Several daily servings of fruit provide vitamins and minerals that help the body ward off illnesses and diseases.
Fruits contain fiber, which helps prevent high cholesterol, heart attacks, strokes, Type 2 diabetes and obesity; Vitamin C, an antioxidant that strengthens tissues; and potassium, which stabilizes blood pressure and prevents muscle cramps. Unlike many other popular snack foods, fruits are low in calories and have no cholesterol, fat or salt.
Many nutritionists rank the following as the top 10 types of fruit for good health.
The heart, lungs and digestive system benefit from a diet that includes an apple a day. In addition to Vitamin C, this juicy fruit offers phenolic antioxidants which attack the “free radicals” that weaken cells.
Research has shown that this fruit aids in fighting cancer because it is packed with lycopene. In addition, beta-carotene-rich apricots promote cardiovascular health, deter infections and help prevent blindness.
Few fruits are as delicious or versatile as avocados. They complement many types of dishes, such as salads and sandwiches. Avocados assist in keeping blood-pressure and cholesterol levels in check, strengthen bones and boost immunity. They are high in potassium, folic acid and fiber that bolster resistance to heart disease and diabetes. Though avocados contain more calories than most other fruits, their mono-unsaturated fats are the healthy type of fat.
Few foods deliver more potassium than bananas, which is good news for those who deal with leg cramps. The mineral decreases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well. The fibrous banana, typically consumed as a snack or an ingredient in baked goods, eases stomach aches and heartburn. Unlike most other fruits, it discourages diarrhea.
The multiple varieties of berries provide a wealth of delectable alternatives to sugary, salty treats. Ellagic acid, an antioxidant phytochemical, is a proven cancer fighter. Berries also have Vitamin C, antioxidant phenolic acid, flavonoids and other compounds that help stop infections, cataracts, constipation and brain disease. Among the most nutritious berries are acai, goji, blueberries, cranberries and strawberries.
Cancer, high blood pressure, bad cholesterol and heart disease are some of the problems that are less likely to occur in people who eat cantaloupes. The fruit’s Vitamin C keeps arteries open, which restricts the buildup of LDL cholesterol. Carotenoids like beta-carotene are converted in the body to Vitamin A, which helps prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
Though many people do not appreciate the taste of this fruit, it is known to provide protection against cancer and cardiovascular disease. Grapefruit also speed the healing of wounds and recovery from the flu. Vitamin C and lycopene destroy free radicals, while a type of fiber called pectin lessens the danger of various diseases and illnesses.
8. Lemons and Limes
With some of the highest concentrations of Vitamin C available on grocery store shelves, these citrus products fend off heart disease and cancer while reducing a histamine that worsens cold symptoms. A single large lemon comes with 75 percent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C, which helps the body produce the wound-healing collagen.
This is another fruit loaded with Vitamin C, as well as fiber and energy-boosting natural sugars. Oranges contain the powerful antioxidants limolin and hesperidin, which increase HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol. Hesperidin also may decrease inflammation.
Twenty-five percent of the daily value of fiber can be obtained from a single pear. Almost half of the fiber is in the fruit’s pectin, which strengthens the heart by keeping cholesterol levels under control. Pears also offer high concentrations of Vitamin C and potassium, as well as a trace mineral called boron that promotes brain health and wards off osteoporosis.