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Ask the experts: Fruit intake, exercise time, coconut water

Sovereign ambassadors Nicola Reilly, a personal trainer, nutrition and lifestyle coach, and Pua Magasiva, an actor and personal trainer, answer your nutrition and fitness questions.

Ask experts about your fruit intake, exercise time and coconut water

Q. How much fruit should I be eating each day?
A. We are all unique, having different genetics, digestive systems, workloads and stress levels. The foods that work for one person won’t necessarily work for another. This means some people can eat more fruit than others.

You should base your diet around whole and real foods, which are as close to their natural state as possible. Fruit definitely fits into this category. However, you also want to eat foods that will provide you with a consistent delivery of energy.

Fruit is high in natural sugars, so if you have a lot in one intake, such as a smoothie that contains banana, mango, berries and pineapple, you will have a short spike in energy followed by a crash. Constantly having highs and lows in energy throughout the day will make you exhausted and unable to shift unwanted weight.

It’s also important to note that dried fruit is one whole piece of fruit dried, so it contains similar and sometimes more sugar.

Fruit is loaded with amazing nutrients and is great for us, but in limited quantities – just one or two pieces per day is fine. If you are making a smoothie, have one piece of fruit in it and make the rest vegetables. Choose lower-sugar fruit like green apples, berries and citrus.

Consume your fruits with some fat to ensure you don’t get spikes in blood sugar levels. For example, coconut yogurt and nuts combined with fresh fruit is a nice, well-rounded treat that will provide stable energy.

Nicola

Q. What is the best time of day to exercise?
A. Anytime! It all depends on how it works with your daily routine. You should experiment because everyone is different; some people find it easier to train in the morning because they have the rest of the day to do other things.

I find midday works for me because I know I’ve fuelled myself enough to get the best out of my workout – it all depends on when to best utilise your energy sources.

Pua

Q. Is drinking coconut water really good for me?
A. Coconut water is fantastic because it is loaded with amazing nutrients and it can be incredibly beneficial. Coconut water is great for women who get morning sickness. It’s also an excellent drink for athletes, because it is rich in electrolytes.

As with anything, it depends on the quality of coconut water you are getting, what it is stored in and what additives have been put into the product. Personally I don’t drink coconut water often because I don’t enjoy how the packaged water tastes compared with fresh coconut water.

If you are buying it, either buy whole coconuts and master the art of cracking them yourself, or check the packaging (ideally a glass container) to ensure it is 100 per cent coconut water with nothing else added.

Nicola

Photos: Corbis Images

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