Growing up in a modern family with doctor for a father, I believed all my life that anything can be eaten at any point. I never felt the need nor interest to understand food. When I felt hungry I ate whatever felt good, aka tasty and healthy to some extent since healthy eating was strongly reinforced in my family. So a guava after dinner was perfectly okay or a bowl full of sweet grapes after lunch to tame my taste buds. When sick with common cold or stomach upset I took allopathic medicines and moved on with life.
My grandfather did share his wisdom on Ayurveda, dosas & kriyas, merit of homeopathy. But frankly who had the time and patience to listen in those days. As long as junk food was occasional we largely believed that we were growing up healthy.
It was only in my thirties, after the delivery of my first child, my body started showing signs of weakness. Perennial fatigue, migraine, very low immunity to common cold, bloating etc became routine. From my own many mistakes, research and dietician consultations I learnt that eating healthy and reducing junk is just one side of the story. Like 50% job done. But is my body getting full benefit from the fruits that I consume? Is it really 100% helping me build my body immunity? I learnt that when it comes to fruits, timing it right is of utmost importance. And in my opinion that’s like zero extra effort, so why not work on it?
While I firmly believe that you NEEDNOT do calibrated eating at all times, this is more for you if you eat fruits with the larger intent of benefit than taste. I am not an expert on the topic but here are some simple adjustments that have shown good results for me and my family.
BEST TIMES TO EAT FRUITS
First thing in the morning after a glass of water
If fruit is taken on empty stomach then the absorption of nutrients is most optimal. The processing of all the nutrients, fiber and sugars is better in the body as there is zero competition from food groups for absorption.
In between meals, on empty stomach
Once the meal has been relatively digested and your stomach feels empty is the next best time to consume fruits. Again for the same reason that it has less competing compounds for absorption.
Keep atleast 30 mins gap before you eat your meal
Once the fruit has been consumed, it needs about 30 minutes to digest. So it’s good to keep that much gap between your fruit snack and meal.
WORST TIME TO EAT FRUITS
Immediately after breakfast, lunch or dinner
I think, for most of us, that’s the favorite time to munch on a bowl full of fruits. Like my nutritionist says, fresh fruits are like cash, they are ready to be invested. So if you line them after complex food items, the cash will not get used.
This is the worst time to consume fruits. After infancy, our body produces less lactose and lactose is the enzyme that helps people to digest milk. Recent research has shown that milk takes almost 6-7 hours to digest fully hence slowing the absorption form any other food category. Only purely sweet and ripe fruits like mango can be combined with milk.
After tea or coffee
Tea-coffee affects our body’s ability to absorb minerals and vitamins. Hence it’s best to avoid consuming fruits shortly after drinking tea or coffee if you are concerned about nutritional deficiencies.
Immediately before sleeping
Around bedtime, our body powers down so as to prepare for sleep. A fruit intake at this time spikes our energy levels owing to its high simple sugar content. Hence it’s best to avoid fruits past dinner time.
So practically, the rule of thumb is that fruit should go first before any other food groups. So juggle your meal plan a bit and set aside a time for fruit consumption. Over a period of about 6 months, I noticed tremendous improvement in immunity levels for my whole family. I also make sure to peel the fruit as 80-90% of the pesticides reside on the skin of the fruit. Though I know that the layer immediately beneath the skin of the fruit is very nutritious, the damage caused by the consumption of pesticides outweighs the benefits. Also washing hands properly before touching food is non-negotiable in my house. Incase the fruit or fresh juice is to be consumed more than 20 minutes from the time I cut it, I cover it with airtight foil paper to minimize nutrition loss.
How much is one portion of fruit?
On an average a portion of fruit means about 80 gms.
2-3 small sized fruits make one portion. 2 kiwis, 3 apricots, 6 lychees, 14 big cherries or 7 strawberries make one portion.
1 big piece makes one portion. An apple, a banana, pear, orange, guava etc.
For fruits like papaya, pineapple, water melon one portion would equal a large slice of about 80 gms.
Infor Source : http://food.ndtv.com