It is extremely important to consume fruits and vegetables — in the recommended amount — regularly as they can “help people reduce their risk of many major causes of illness and death. Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and obesity are examples of these,” said Dr Archana Batra, nutritionist, certified diabetes educator and physiotherapist. But while some people prefer having fruits in the morning, many others like to end their days with them. As such, is there a best time to consume fruits and juices?
“Fruit juices are high in antioxidants, which are compounds that help protect the body from inflammation and reduce the impact of free radicals on the body. Some fruit juices can also help with issues like constipation, and cranberry juice, especially, can help prevent urinary tract infections,” Dr Batra told indianexpress.com, adding that though fruits and fruit juices are recommended as part of a healthy diet, “one must be mindful of when and how they are consumed to get the most nutritional value out of them.”
This is because fruit juices contain a lot of sugar which, she said, raises blood sugar levels and causes an insulin spike, resulting in a high body fat percentage and weight gain. According to Batra, “fruit juice also has less fibre and more calories and sugar than whole fruit”. “This is why people should limit the amount of fruit juice they consume each day,” she added.
Fruit juice is best consumed in the first half of the day because it provides you with the energy you need to get through the day, Dr Batra suggested.
Fresh fruits are generally fleshy and highly valued for their taste, freshness, texture, and nutrition, stressed Dr Batra, added that the fruit’s pulp and skin is a rich source of dietary fibre promotes regular bowel movements, and also lowers cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels, and aids in achieving healthy weight. “When you eat a whole fruit, the dietary fibre in the pulp binds to the natural sugar in the fruit as it passes through your digestive tract,” Dr Batra expained.
The expert added that fruits keep one full for longer, thereby reducing unwanted cravings, which can help control your weight, diabetes, and blood sugar.
Is there a best time to consume them?
The expert said that,
*Fruits can be consumed on an empty stomach, and in-between meals. “If you’re trying to lose weight, eating fruits between meals can help because the fibre and water will fill you up and prevent binge eating. But eating fruits right before bedtime can be harmful to our digestive system,” she said. “Also, having fruits close to bedtime can increase blood sugar levels and interfere with sleep,” she added.
*Certain fruits are energising, so eating them first thing in the morning or before exercise may be a great idea if you want to be active and get natural sugars.
*Fruits should also not be consumed right after a meal as doing so can cause blood sugar levels to rise even more. “Fruits eaten right after a meal may also cause indigestion and discomfort,” she said.
*Fruit and vegetables go well together, in general. If you must drink a juice with your meal, pair it with a green vegetable salad or a simple raw vegetable dish. “This has the greatest alkalising effect. Additionally, you can also blend spinach with an apple, an orange, some berries, some ginger, and a dash of salt,” she suggested.