If you’re looking to make healthier food choices, incorporating more fruits into your diet is one of the best things you can do. Unlike cookies, cake and candy (which contain no nutritional value), fruits are great sources of vitamins and minerals – especially Vitamin A and Vitamin C – as well as water.
If you’re looking to get more Vitamin C, citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, cantaloupe and strawberries are all great choices. Vitamin C helps to protect the body against things like respiratory infection and certain viruses, and can also help reduce the risk of gum disease. Oranges, in particular, have been linked to a decreased risk of pancreatic cancer; grapefruits can lower blood cholesterol levels; lemons contain cancer-fighting antioxidants, and is also great for sore throats when mixed in hot water or herbal teas. Strawberries are also a great antiviral, and like the previous fruits mentioned can also lessen the risk of cancer. Kiwi, while not a citrus fruit, is another great source of Vitamin C and has long been used in Chinese traditional medicine for things like stomach problems.
One of the best fruits for antioxidant activity are blueberries, not to mention they also have powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. Regular consumption of blueberries can help decrease the risk of strokes and can even prevent and help fight urinary tract infections. Cranberries also have a similar effect when it comes to treating urinary tract infections, as well as the prevention of kidney infections. Drinking just 2 glasses of cranberry juice each day can be extremely beneficial, though you should always make sure that any fruit juice you drink has no added sugar.
If you’re iron deficient, black currants are a fruit you should consider implementing into your diet. In addition, this fruit can also help reduce the symptoms associated with menopause due to them being a source of phytoestrogens – a compound that naturally occurs in plants. Black currents also contain anthocyanosides which help kill bacteria like E. coli.
Aside from their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, fruits like prunes and apples are also often recommended to individuals who suffer from acute cases of constipation. Plums are a natural laxative, while apples are high in bulk fibres known as pectin and cellulose, which help to promote regular bowel movements. Apples can also help to reduce high cholesterol. While you’re most likely familiar with the term “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” it’s actually recommended that you try to eat at least 2 apples per day. Alternatively, if you suffer from diarrhea, eating a banana can help prevent it. Bananas also contain fibre and can help promote bowel regularity. They’re also beneficial in treating other stomach-related problems such as colitis and ulcers, as well as dyspepsia, and are also good for the heart.
Figs contain a wide range of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc. If you’re iron deficient and suffer from fatigue on a regular basis (a common symptom associated with iron deficiency) then consuming figs can benefit you. However, keep in mind that some individuals say that figs may trigger headaches, so if you’re someone who gets headaches or migraines frequently, this may be a fruit you want to stay away from.
Tip: When picking out fruits at the grocery store, remember to make sure they’re ripe and not green in colour. The riper the fruit, the higher the levels of nutrients.