There are big benefits to eating fruit. As we’ve all heard… an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what are the real benefits? Here’s a short list… and certainly there are many more:
- Most fruits contain fiber, which helps slow the absorption of sugars (fructose and others), making us feel full longer. This means we won’t feel the need to snack as often, and fruit can also lower cholesterol and keep us regular.
- Fruits like bananas and melons contain high amounts of potassium and can help reduce your blood pressure and your risk for kidney stones and bone loss.
- Fruit should be eaten alone or before meals. Fruit is easier for the body to digest than other foods, so try to consume it on its own or just before a meal. Research also shows that consuming more fruit may actually help prevent serious health conditions like heart disease.
- Fruit also contains high amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants are amazing molecules that help prevent the breakdown of cells due to free radicals, which can lead to serious health issues.
So what are some of the best fruits to eat?
- Kiwi: Lots of nutrition in a small package… It’s rich in potassium, magnesium, vitamin E and fiber and has almost twice the vitamin C of an orange.
- Apples: Although they don’t contain much vitamin C, apples are loaded with antioxidants, helping the body absorb more vitamin C and thereby reducing your risk of colon disease, heart attack and stroke.
- Strawberries: These amazing berries have the greatest amount of antioxidants found in fruit and shield the body from free radicals that can cause an array of health hazards.
- Guavas and Papayas: These fruits are often overlooked at the market, but they’re the grand prize winners for containing the most vitamin C. Guava is packed with fiber and helps in keeping you regular, and papaya has as much carotene as carrots, essential for good eye health.
Spring and summer welcome a host of great fruits and veggies we don’t normally see during the winter months. Hit up a farmers market, veggie co-op or start growing them in your own backyard and try these in-season faves that are loaded with sensational, fresh flavors.
Berries – Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are chock full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, potassium and folate. Eat ‘em up while you can because these are the nutrients we usually don’t get enough of.
Summer Squash – Zucchini, pattypans and yellow crookneck are all types of summer squash and a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber and potassium. When selecting a squash, look for smaller ones as they generally pack a sweeter flavor.
Watermelon – This quintessential summertime staple is a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium. Watermelon is also a great antioxidant, helping to lower your risk of certain diseases. So when you’re looking for that perfect melon, use your nose – Ripe ones will smell delicious.
Corn – This is a favorite summertime carb and a great source of fiber. It has phytonutrients that may promote heart health. When you’re looking for tasty ears, try to get it as fresh-picked as possible, looking for a bright green husk and silks that are stiff, dark and moist.
Peas – These summertime favorites are packed with protein and rich in vitamins A and C. Go ahead and eat them fresh from the peapod and look for a shiny, bright green outer color.
There are some days that we feel angry, anxious, or just plain unhappy. Try one of these five foods to lift your spirits:
* Leafy Greens. For those down in the dumps days, the B vitamin folate can help break down homocysteine, which may be linked to depression. Other great sources of folate are beans, citrus fruits and fortified grain products.
* Turkey. To help calm your anxiety, try some tryptophan, which can help the brain produce feel-good chemicals. You can also try chicken, eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds.
* Black Tea. Stress less by sipping some hot or cold black tea—it may decrease cortisol, a stress hormone. It may also improve your memory and could help get rid of headaches.
* Dark Chocolate. For women experiencing PMS symptoms, the flavonoids in dark chocolate may help get rid of crankiness. Just one more reason to treat yourself.
* Fish. To improve your brain health and help you think more clearly, the omega 3s in fish can improve the communication between your brain’s cells. Try salmon, trout, sardines, herring or anchovies.