Fruit is, without a doubt, critical for good overall health and wellbeing.
Incorporating it into our diet gives our bodies a lot of important nutrients. It is a great source of fiber, minerals, Vitamin C, and unique antioxidants, and they can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease–and all disease, for that matter!
It’s pretty clear that it’s healthy, but just how healthy? After all, it’s loaded with sugar, meaning it could be bad sometimes. So what’s the rule? When do we eat it and how much should we eat? Is there a wrong or right time?
Below, we’ve got pretty much the only rule you need to know for eating fruit:
Fruit should be eaten alone on an empty stomach.
Let us explain…
When you eat it, your digestive system kicks into high gear. Enzymes digest the fruit at high speed, which means the simple sugars are absorbed quickly and need time to be completely absorbed by your body.
When you eat fruit on its own, it’s easier for your stomach to process the simple sugars, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. This means you get all the benefits at once!
However, if you eat it close to a meal–especially right after a larger meal and in combination with other foods—it stays in your stomach too long. It can actually rot or ferment in your gut, leading to higher risks of indigestion, heartburn, burping and other digestive discomforts.
By eating it alone, you give your body time to digest the simple sugars quickly. That way, there is no breakdown or fermentation that could cause digestive problems. And, as a bonus, you get a rush of energy and a metabolism boost thanks to all the natural sugars.
How do I apply this rule?
The average person eats 3 large meals a day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. To fit fruit into that day, enjoy it between the meals.
For example, if you eat breakfast at 8 AM, you can enjoy a piece of fruit around 10 or 11 AM, well before your 1 PM lunch. Or, have a 4 PM piece to tide you over until your 6 or 7 PM dinner.
Aim to eat it either 1 hour before or 2 hours after your meal. For heavier meals, like pasta or burgers, you need to let that food digest for even longer before you add fruit with all its acid into your stomach, about 3-4 hours. If you’ve just had a mixed green salad for lunch, same rules apply but for a much shorter time, about 1.5 hours.
Eat it on an empty stomach—try first thing in the morning, or as a snack between your breakfast and lunch.
Your body needs 1-2 servings of fruit per day, so why not have both servings at once? Whether it’s fruit salad, an apple or a smoothie, you can fit it all in one snack and give your body enough time to digest it before your next meal.
Definitely avoid eating it close to bedtime, as the sugar can cause energy spikes and keep you up when you need your sleep.
Nut milk, coconut milk, nut butter, and non-dairy yogurt can be added to fruit, as they won’t strain your digestive system too much. However, make sure to consume them in small amounts, and don’t eat them every time you have a piece.
What about dried fruit?
It’s basically concentrated sugar, without all the antioxidants and nutrients. You’re better off eating it fresh and raw than dried.
However, if you want to snack on a handful of raisins or dried apricots, the same rule applies: no less than 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals.
Fruits are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet, loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, energy-boosting sugar, and antioxidants. You need it in order to have a healthy body and mind.
By eating it on its own, you will avoid most digestive problems, feel energized, promote weight loss, and look and feel fantastic. After all, your body will be fully absorbing all the vitamins, fiber and healthy carbohydrates that it needs to function in good health—all thanks to fruit!