July 30--An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but these fruits do a lot of
good, too. Sarah Wood, a registered dietitian with Heartland Health's Wellness
Connections, helped break down which fruits pack the most nutrients per bite.
The good news? No matter what, you can't pick wrong.
"There's no fruit I would say, 'I wouldn't eat that,'" Wood says.
Just make sure that you aim for a variety of colors. The more color a fruit or
vegetable has, the more nutrients you'll find, Wood says.
"Berries are super high in nutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants," Wood
Deep red, blue and purple berries have antioxidants called anthocyanins.
Research from the National Institutes of Health shows that anthocyanins function
as an anti-inflammatory agent. The phytochemical also protects against DNA
Though acai berries have gotten a lot of health acclaim in recent years, the
less exotic cranberries, blueberries and blackberries all carry good-for-you
nutrients as well, Wood says.
Next time you order a hamburger, make sure you get a tomato on it. Tomatoes
contain good-for-you phytochemicals called carotenoids, which give the fruit its
The carotenoids are also antioxidants, which means they'll help fight
inflammation and the breakdown of cells.
One of the most important carotenoids that tomatoes carry is lycopene. Research
shows that lycopene can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. The Mayo
Clinic also links lycoepene to a reduced chance of macular degeneration.
Bananas pack a lot of other nutrients. The fruit has, on average, 3.1 grams of
dietary fiber, a necessary nutrient for bowel health, as well as 17 percent of
your recommended vitamin C intake.
"Bananas are great for potassium, especially for athletes," Wood says.
After a workout, the potassium can help boost recovery time.
The fruit also includes vitamin B6 intake. The vitamin helps build antibodies,
maintain nerve function and stabilize blood sugar.
There's a reason avocados are often touted as a superfood. The green fruit
contains a high amount of dietary fiber and monounsaturated fat and a low amount
of sugar (about 1 gram per serving).
Good-for-you unsaturated fats can improve your cholesterol numbers, which in
turn reduces the risk of heart disease. Unsaturated fats also can help with
growth and development in the body and brain function.
On top of the high amounts of vitamin C, which serves as an anti-inflammatory,
oranges contain beta carotene.
Mayo Clinic research indicates that beta carotene boosts the body's immune
system and can help reduce the risk of several types of cancers, including
stomach and lung.
Oranges contain calcium, vitamin B6 and magnesium as well.
Jennifer Gordon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her
on Twitter: @SJNPGordon.
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