The Fruits of Life
From our earliest years on the planet, we’ve been taught that fresh fruits are essential components of a well-rounded, healthy diet. That is not a secret. Almost any fruit you can think of has its own attributes. Some are particularly rich in fiber, while others may be high in vitamins A, C, B-complex or essential minerals. We really can’t go wrong with eating fruit and they are our friend for a healthy diet.
But if we really want to get specific as to which super fruits pack the best bang for our bodies, it might be helpful to list which ones may be the top ten best fruits to eat. Many fruits are seasonal—oranges, peaches and berries being prime examples. Some have shorter shelf lives and must be sought and bought when ripe, shortly after harvest. There are new hybrids being grown to introduce new tastes, textures and to eliminate seeds. Organic fruits are more available than ever, at health food stores, farmer’s markets and new mega-organic grocery stores. There is something for everyone and there’s no excuse for not finding fresh fruits to eat at any time of the year or in virtually any location.
Now for fruit in the Top Ten list. Other nutritionists may have different picks for their top ten and you cannot go wrong with these delicious choices for getting the goodies that come from fresh fruit!
- Apples. Do not peel the skin! These red or green beauties are great sources of fiber and are loaded with high levels of flavonoid antioxidants. As such, apples are great for lowering cholesterol and cutting your risks for developing cardiovascular disease and cancer. The old saying really does hold true—“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”
- Apricots. Packed with vitamins A, C, E, potassium, iron and carotenoids, apricots are superior sources of nutrients our bodies need. Lycopene in this fruit benefit the eyes and prevent heart disease, lower LDL (Bad) cholesterol and help prevent skin cancer.
- Bananas. Ever heard someone suggest eating a banana for low potassium? Well, they were spot on! Bananas are a sure source of potassium, containing as much as 400 mg in one of these odd-looking yellow fruits. Potassium is key in maintaining blood pressure and muscle function in the body. They are great for adding fiber to the diet and easy to peel and eat.
- Berries. Many refer to berries, particularly blueberries, as “Super-foods”. That term is indicative of the nutrients most berries provide. They are absolutely flush with antioxidants, chief among them, vitamin C. Likewise, these smaller fruits pack a punch of fiber not easily rivaled by any other members of the fruit family. You really can’t beat the healthy benefits of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries or raspberries.
- Cantaloupes. Need a quick and easy breakfast idea? How about sitting down to half a cantaloupe? Cantaloupes are rich in vitamin C, potassium and carotenoid antioxidants. These melons can strengthen your immune system and help prevent chronic and life-threatening heart disease and cancer.
- Cherries. There’s really nothing better than a cherry pie. But that’s not what we’re talking about here! We’re talking about fresh cherries. They are just as tasty and incredibly good for you. Cherries have appreciable levels of potassium, magnesium, vitamins C, E and folate.
- Citrus Fruits. Typically we think of oranges when we hear the term, “citrus fruits”. Oranges are certainly key among the group, and don’t forget about grapefruit, lemons, limes, tangerines and mandarin oranges. There is simply not a better conventional source of vitamin C than a citrus fruit. Add fiber to the benefits of eating fresh citrus and you have an unbeatable fruit snack for your body.
- Kiwifruits. The outer casing of a kiwifruit is an odd-looking container for such a beneficial fresh fruit. As adage goes, “You can’t judge a book by its cover!” That’s certainly true in this instance. Given its size, a kiwi outguns an orange for content of vitamin C, once-for-ounce. So, don’t be afraid of this super-food. There’s nothing but “good” inside!
- Papayas. This is another fruit that we as Americans are not as familiar with, and papayas are an excellent choice for fulfilling our needs for vitamin C and folate. Likewise, helpful digestive enzymes are present in these imported fruits that allow for efficient protein absorption and good digestion.
- Red Grapes. Red grapes contain the antioxidant resveratrol. This powerful flavonoid has been shown to lower bad LDL cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Resveratrol supplements are available, extracting this heart-healthy compound for ease of consumption. But fresh grapes can offer the same benefits, in a delicious and nutritious form.
There you have it—the top ten list of fruit that is exceptionally healthy for you. You may have your favorites and you cannot go wrong with any edible fruit. Enjoy the fresh fruit in season where you live – and your body will reap the health benefits.