How Quickly Does Fruit Lose Its Nutrients?

How Quickly Does Fruit Lose It’s Nutrients?
How Quickly Does Fruit Lose It’s Nutrients?

Question: How much of the nutrients are lost when you have a watermelon that is not rotten but you waited too long to cut it and it's not at it's optimum anymore? For example, optimum is Day 1 when you should have cut it but you cut it on Day 12 when the insides are turning mushy rather than crisp?

And after cutting into it, how does each day in the fridge affect its nutrients? How much is lost each day? And for other fruit, in general, the same question above. Is it worth it to eat fruit when it's past it's prime?

Answer:  That's an excellent question, but one that there is no definitive answer for, at least without coming into your kitchen to analyze the watermelon and the circumstances which surround it (temperature of your fridge, covered/uncovered, etc.). Generally, the more ripe an uncut fruit is, the more nutrients it develops; but once you cut a fruit or vegetable, the enzymes and the water-soluble nutrients (vitamin C, B vitamins) will deteriorate, sometimes quite rapidly. Fruit, especially colorful fruit, however, is rich in phytochemicals – nutrients that are responsible for the pigment and structure of the fruit – and these phytochemicals (thousands of nutrients) are not damaged with exposure to air from cutting or from the passing of time. In fact, one study indicates that some nutrients in watermelon actually increase as time goes on (and in this particular case, with exposure to light). Basically, if it's still edible, go ahead and eat it. If it's getting to the point where eating the fruit is not an enjoyable experience, put it in the blender or juicer and drink the powerful phytochemicals it provides instead.

Read more about the health benefits of watermelon

Ways to enjoy watermelon:

Probiotic Watermelon Float with Lime and Raspberries

Spicy Watermelon Juice Recipe with Coconut Water and Jalapeno

Minty Watermelon & Feta Cheese Salad

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Lisa has been in her own practice for over 15 years and specializes in weight management. She teaches natural nutrition in both corporate and educational environments and is a shining example of someone who practices what she teaches. Lisa is a nutritionist and educator specializing in weight management. After losing weight several years ago through a more natural diet and by improving her digestion, she committed to sharing her new-found knowledge and returned to school to study nutrition. Over the past decade, her Nu-Vitality Weight Program has helped employees at numerous corporations lose thousands of pounds. In addition, Lisa regularly consults for groups and individuals with unique nutritional needs such as police officers and athletes. Lisa has been featured on the Discovery Channel, numerous radio programs and is a contributor to various publications. Additionally, she teaches nutrition at multiple post-secondary schools, has taught natural food cooking workshops, and authored two books.