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All About Fruit: Definition, Benefits, Uses

All About Fruit: Definition, Benefits, Uses

What Can Fruit Do For You?

First thing’s first: what is a fruit? It’s a simple question, but the answer is a little complicated. Technically, a fruit is the ripened, seed-bearing ovary of a flowering plant. In a culinary capacity, it refers to part of a plant that tastes sweet (or sour), has a fleshy texture, and can be eaten raw. The problem is, these two definitions don’t quite match, and that can cause a lot of confusion.
One common example is the tomato: even though it’s botanically a fruit, it’s treated as a vegetable in the kitchen. Other culinary vegetables that classify as fruits include corn, bell pepper, cucumber, squash, and avocado. So if anyone ever asks you, is avocado a fruit or a vegetable? Well, you know the answer. You could even say that it’s actually a berry, but let’s not get too technical! As interesting as it sounds, we’d like to simplify things for everyone, so for our purposes, we’ll be using the culinary fruit definition.
We’ve got the details cleared up, so let’s talk about the benefits of fruits. Including fruits (and vegetables) in your diet can reduce risk of health problems like heart disease, certain types of cancers, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. They’re low in fat, sodium, and calories, and don’t contain cholesterol. As one of the food groups recommended by ChooseMyPlate.gov, they also provide vital nutrients which you don’t usually get from other sources:
  • Potassium can help maintain healthy blood pressure, as well as decrease bone loss and reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. It’s found in bananas, prunes, peaches, apricots, cantaloupe, and honeydew.
  • Fiber helps with bowel function and lowering blood cholesterol levels. High fiber fruits include oranges, bananas, strawberries, apples, and raspberries.
  • Vitamin C contributes to tissue growth and repair, and is important to healing cuts and wounds. Great fruit sources of vitamin C include strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, mango, and of course, oranges.
  • Folate (or folic acid) helps the formation of red blood cells, and is especially important for pregnant women. It can be found in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit, as well as papaya, strawberries, and raspberries.
Now that you know the all the different benefits of grapefruit, strawberries, and more, it’s time to start incorporating them into your diet. Generally, the USDA recommends about 2 cups a day of fruit or fruit juice; the dried equivalent is about 1 cup. For the most nutritional value, pick whole or cut fruits instead of juice—fruit slices make a quick and convenient snack, if you prepare ahead of time or buy pre-cut. If you buy canned fruit, make sure it’s canned in water or 100% fruit juice, not syrup. You should also make sure to include a wide variety of different fruits, since each one has its own advantages.
It can get boring to eat the same things every day, so you can also introduce variety by trying different methods of preparation:
  • Blend it! If you’re not sure how to make a fruit smoothie, you really don’t have to worry—it’s all about finding the flavors that work for you! Try to keep a one-to-one ratio of solids to liquids. For a thicker smoothie, use milk or yogurt as opposed to water or juice, and frozen fruit instead of ice cubes.
  • Create a fruit salad with all your favorites! Try combining different textures like crisp apples, creamy bananas, and juicy grapes. Bring in some oranges or squeeze a little lemon juice over everything to enhance flavors and keep your chopped fruit from browning.
  • Or, just serve bite-sized pieces with this simple, three-ingredient fruit dip. You can also use low-fat yogurt for a healthier option
Still not getting the daily recommended amount of fruit? There are plenty of ways to incorporate a little extra into your meals as well.
  • In your salad: Fresh fruit is perfect in light and refreshing salads like the Waldorf. Or, sprinkle small dried fruits like cranberries on your salad as a topper.
  • In the main course: Create complex flavor by adding sweet fruits to savory dishes. This list has some great recipes if you need a little inspiration.
  • In dessert: Fruit by itself makes a great dessert, but sometimes you need to satisfy your sweet tooth. Of course, there’s no shortage of fruity desserts you can make, from pies, to tarts, to cakes. One healthy option is to bake fruit slices with just a bit of cinnamon and maple syrup—the fruits’ natural sugars will caramelize in the oven, so you get a delicious flavor and don’t have to overdo it on additional sweeteners.
With these tips, knowing what fruit or recipe to serve is easy. As for how, check out the dinnerware and drinkware in our Spritz collection! Made of durable plastic to stand up to everyday use, these bowls and tumblers have a light and bubbly appearance that will bring fun to any dish.
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