The Sweet Reality of Eating Nutritious Fruits

This time of year, fresh fruits abound. No matter whether the fruit you eat is fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, all of the varieties offer a plethora of flavors, colors and, most importantly, health benefits.
No “Anti-Nutrients”
In fruits, you will find phytochemicals, fiber, and nutrients like potassium and vitamin C that your body needs to function optimally. Although supplemental vitamins are on the market, scientists at the NC Research Campus recommend obtaining vitamins and minerals from natural, whole foods like fruits. For most people who maintain a nutritious, balanced diet including the recommended two cups of fruit per day, it is possible to obtain all the vitamins and minerals you need.
Amidst all the health benefits found in fruit, what you will not find are so called “anti-nutrients” like sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fat that contribute to an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer when consumed in large amounts. Swapping out foods with high amounts of anti-nutrients for fruits that are high in nutrition is an easy way to improve your health.
[read more about fruit’s healthy benefits.]


NRI welcomes renowned scientist to Kannapolis institute

The UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) welcomes Susan Smith, Ph.D., who joins the research facility’s roster of scientists this month. Dr. Smith is an internationally recognized expert on how nutrition affects birth defect risks. Currently she focuses on why there are differences among babies in their sensitivity to alcohol during pregnancy; why only some children develop birth defects when their mothers drink alcohol during pregnancy. Dr. Smith’s laboratory has also studied nutritional concerns in children and adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. FASD is the leading known cause of permanent developmental disability and affects 2.6% – 4.6% of U.S. school children. The World Health Organization identifies prenatal alcohol exposure as a priority health risk in pregnancy.
Dr. Smith is an expert in the mechanisms and risk for dietary compounds that interfere with prenatal development, with an emphasis on alcohol but also on vitamin A, dioxins, and groundwater contaminants. Her contributions in the birth defects field are recognized in numerous publications and collaborations and by a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, associate editorship at Birth Defects Research A, chair of the NIH study section Neurotoxicology and Alcohol, and numerous talks and conference organizer positions.
[read more about Dr. Smith’s research.]

Sweet Potato Slaw

Designed by: Chef Aubrey Mast, Extension Associate for Nutrition, NC State University, Plants for Human Health Institute.

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 apples, finely sliced
  • 1 cup of kale, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds


  1. Combine sweet potatoes, carrot, apples and kale.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and sea salt.
  3. Coat the grated produce with the wet mixture making sure to fully incoporate.
  4. Top with pumpkin seeds.

Nutrition Facts
Antioxidants from plant sources may play an important role in reducing the risk of cancer. Sweet potatoes have been researched for their antioxidants, ability to prevent liver damage, heart protection, and anti-diabetic effects, all of which have been attributed to their phytochemical content.  [read more]