When it involves eating healthy, many natural options are available. Why settle for superfoods and “organic” varieties at a premium price when we already have nature’s best in the form of real, healthy fruits? These fruits have been cultivated for millennia and have never gone wrong. They are definitely some of the tastiest and healthiest foods you’ll find in the supermarket.
You may have heard the common saying that “an apple each day keeps the doctor away” – and it really does. Apples help to shield you against cardiac and gastrointestinal diseases. They also aid against anemia, diabetes, and relieve symptoms of rheumatism. Additionally, their high amounts of soluble fiber enhance your digestive process for smooth bowel movements, easing any constipation or diarrhea.
It’s a known incontrovertible fact that bananas contain high levels of potassium. Apart from the advantages of potassium, from maintaining proper heart function to regulating vital signs, bananas also contain natural sugars which boost your energy. That’s why you sometimes see athletes snacking on bananas instead of sugar-high drinks or bars. The good thing about snacking on bananas is that they will not spike your blood glucose, maintaining a gentle energy release rather than giving you a sudden high. When you next hit the gym, try having a banana for a snack instead of that energy bar!
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and tangerines are already well-known for their high levels of vitamin C. However, they are also doing a good job in boosting one’s immunity. The flavonoids in citrus fruits are plant compounds that contribute to a healthy heart, serving to lower bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as reducing the risks of many heart conditions. Although citrus fruits can be sweet, their sweetness comes from natural sugars. Much like bananas, their glucose is released into your bloodstream slowly, supplying you with that steady flow of energy without a sudden spike nor a sudden low.
Kiwis may be small fruits, but they definitely pack a punch. They are filled with nutrients such as Vitamins C, E, K, folate, and potassium. Kiwis are renowned for helping people suffering from asthma, with their high amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants. In fact, kiwis have been shown to reduce wheezing in children and improve the lung functions of those affected by breathing difficulties. Kiwis also are good for digestion thanks to their fiber and actinidin, a protease that breaks down protein.
Pineapples are rich in vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants, remaining sweet all while staying low in calories. They contain high amounts of manganese which boost antioxidant defenses. Pineapples also contain thiamin, a B-complex vitamin that is involved in energy production. The manganese in pineapples contributes to the development of strong bones and tissue. As such, pineapples are usually recommended to post-menopause women to assist in preventing osteoporosis.
Pomegranate, referred to as the jewel of winter, is one among the world’s oldest cultivated fruits. Aside from helping to prevent cancer and lower cholesterol levels, pomegranates are also good for your heart. Pomegranates protect against heart conditions by reducing bad cholesterol, increasing oxygen levels to the digestive tract and preventing the buildup of plaque within the arteries.
One great benefit of pomegranate is that it promotes weight loss. Pomegranates contain polyphenols, a kind of antioxidant that acts as a natural suppressant. People that take pomegranate juice tend to possess less desire to eat, while finding their meals more satisfying.
The mango has been around since millennia ago, renowned for being the “king of fruits”. The polyphenols in mango act as antioxidants, protecting the cells from free radicals. Mango also contains a singular antioxidant called mangiferin, which is claimed to guard against inflammation of heart cells and lower bad cholesterol. Aside from these great antioxidants, mango is full of nutrients like folate and Vitamins A, B, C, E and K, making it a useful source of immunity.
The natural sugar of figs is employed in spreads as a healthier alternative to subtle sugar. Being rich in fiber, figs promote bone density and healthy vital signs. Figs are easily accessible – you can typically find dried figs in many places at any time of the year. Figs contain phenol, omega-3, and omega-6 which improve health. Additionally, figs are high in potassium and low in sodium, effectively countering high blood pressure (hypertension).
Bilberry, a relative of the nutritious blueberry, is used in treating diarrhea, scurvy and eye problems. What really makes bilberry special is its anthocyanosides, plant pigments that have antioxidant properties. Through scanning the body for free radicals, these antioxidants help to stop or reverse damaged cells.
Although it has been debated whether eating bilberry really improves night vision, the fruit has been shown to stop cell damage within the retina from exposure to light. Additionally, bilberry contains vitamin C, providing a strong boost to your system – and you can’t really go wrong with that.
Unlike most fruits, avocados are high in fat. Fortunately, it is a good type of fat – monounsaturated fat. As long as avocados are taken in moderation, they can help to lower bad cholesterol. Avocados are low in sugar and contain tons of fiber, which also helps people feel more satisfied with their meals and subsequently have less of a desire to eat. If you have some avocado juice together with your meal, you may find that you stay full for a longer time, which also helps in weight loss. Furthermore, avocados contain a tremendous number of nearly 20 minerals and vitamins, boosting your immunity and fighting against cancer risks.
Although some people may refer to tomatoes as vegetables, they are actually fruits by botanical definition since they contain seeds and develop from the ovary of a flowering plant. However, tomatoes have long been used in culinary recipes alongside vegetables, partly due to their low carb and sugar contents. Regardless of what they are classified as, tomatoes provide a large boost to your recommended daily vitamin intake, with a single tomato providing about 40% of the suggested daily minimum of vitamin C. Tomatoes also contain vitamins A and K, supplementing your immune system, vision, skin health, heart function, muscle contraction and more. Tomatoes get their red color from an antioxidant called lycopene, which protect heart health and lower the risk of eye conditions such as cataract and macular degeneration.
Cherries are a popular antioxidant, with both sweet cherries and tart cherries having their own health benefits. In fact, tart cherries have been found to be a more effective antioxidant than vitamin E and comparable to antioxidant supplements that are commercially available. Tart cherries are also anti-inflammatory and help in lowering your risk of gout attacks, as well as reduce pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. Sweet cherries are rich in fiber, carotenoids, anthocyanins and vitamin C, which are good for lowering your risk of cancer. Additionally, tart cherries have been shown to increase your melatonin levels and help you sleep better.
It’s never too late to give your body the nutrition it needs. Don’t forget that fruits can always be taken as juices or conveniently added to a salad. If you have a goal to start eating healthy, take the first step and try incorporating some of these nutritious and delicious fruits into your regular diet!