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Summer fruit guide: from low GI to low FODMAP

The warmer weather brings with it an abundance of delicious summer fruits to enjoy. They’re the perfect way to refresh your favourite smoothie blend or give dessert a fresh and healthy twist.

We should try to all aim to eat two serves of fruit a day and choosing fruit that’s in season is a great way to enjoy a healthy variety of fruits at a cheaper price. Here's why eating seasonally is good for the planet, your wallet and your waistline.

But where to start? While there are no ‘bad fruits’ sometimes our dietary needs mean we need to look a bit closer at the nutritional profile of different fruits. Someone with diabetes may want a lower GI fruit option, whereas someone with IBS may need a low FODMAP option.

Low carb fruit

Fruits contain natural sugars, but there's no need to scratch them from your diet if you are trying to cut back on the sweet stuff. Fruit is packed with disease fighting phytonutrients and fibre, making it an important part of any healthy diet.

Some fruits with a high-water content like in season watermelon and rock melon, are low carb. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries all make the low carb list too. They are also bursting with fibre, which is good for gut health, and contain vitamins B and C, which can help you fight fatigue. 

What are some low FODMAP fruit?

The FODMAP diet was created by dietitians at Monash University to provide relief for symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The diet excludes foods that contain a specific group of carbohydrates that trigger IBS symptoms like bloating, constipation, flatulence, and diarrhoea in some people.

If you’re following a low FODMAP diet deciding which fruit to eat can be tricky. In the early elimination phase of the diet, many fruits are avoided as they contain one or more of the FODMAP carbohydrates. Fruits high in FODMAPS include apples, cherries, mango and peaches. Check out the full list of low and high FODMAP foods here.

So what fruits can you enjoy? Among seasonal summer fruits, passionfruit, grapes, papaya and some berries are low in FODMAPs and a deliciously good diet addition. As well as a wide range of nutrients, these fruits contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which are important for keeping bowel regular.

What are some low GI fruit? 

If you’re managing your blood sugar levels there are a lot of low GI fruit to enjoy in summer. Mangoes, kiwi fruit, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and grapes are all low GI, as well as stonefruits like apricots, nectarines and plums.

Cherries and pineapples have a moderate GI and watermelon has a higher GI, but it doesn’t mean you need to avoid these fruits all together. Simply eat a smaller serve or combine with low GI foods, like nuts or yoghurt, to reduce their impact on your blood sugar levels. Read our article on the five ways you can lower the GI of your meal here.

Fruit good for gut health

Eating more fruit is a good way to bump up the fibre in your diet and give your gut some extra love. Fibre helps to keep your gut happy, and is an important part of our diet. All fruits contain fibre, however some particularly good sources include apples, oranges, guava and pomegranates. To get the most out of your fruit, keep the skin on where possible. This not only helps to bump up the fibre, but also provides you with important phytonutrients which help to reduce the risk of disease.

Some fruits, such as bananas, are also a source of  prebiotics – the fibres that feed the bugs in your gut to help create a healthy colony of thriving gut bacteria.

Three summer superstars:

Here’s our top three to add to your fruit salad to bump up the goodness:
  1. Strawberries – these tasty berries contain more vitamin C per 100g serve than an orange. They’re also a rich source of folate, which is important for growing children and if you’re pregnant. Folate and vitamin C are both needed for a healthy immune system.
  2. Mangoes – just like carrots, the bright orange flesh of a mango is a sign it contains beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which it needs for good vision and healthy skin. Mango is also especially rich in vitamin C and contains vitamin E, potassium, folate and fibre – deliciously tasty and so good for you too!
  3. Papaya – a serve of papaya (150g or about a cup full) provides a healthy dose of folate, fibre, vitamin C and vitamin A, which helps keep your immune system, gut health and skin in-check.
Here are our favourite recipe ideas to make the most of deliciously nutritious summer fruits:

Strawberry smoothie popsicles

Strawberry smoothie as a popsicle is the epitome of summer. Easy to prepare and store, it's a great summer snack for inbetween meals. See the recipe here.

Papaya boat

Start your day in style with this nutritious papaya boat. While it looks difficult, it's actually effortless to make and ticks the nutrition boox for wholegrains, fruit, dairy and nut and seeds. See the recipe here.

Healthy tropical food platter

Make the most of mango this summer season by including the sweet and delicious fruit in this savoury dish. The combination of flavours and textures work really well together and are sure to become a new family favourite. See the recipe here.