While it may not be as simple as "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", there’s no doubt that eating a wide range of fruits is an essential part of a healthy diet. The most nutritious fruits are packed with fiber, vitamins, and other bioactive compounds that benefit the body. Not all fruits are created equal, and choosing the most nutrient-dense ones will help you get the most out of every bite.
Blueberries often top the list of the healthiest fruits, and for good reason. These little berries are low in calories but chock-full of fiber, vitamins C and K, and manganese. Perhaps most importantly, blueberries are rich in antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative stress.
Anthocyanins—a type of antioxidant found in berries—are thought to be useful in fighting inflammation and chronic disease, especially those related to obesity.
Like blueberries, raspberries are low in calories and packed full of vitamins, most notably vitamin C, which protects the body from free radical damage. This tart fruit also contains high levels of manganese, which is needed for the normal functioning of the brain, nervous system, and enzyme systems.
Raspberries also contain anthocyanins, which researchers believe may play a role in fighting cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Noticing a pattern yet? Experts recommend eating berries (or berry-named fruits, since some are mislabeled) because of their high levels of vitamins, dietary fiber, and a wide variety of bioactive compounds that benefit the body. Research shows that strawberries, in particular, have a positive effect on inflammation, blood pressure, blood lipid profiles, and insulin sensitivity.
Nevertheless, the nutrients they contain suggest strawberries may be useful in fighting several chronic diseases, including heart disease.
Apples are the most widely consumed fruit around the world. Though often considered "basic", this packable produce is incredibly nutritious and offers a host of health benefits. Research suggests that the compounds in apples have protective effects against obesity, cancer, heart disease, asthma, and Alzheimer’s disease.
They may also have a positive effect on diabetes, bone health, gut health, and cognitive decline related to age.
Historically used to prevent scurvy, citrus fruits are known for their high levels of vitamin C. Lemons also contain vitamins A and B6, as well as other essential minerals, such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid.
This sour fruit is high in antioxidants called flavonoids that protect cells from oxidative damage. Research suggests that these compounds may help fight diabetes and prevent cardiovascular disease.
Like lemon, grapefruit is citrus and high in vitamin C. It also contains fiber, potassium, and beta-carotene that the body uses to make vitamin A. Eating grapefruit could help control blood sugar levels and may benefit heart health by lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
Researchers are looking into compounds found in grapefruit—called furanocoumarins—for their anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects.
Sometimes called the "king of fruits", mango is low in calories and packed full of essential nutrients. It is bursting with vitamin C and contains high levels of the copper and folate required for cell growth, which is especially vital during pregnancy.
Mango contains a bioactive compound called mangiferin that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, supports the immune system, and helps prevent cell death. Researchers are looking into how mangiferin could prevent and treat memory impairment.
Avocado, often called a fruit but eaten as a vegetable, is actually a true berry. Avocados have become incredibly popular over the last few years due to their creamy texture, but they deliver plenty of health benefits too. They are full of healthy fats and rich in nutrients that most people don’t get enough of, such as vitamin E and potassium.
Avocado may lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and could benefit eye health due to high levels of an antioxidant called lutein.
Guava is packed full of fiber and contains at least twice as much vitamin C as an orange. It also contains beta-carotene and an antioxidant called lycopene that gives red-colored fruits their color. Lycopene is known to have anti-inflammatory effects and the ability to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, benefiting heart health.
Pomegranate is another fruit that could help promote good heart health. Pomegranates are full of antioxidants and have antimicrobial and anticarcinogenic properties. Studies show that eating pomegranate regularly could reduce blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and oxidative stress, all of which help protect the cardiovascular system.
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