, cell-protecting, antioxidant
capacity. They are also very good sources of vitamin C, fibre and folic acid.

Poor eyesight is genetic in my family. Which juices can be consumed to help improve eyesight?
Freshly prepared vegetable juices are beneficial in improving eye health. Have two glasses of spinach and tomato juice or two glasses of carrot juice regularly. Alternatively, you may try coriander and tomato juice (blend half a bunch in a glass of water, strain and drink) or orange and beetroot juice, which are rich in vitamin A, iron, calcium and antioxidants.

Dry fruits are said to be fattening. How much can I consume without gaining weight?
Dry fruits, though higher in fat content, include unsaturated fat and are therefore preferred over saturated fat which is found in animal proteins and processed snacks. Even though most of this fat is healthy fat, it is still a lot of calories. Nuts, therefore, should be eaten in moderation and only as part of an otherwise healthy and balanced low fat diet. The recommended amount of dry fruit would be around five to eight almonds, a handful of peanuts and about eight to 10 pistachios a day.

Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.