Thanks to a well-designed study from Stockholm this week, a diet high in fruits reduces aneurisms. Thanks to the Swedes! I guess we needed another reason to eat whole fruits because not enough people do. I know, isn’t it strange? We already know a diet high in fruits and vegetables reduces cases of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and several cancers. How much fruit are people supposed to eat? Aim for two whole fruits. ‘Whole’ means not packaged or juiced (so you get the benefit of the antioxidants and/or fiber in the roughage). A variety of fruits are optimal rather then eating the same type every day. That way, you reap the benefits of the different nutrients in each kind of fruit.

Worried about sugar? Diabetics who eat 2 servings of fruit per day have lower blood glucose then those who don’t. Huh? But doesn’t fruit have sugar? Yes, but it also has a host of protective phytochemicals and fiber, which slows down the speed at which your body absorbs the sugar. For example, when you eat a small apple, you get about 15 grams of natural fructose (sugar). It takes a while to chew and break down that apple; your body is working hard to get those nutrients. If you opt instead for apple juice, a quick sip and that juice slips into absorption mode without much work. You’re also likely to consume 30 grams of sugar in one serving instead of 15. Twice the sugar and a fraction of the effort. Your body absorbs the sugar right away in the juice and the blood glucose spikes. Same goes for other sources of simple carbohydrates like sugar.

So how do you get more fruit in your life? Try throwing one in the blender with some unsweetened greek yogurt and ice for an instant smoothie. Not down with dairy? No problem! Soymilk, mint leaves, a banana plus a lemon is pretty spectacular. Or forget the blender, and pack a half cup of fresh berries and a few almonds for a mid-morning snack to help you keep things lighter at lunch. How or other vegetable to that one for extra fun. I love it all. The combinations are endless, but does anything beat a perfectly fresh and fabulous whole apple? You know what they say about an apple a day…