Eating more fruit is an excellent way to improve overall health and reduce the risk of disease. Fruits are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, and they are high in fiber. Fruits also provide a wide range of health-boosting antioxidants, including flavonoids.
Below are a list of eight fruits and their benefits to add to your diet. Remember: it is always best to actually eat the fruit itself, not just drink fruit juice which can be high in sugar and have less fiber and nutrients.
Peaches and nectarines: Packed with potassium
Everyone knows that bananas boast high amounts of potassium, but two small peaches or nectarines have more of the essential mineral than one medium banana, boosting nerve and muscle health and making them one of the healthiest fruits. The skins, in particular, are rich in antioxidants and insoluble fiber.
Pineapple: Powerful anti-inflammatory
Grilled, frozen, dried, or fresh, this sweet and tangy tropical fruit is jam-packed with bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme that has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Grapes: Heart healthy
As one of the world’s oldest and most abundant healthiest fruits, grapes have been proven to ward off heart disease and high cholesterol, thanks to high levels of the antioxidants quercetin and resveratrol. Each little bulb is also a great source of potassium and iron, which prevent muscle cramps and anemia. Stick with the purple or red kind, as they contain the highest concentration of healthy compounds.
Kiwi: Loaded with vitamins
Beneath its fuzzy skin is a sweet fruit loaded with vitamins C and E, both strong antioxidants that protect against cancer and promote eye health. Kiwis are also low in calories and high in fiber, making them an ideal snack. Because they can last up to four weeks when stored in the refrigerator, they are a great to keep all year round.
Mangoes: Immunity boosters
Mangoes are becoming increasingly popular among nutritionists due to their exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A to promote bone growth and a healthy immune system. Even more, these exotic treats are packed with more than 50 percent of your daily vitamin C—that’s more than oranges provide.
Apples: Brain- and heart-healthy
One medium apple is low on calories but heavy on quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that protects brain cell degeneration, which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Adults who eat apples are less likely to develop high blood pressure, according to one study. Apples can also lower cholesterol and prevent colon cancer, as well as promote healthy teeth and weight loss. Don’t forget to eat the skin, too—it’s especially rich in disease-fighting compounds like flavonoids, which reduce the risk of heart disease.
Grapefruit: Vitamin C powerhouse
Although oranges are a great source of vitamin C, grapefruits pack a bigger punch. Just half of a grapefruit contains nearly 50 percent of your daily vitamin C, as well as high levels of fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. Studies have suggested that grapefruit can alleviate the symptoms of arthritis and repair damaged or oily skin and hair.
Bananas: Healthy on-the-go snack
A banana is the perfect on-the-go snack, already wrapped and full of potassium and fiber to promote long-lasting energy and keep you alert all day long. And since it contains no fat or salt, bananas are a much healthier snack option than a granola bar or bag of pretzels. Want to make your bananas last longer? Here’s a trick: Store them in the refrigerator after they’re ripe. Although the peel may turn brown, the fruit underneath will stay delicious for three to five extra days.
Fruits come in all shapes and sizes, and different fruits have different health benefits. For the best results, add a variety of fruits to the diet.