Fruits to Add to Your Healthy Diet: The Amazing Health Benefits of 5 Popular Summer Fruits by Dr. Vikki Petersen
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” You’ve likely heard this saying more than you can count in your lifetime. And while you may feel that the saying is overused, it’s entirely true (and applicable to all fruits)! Fruit is a great way to stay healthy, refreshed and energized during the busy and hot summer months.
On a daily basis you want to eat two to three servings of fresh fruit. Organic is preferred, and mandatory, if your preference is some of the Dirty Dozen fruits. The Dirty Dozen refers to 12 fruits and vegetables that are so laden with pesticides that they should be avoided unless they are organic. Apples, strawberries, nectarines and peaches are a few that fall into this category. Fresh fruit provides fiber, essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Eating fruit can reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic inflammation.
Here are the health benefits of five favorite summer fruits:
- Berries: Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are high in fiber and the richest source of antioxidants, second only to pomegranate (not the easiest fruit to obtain or eat!). Antioxidants protect your cells from damage and improve your blood sugar and insulin response. This debunks a pervasive misconception that one should avoid fruit if you have diabetes. The opposite, in fact, is true.
- Apples: The old adage of “an apple a day” was accurate. Apples are special because they are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, thereby acting as a stabilizing force for your blood sugar while supporting gut health. Note: apples must be organic (due to the presence on the Dirty Dozen list) or they are not worth eating.
- Avocado: We often do not think of avocados as a fruit, but they hold a special place due to their high fiber content, low natural sugar levels and healthy fat content. The fat and fiber makes this fruit very satiating, and has been associated with weight loss. The special antioxidants present protect your heart, can lower cholesterol and support eye health.
- Oranges: Oranges and other citrus fruits are very rich in vitamin C, along with potassium and B vitamins. Eating a fresh orange can lower your inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Note: eat your orange, do not drink it in the form of juice, as many benefits are lost by juicing.
- Bananas: Bananas are easy to obtain and travel well. Beyond potassium, which they are best known for, bananas are rich in prebiotic fiber that feed healthy bacteria in your gut. The less ripe the banana the higher its resistant starch level and the better for your gut health.
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