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Nearly 500 researchers from more than 300 institutions in 50 countries spent years developing the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, the largest analysis of risk factors for death and disease in history. The massive study determined that the leading cause of both death and disability in the United States was the American diet, followed by smoking. What did they determine to be the worst aspect about our diet? Not eating enough fruit.

In my Daily Dozen, recommend a daily serving of berries, among the most antioxidant-packed food category, in addition to three servings a day of other fruits.

Anyone who says they don’t have time to eat healthfully has never met an apple. For those who grew up in a world dominated by Red Delicious and Granny Smith, I’m happy to report there are thousands of varieties. Health-wise, crab apples probably top the charts, but tastewise, my personal favorite is Honeycrisp—or any pick-your-own variety I can find locally. My family buys apples by the half bushel!

If you like drinking your fruit, blending is better than juicing to preserve nutrition. Juicing removes more than just fiber. Most of the polyphenol phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables appear to be bound to the fiber and are only liberated for absorption by the friendly flora in your gut. When you merely drink the juice, you lose out on the fiber and all the nutrition that was attached to it. Even just cloudy apple juice, which retains a bit of the fruit fiber, appears to have nearly triple the phenolic antioxidants compared to clear apple juice.

Whereas greater consumption of whole fruits has been associated with a lower likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, Harvard University researchers found that greater juice consumption was associated with higher diabetes risk.

Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.

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