The fact that fruit is good for us is drummed into us from a young age – but just how beneficial is it? A recent UCL study found that people who ate seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day had a 42% lower risk of dying at any point in time than those who ate less than one portion.
That’s pretty compelling evidence, but what benefits does each type of fruit provide? Will an apple a day really keep the doctor away? A friend of mine in school thought he was the pinnacle of health because he ate 5 oranges every day, no other fruit or veg, just oranges! It was amusing sure, but it served to highlight that realistically, none of us really had much of a clue what vitamins and minerals we were getting from where, and the value of a varied, healthy diet never resonated with us as a result. I doubt we were the only young people to feel this way.
Is it any wonder then that when we reach adulthood many of us don’t magically develop healthy eating habits? We’re more likely to reach for coffee and biscuits at work than we are for much else during that pre-lunch lull. Research from Fruitful Office has identified the plethora of workplace benefits that come from eating fruit, but again I feel it’s stopped short of actually communicating that the vitamin and mineral contents of different types of fruit are never the same. So, just what health benefits can you expect from eating healthy? I’ve decided to break down some of the most popular fruits with a bit of nutritional information to back it up.
Avocados have become a foodie’s favourite in recent years, and for good reason. Avocados contain high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats which can help to lower cholesterol levels and give your heart a healthy boost.
Blueberries have a greater level of antioxidant activity than any other fruit. This means they not only help to improve your memory and ability to learn, but they may also lower the risk of developing age related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Confession time – this is the only one on the list I don’t actually like, but I wish I did! It’s regularly touted as a great tool to add to a weight loss regime as well as offering reductions to insulin resistance and lowering your cholesterol and risk of kidney stones.
As well as antioxidants that have health promoting and disease preventing properties, apples also contain considerable quantities of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Vitamin C is a powerful natural oxidant which can help the body develop resistance against infectious agents and reduce free radicals in the body. Apples are also a good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin and thiamine, which can boost the metabolic function.
The kiwi fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, with one fruit providing 154% of the recommended daily intake. It also contains high levels of vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K, which has an important role to play in building bone mass.
The humble sour cherry contains more of the potent antioxidant anthocyanin than any other fruit. This can help to reduce inflammation and potentially ease the pain of arthritis and gout. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. They’re also noteworthy for their melatonin content – which is a hormone that helps to regulate and improve quality of sleep.
Grapes contain high levels of an antioxidant called resveratrol, which has been associated with a number of potential health benefits as well as its anti-aging powers. Resveratrol may help to reduce blood pressure and prevent the spread of breast, stomach and colon cancers.
As well as being delicious, strawberries also have high amounts of anthocyanins and ellagic acid, which can help to prevent aging, inflammation and neurological diseases. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, helping to strengthen the immune system and improve resistance against infectious diseases.
Watermelons are not only extremely thirst quenching and rich in electrolytes, but they also contain significant quantities of vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant and that can boost vision immunity. Vitamin A also helps to maintain healthy skin and protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Bananas pack a serious punch inside of around 100 calories. They’ve loaded with fiber, several different antioxidants and B vitamins, of course I have to mention potassium too, which the banana seems famous for, however one of the yellow guys only provides you with 9% of your recommended daily allowance. You’re better getting the rest of your requirement from dark leafy vegetables and beans.
What fruits do you eat to keep you healthy? Leave your favorites, along with their benefits, in the comments section below.
P.S. let me know if you want the vegetable version of this list too!
Author Bio: Hannah is an Irish born 20-something (barely) year old. She enjoys blogging about health and fitness, puppies and coffee. She derives her self worth from her online popularity so drop her a tweet to say hello.