Nutrition

Fruits - good or bad for a child's digestive system?

Why not leave fruit in a bowl to snack on ?

Some people worry that fruit is too acidic, but while many fruits are acidic before digestion, after digestion fruits have a highly desirable alkaline effect on the body.

 

My child grazes on loads of fruit, is this OK or could it upset her digestion?

Congratulations on having a child with healthy eating habits! Fruit is low in calories and so is unlikely to upset her appetite at meal times and is high in health giving antioxidants and minerals. Fruit is also useful for filling the nutritional gap if a child is inclined to not eat many vegetables. If you leave fruit out in the bowel for her to snack on, make sure that you wash it first to dislodge as many pesticides as possible, or buy organic fruit (and still wash it). Government advice is to peel apples for small children as residues can lead to stomach upsets. Some people worry that fruit is too acidic, but while many fruits are acidic before digestion, after digestion fruits have a highly desirable alkaline effect on the body. Fruits are unlikely to have a detrimental effect on teeth (and can improve gum health in fact), but fruit juices need to be kept to meal times as they are more concentrated sources of acid and sugar which can wear away tooth enamel.

For an idea of some of the health promoting compounds in different fruits see the list below

Eating a variety of fruit is the best way of reaping the health benefits, but it is also true that specific fruits have different advantages. 

Apples Quercitin Antioxidant useful for lungs
Pectin A fibre which helps to detoxify pollution
Berries Proanthocyanidins The dark red colouration supports immune health.
Especially good for lungs and heart health.
Vitamin C Antioxidant, used for energy production,
needed for immune health, needed to make collagen
(necessary for skin and bone health).
Citrus Vitamin C (see berries above)
Bioflavonoids Makes vitamin C more potent
Limonene Helps liver to function
Cherries Vitamin C (see berries above)
Proanthocyanins (see berries above)
Iron Builds blood
Bananas Potassium Brain function, nerve cells and water balance
Cantaloup Beta-carotene Eye, skin and lung health
Grapes Ellagic acid Antioxidant
Magnesium Nerve function and bowel health
Kiwi Vitamin C (see berries above)
Mango Beta-carotene (see cantaloup above)
Galic acid Good for bowel health
Papaya Papain Digestive enzyme which helps digestion
Vitamins A, C and E The three main antioxidant vitamins
Pears Pectin (see apples above)
Pineapple Bromelain Digestive enzyme which helps digestion
Vitamin C (see berries above)
Iron (see cherries above)

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