Why you should always include fruits in the diet


A wide variety of fruit is available in most parts of the world. Most fruit forms from the flower and contains the seeds of the plant. Some vegetables such as pineapple or rhubarb are included in this group because they are used as a fruit. Most fruit is sweet because of its natural sugars.

Including fruits in the diet each day may help to reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, including heart disease and some cancers. Because of their low energy density, diets that include relatively higher amounts of fruit may also help to maintain a healthy weight. See the table below for examples of fruit.

The fruit is a good source of vitamins, including vitamin C and folate. Fruit also provides potassium, dietary fiber, and carbohydrates in the form of natural sugars. Edible skins are especially high in dietary fiber, but dietary fiber is also in the fruit flesh.

All fresh, frozen and canned fruits are part of this group but for canned varieties look for varieties that are canned in fruit juice rather than with added sugars or syrup. However, the fruit juice used for canning can be high in naturally occurring sugars.

Fruit juices belong to this group, but most have lost the dietary fiber found in fresh fruit. Fruit juices are also acidic and frequent consumption may increase the risk of dental erosion. Dried fruit can be used but because it has lower water content, it is more energy-dense than fresh fruit. Dried fruit can also stick to the teeth and increase the risk of dental decay.

Eat a wide variety of fruit such as:
  • Some fruits such as apples and pears
  • Citrus fruit such as oranges, mandarins, and grapefruit
  • Stone fruit such as apricots and peaches
  • Tropical fruit such as bananas, mangoes, pawpaw, and pineapple
  • Berries
  • Other fruits such as grapes or passion fruit.

Choose fruits in season for better value, quality and availability.

How much from the fruit group is needed?

The minimum recommended amount ranges from 1 serving a day for 2–3-year-old to 1½ serves a day for 4–8 years old, and 2 serves a day for all older children, adolescents, and adults, including pregnant and lactating women. Additional amounts can be included depending on energy needs (age, activity levels, and body size). Use the information in Chapter 5 to work out the minimum serves per day individuals will need.

What is a serve of fruit (350kJ)?

A serve of fruit is about 150 g, for example:
  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
  • 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
  • 1 cup diced or canned fruit (with no added sugar)
  • Or occasionally as a substitute for other foods in the group
  • ½ cup (125 ml) 100% fruit juice (no added sugar)
  • 30 g dried fruit (for example 4 dried apricot halves or 1½ tablespoons of sultanas)

Examples of fruit

Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Orange, TangerineApple, Loquat, Pear, QuinceBanana, Guava, Mango, Melon, Pineapple, Pawpaw, RambutanBlackberry, Blueberry, Loganberry, Raspberry, StrawberryApricot, Cherry, Nectarine, Peach, PlumFeijoa, Fig, Grapes, Kiwifruit, Lychee, Melons, Passionfruit, Pomegranate
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