Carmen Miranda, the so-called "Brazilian Bombshell," once sported a hat topped with around 17 pieces of fruit, including two bunches of grapes. Far more than you need every day.
It turns out that eating just two servings (that's an apple and eight large strawberries, for example) of whole fruit a day can cut your risk for Type 2 diabetes over the next five years by 36%.
But fruit juice doesn't work that magic.
A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism revealed fruit's diabetes-fighting powers and explained why it's so effective. Eating whole fruit improves insulin sensitivity so the body has to crank out less insulin to control blood sugar levels.
That's important because not only are high levels of circulating insulin related to diabetes, they also damage your blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure and heart disease, and are associated with obesity.
Whole fruit is tasty by itself, and you can also use it fresh in foods you prepare. Try these recipes in Dr. Mike's "What to Eat When Cookbook": Blueberry, fig, prune, and balsamic salad dressing; heirloom tomato and peach salad; cucumber, orange, and mint salad; snap pea and strawberry salad; and a thirst-quenching grape escape.
If you do cook your fruit (berries are tasty when served warm on steel-cut oatmeal), the liquid you get will be loaded with nutrients. Save it for smoothies, such as the “What to Eat When Vitality Smoothie,” or freeze it in ice cube trays to use in sauces or to flavor broiled salmon.