Don’t underestimate the importance of fruit in the diet, for health and for training. Does fruit contain sugar? Yes, but it is naturally occurring fruit sugar (carbohydrate), not added sugar. Carbohydrate is an important fuel source for sports performance, but fruit provides so much more than just sugar. Fruit is also rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Antioxidants help to soak up free radicals which are responsible for oxidative stress and the gradual ageing process.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that from the age of 9 we should be eating a minimum of 2 serves of fruit per day. A serve is 1 medium piece e.g. banana, apple, 2 smaller fruit e.g. kiwi, plums or a cup of chopped fruit. Eating a rainbow of different coloured fruit will help ensure you provide your body with a variety of different nutrients as different colours carry a unique set of disease fighting phytochemicals, and one of the major functions of phytochemicals is their role as antioxidants.

Fruit is delicious eaten on its own or paired with other foods as part of a meal. It makes the perfect snack e.g. banana pre-run, and it’s easy to add a piece of fruit to a lunch box or stir some berries into yoghurt. Try adding blueberries or pomegranate seeds to salads, pairing mango salsa with fish or apple rings with pork. We are very lucky that we have a vast array of different fruits available to us in Australia so why not try something you haven’t had before.

By Liz Lovering, Accredited Sports Dietitian at intraining Running Centre, a qualified chef, marathon runner and coach.

Want to find out more? Book an Appointment to see Liz.