During a recent trip, I got to visit with an old college friend and her family. Veronica is an amazing cook and she really outdid herself over the three days I spent with them, but I couldn't help but notice that something was missing: there was no fruit.
Not only was fruit absent from every meal, but it wasn't even in the house. When I asked her about it, she sort of shrugged it off as normal. The truth is, she's right: The average American doesn't eat nearly enough fruit.
In 2009, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only 33 percent of people in the U.S. meet their recommended daily fruit consumption (which is between 1 ½ and 2 cups for an adult, according to the USDA''s MyPlate).
I thought of Veronica and her family when I heard about a new study published in February in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition linking fruit consumption with a person's risk of type 2 diabetes.
In that study, researchers looked at the eating habits of more than 12,000 men and women, and found that those who ate more blueberries, apples and pears were less likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. And those who ate more than five apples daily had a 23 percent lower risk of developing the chronic disease.
Maybe what they say is true: An apple a day really can keep the doctor away.
Either way, we can't yet be certain that apples will keep the insulin shots away. Although this research is promising, it's important to note that the connection doesn't necessarily mean that you won't get diabetes if you eat a lot of apples, pears or blueberries.
More research must be done, but still, fruit is rich in fiber and powerful antioxidants, so be sure to get your two cups today.
Here are 5 tips for sneaking more of these great fruits into your diet:
- Buy frozen blueberries and enjoy a blueberry-banana smoothie for breakfast. Just add the fruit and about a cup of water to the blender and blend.
- Blueberries work well alongside (or inside) many breakfast foods. Add a tablespoon or more of blueberries to your morning cereal, or toss some into your pancake or muffin mix.
- Keep a bowl of apples and pears on your kitchen or dining room table for easy access when you're feeling hungry.
- When you're in the mood for a decadent dessert, slice up some pears and serve them with warm brie cheese.
- For a super-powered snack filled with flavonoids, protein and fiber, top apple slices with a dollop of peanut butter.
Healthy Bites appears on MyHealthNewsDaily on Wednesdays. Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!