15 Tasty Fruits That Are Also Super Healthy
“Eat your fruits and vegetables.” You’ve probably heard this piece of advice countless times in your lifetime and let’s face it – you might even be getting a little annoyed from hearing it so often. Despite this good advice that has remained pertinent through the test of time, there’s a bit of a problem – most people still don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables.
Fruit tends to be more palatable (compared to vegetables) for most people because of its natural sweetness. It’s also satisfying in the summer months due to its high water content and cool, juicy texture. While it’s still a good idea to reach for veggies on a regular basis, including more fruit in your diet will also provide a multitude of health benefits.
Plant-based foods such as fruit contain fiber, an important nutrient many people fall short in. Also called roughage, fiber is a type of carbohydrate that can’t be digested by the human body. Fiber has numerous proven health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers.
If you’re watching your carb intake, such as those with prediabetes or diabetes, fear not – higher fiber foods have a lower impact on blood sugar levels compared to low-fiber carbs. Fiber takes longer to digest, so it can also help slow the blood sugar response after eating as well as boost satiety, which may help with weight management.
Raspberries are one of the highest-fiber fruits with eight grams per one-cup serving. The American Heart Association recommends eating 25-30 grams of fiber per day from whole foods, so just one cup of raspberries will knock out almost a third of that goal.
You might not think of avocados when you think of fruit, especially because they don’t taste sweet. Avocados are a great option for those wanting the health benefits of fruit while also watching their sugar intake, such as people following low-carb diets.
One cup of sliced avocado contains 12 grams of carbs, but 10 of those come from fiber, making the net carb total only two grams. Net carbs are the number of carbs that have an impact on blood sugar levels and can be found by subtracting the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs. Avocados are rich in vitamins B6 and C, as well as being a good source of magnesium. Eating avocados is also associated with improved lipid (cholesterol) numbers, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.
One of the most budget-friendly fruit options, bananas pack a nutritional punch. Bananas are rich in potassium, a mineral that can help relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure. They are also rich in compounds that act as antioxidants, helping to reduce stress and inflammation in the body. Because of their antioxidant properties, eating bananas can help reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases.
An apple a day may really help keep the doctor away! Apples have beneficial effects against cancer, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes, as well as promoting weight management. Apples are rich in vitamin C and fiber, as well as antioxidants. These antioxidants are negatively impacted by processing apples to make apple juice, so stick with fresh or dried apples.
A summer favorite, watermelon is rich in lycopene, a type of antioxidant. There aren’t many foods naturally rich in lycopene, which is one of the major benefits of watermelon. Antioxidants such as lycopene help to fight cell damage and can help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancers as well as heart disease. It’s also rich in vitamin C and potassium while being hydrating with 92% of the fruit consisting of water.
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Oranges are one of the most well-known sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C not only benefits the immune system, but it’s also crucial for wound healing, healthy gums, and reducing the severity of allergic reactions. Enjoy oranges on their own, as part of a salad, or to give flavor baked along with fish fillets in foil packets.
Anthocyanins are a group of pigments that give blueberries their rich blue color and also boast numerous health benefits. Anthocyanins can help reduce inflammation and prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and neurological disorders. Anthocyanins can also fight plaque buildup in the arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Incredibly rich in antioxidants, strawberries can reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol, which can cause plaque buildup in the arteries. Strawberries are also a good source of vitamin C as well as a source of fiber with three grams per cup of sliced berries. Strawberries are super versatile as well – add them to smoothies, salads, or to top your morning bowl of oatmeal.
Similar to strawberries, kiwifruit is high in vitamin C and fiber. Kiwis are actually large berries speaking from a botanical standpoint, which may be surprising due to their fuzz and peel.
Fiber can help prevent constipation and treat gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and diverticular disease. A high-fiber diet can also help prevent diverticulosis (the presence of pockets within the walls of the intestines) from turning into diverticulitis, a painful inflammation of those pockets.
This tropical fruit is one of the sweeter options out there. Like many other fruits, mangos are rich in vitamin C and many antioxidants including beta carotene, which gives the fruit its yellow color. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body; vitamin A is essential for healthy vision, skin health, and healthy fetal development during pregnancy.
Be sure to opt for fresh mango over dried versions, which often have sugar added to them. If you do choose dried mango (even unsweetened kinds), be sure to be mindful of your portion sizes, as dried fruit is more concentrated in calories and sugar than fresh.
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A summary of studies done on cherry consumption in humans found that cherries can help to reduce stress on the cells, improve arthritis symptoms, reduce blood pressure, improve sleep and reduce post-exercise muscle soreness. Cherries have also been found to reduce blood sugar and triglycerides in women with diabetes.
12. Dragon fruit
This exotic-looking fruit is often described as a cross between a kiwi and a pear. Dragon fruit is especially rich in magnesium, a mineral that can help promote muscle relaxation. Magnesium can also help treat headaches once they’ve already started, as well as prevent migraine headaches.
One lemon provides over half of the daily amount of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect cells against damage from free radicals, which are unstable molecules in the body that can cause damage from oxidation, a process that can result in inflammation and stress. This type of stress (oxidative stress) can promote the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis, among other negative health conditions.
Pineapple is one of the most popular tropical fruits in the United States, and for good reason! Pineapple packs a ton of juicy sweetness, along with being rich in both vitamin C and manganese. Manganese is essential for healthy immune system functioning, metabolism of nutrients, blood sugar regulation, reproduction, bone growth, and digestion. One cup of pineapple provides almost three-quarters of the daily requirement for manganese.
Grape skins are rich in resveratrol, a type of antioxidant. They are also rich in vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting. Studies have found that people who consume grapes have a lower risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
When it’s hot outside, pop some grapes in the freezer – allow them to freeze all the way and then enjoy them like healthy mini popsicles!
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