Fruit is everyone’s favorite healthy sweet. But what are the health benefits of fruit? Vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber and water, all add to fruit being the bomb. Though fruit sometimes gets a bad rap for being high in sugar, we all know by now that this sweet stuff is not the same as downing that bag of gummy bears. Even so, fruit comes in many shapes and sizes… And nutritional benefits!
Here are seven of my favorite fruits for maximum health:
This berry is famous for its antioxidant power, which helps reduce inflammation. It has a high polyphenol content, which has been found to improve your cholesterol and contribute to overall good heart health.
If your muscles are sore from that boxing class, this tart fruit may even moderately reduce exercise-induced muscle damage. The easiest way to get this super fruit into your diet is to buy it frozen and add to a smoothie. Or, blend it try this delish, creamy quinoa parfait.
These dark berries have been shown to have the highest cellular antioxidant activity compared to any other fruit tested. Snacking on blueberries can help to reduce oxidative stress, promote good heart health, provide protection against stroke, support healthy vision and also aid in cancer prevention. Pop them into your jar of overnight oats and have an antioxidant superfood breakfast ready to grab and go in the morning.
Yep, this superstar healthy fat is a fruit! The white part (meat) of the coconut is packed with fiber, protein, vitamin B and E, and the minerals calcium and iron. Coconut oil, which comes from the meat, is high in saturated fat called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). These fats are special in that they are more readily used for energy and less likely to be stored as fat than other saturated fats. Also, the fat in coconuts is linked to improving your cholesterol profile. Don’t forget it tastes like a Caribbean vacation — and all that fat keeps you super satisfied.
Besides being packed with vitamin C, this citrus fruit is packed with fiber and may speed up weight loss. It holds on to less water than other more sugary fruits and one study showed that people on diets who supplemented with grapefruit before meals lost significantly more weight than those who didn't. They also found that eating this fruit also contributed to healthy insulin levels following meals.
Skip the extra spoons of sugar, though, and opt for a broiled grapefruit with a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon next time that sweet tooth hits.
This tropical favorite contains the compound called bromelain, which may aid in digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties. This compound may be an effective health supplement in preventing cancer, diabetes and various cardiovascular diseases. The highest amount of bromelain though, is contained in the core of the pineapple, so instead of discarding it when you slice up your perfectly ripe pineapple, save it in the freezer and add it to smoothies for a tropical (and healthy!) punch.
Each of these pretty little seeds (don’t they look like jewels?) contain polyphenols which have been shown to lower blood pressure and even fight cancer. Pomegranate seeds are also a great source of potassium and fiber, and packed with vitamin C. One study found that one glass of pomegranate juice contained three times more antioxidants than a glass of red wine or a cup of green tea.
One cup of raspberries is not only d-e-l-i-s-h but will also give you a whopping 8 grams of fiber. The fiber will help keep sugars from being absorbed into your bloodstream too fast, meaning that you won’t experience a big spike in blood sugar that may leave you hungry for candy an hour after eating a bowl. These pretty red berries are also loaded with vitamin C for immune support and manganese for bone and skin health. Snack on them straight from picking or use them in a glaze for salmon.