Poor misunderstood fruit!
Too often do I hear that people are being told to cut out fruit to improve their gut health (cue the candida diet…*facepalm*). Well, let me bust that myth and tell you fruit is not to be feared.
In a review study including over 220,000 people, reduced fruit intake has been associated with a higher risk of depressive symptoms. This suggests fruit is indeed beneficial for our mental health.
How can fruit impact depressive symptoms?
Fruits contain different types of dietary fibre and phytonutrients (beneficial plant chemicals), both of which have been shown to benefit our GM (gut microbiota, the community of microbes living within us) including increasing the number of the bacteria group called Bifidobacterium.
And guess what, low levels of Bifido have been linked with anxiety, particularly in females.
It’s true that watching the amount of added sugars in your diet is a good idea, but this shouldn’t be confused with naturally occurring sources, including whole fruits, which bring a wealth of health benefits to you and your gut microbes. That’s why I don’t use any added sugar in @bioandmeuk granolas – only naturally occurring sugars from plant-based foods.
How much fruit should I eat?
As a general guide, when it comes to getting in your gut-boosting fibres, the evidence suggests it’s good to aim for least 2 pieces of fruit every day (alongside 5 portions of vegetables, 3 wholegrains, plus 1-2 portions of either nuts, seeds or legumes).
What about if you have a sensitive gut?
Fruit is definitely still a good idea, but best to stick to an 80g portion, with up to 3 portions spread across the day.