It is summer season with lots of light and warm weather. Because of that nature starts offering us a lot of amazing fruits. Fresh, sun-ripened and bursting with flavor, this is a good time for all things fruit. Fruits are very high in nutrients, vitamins and anti-oxidants. This makes them a great addition to any kind of diet.
Is there ever a bad time to eat fruit? Well actually, yes! Fruits are very easily broken down by our digestive system, and so they pass through our gut very quickly. This is a good thing, because it makes all the nutrients that they contain very easily available for our body. But, because they are broken down into their smaller parts so quickly, what happens if there is a big roadblock in the way?
What do I mean by that? Because fruits contain a lot of fruit sugar, it is good that they can go through our system swiftly and get absorbed into our bloodstream. (Think of an athlete eating a banana during a match for instance. It is quick fuel.) Things that take a long time for our digestive system to break down are proteins (in particular animal) and fats. (I bet you have never seen an athlete gulf down a heavy burger with extra sauce and fries during a game!) This means that if you just had a heavier meal with lots of meat and/or fat, like at a BBQ for instance, your digestive system will be working very hard to process all of it. This type of meal will take a lot longer to process than something like fruit or vegetables.
The best way is to eat fruit on their own, or with some vegetables. Eat them as a snack or perhaps 20-30min before eating something else. That is usually how long it takes for the fruit to pass through your stomach. Fruit usually mix very well with vegetables as they are also fairly easy to digest. So, if you want to add some fruit to a salad or in your smoothie, go for it. It should not be a problem.
But back to the roadblock question. Imagine you have just been to a BBQ and you had quite a heavy meal. Because fruits are delicious and in season, you think you are doing something good for your health by finishing the meal with a fruit salad. A short while after you are not really feeling very well, and your tummy might swell up a little or a lot.
That bloating of your gut comes from the fruit sugar not being able to pass through the stomach as quickly as it usually does. This is because all of the protein and fat have not been digested yet and are “in the way”. As the fruit hangs out in your warm body for much longer than it should, containing all that fruit sugar, it simply starts to ferment. That fermentation produces gas, and this is what makes your stomach feel bloated and swollen.
Because of this it is not ideal to have a heavier meal and then finishing it off with fruit. The exception to the rule would be pineapple, because it contains a lot of cool enzymes that actually helps with digestion. However, if you ask me, I would still not have a whole lot of pineapple at the end of a larger meal. But, as always, try it out for yourself and pay attention to how you feel.
I like to snack on fruit, like an apple, while I’m preparing lunch or dinner. (Choose organic as much as you can.) That way you have 20-30 min between the fruit and the meal. It’s an easy way to set yourself up for good digestion.
Choose the ripe time to eat your fruit, and enjoy the weekend!