As a general rule of thumb, a colorful palate is a healthy one. But when it comes to vivid fruits, not all are created equal. Part of having a well-balanced diet is knowing which foods are high in what, and how this affects the body in both the long and the short-term. Fruit does a lot more for your body than just tingle the taste buds. From your skin down to your cells, these fruits will make you feel like you've finally reached that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Pomegranates Are Good For Your Bones
These deep red, juicy fruits are great for preventing disease. The little, cell-like arils contain punicalagin, a chemical compound that acts like an antioxidant superhero, meaning it protects cells from free radicals that can lead to heart disease and cancer, as well as reduce inflammation.
Pomegranates are also among the highest foods in Vitamin K, which makes proteins that aid in healthy blood clotting when the body is wounded. Vitamin K also helps maintain healthy bones, even if Calcium steals all the credit.
Raspberries Are Packed With The Good While Skipping The Bad
Speaking of deep red, raspberries are fantastic for our blood. Their carbohydrate to fiber ratio is about 2:1, making them one of the lowest carb, high fiber fruits. For this reason, raspberries are not likely to raise blood sugar. In fact, a study by Washington State University conducted on mice suggests raspberries may even lower blood sugar and improve insulin resistance.
Given how sweet and appealing looking these berries are, they are one of the best berries to satisfy a sweet tooth. Particularly because of their low impact on blood sugar, they are an ideal fruit to satisfy that late-night craving.
Cranberries Help Prevent A Common Health Issue
Another fruit to help kick the sweets is cranberries. These bright, candy-shaped berries contain two-thirds the calories of raspberries, and one gram less sugar per cup. Though not quit as high in fiber, this berry does have qualities that no other berry does.
Perhaps the most well-known benefits of these berries are their ability to help prevent urinary tract infections (UTI). However, lesser-known is that this same component, A-type proanthocyanidins, can also help in stomach cancer prevention. These unique plant compounds can prevent certain bacteria from attaching to the lining of your stomach, preventing stomach cancer, and bladder issues, preventing UTIs.
Goji Berries Are A Superfruit For Gym Rats
Another chief unique fruit in the berry family, goji berries stand out against the other fruits if for no other reason that being packed with protein. One quarter cup serving of these berries contains 9 grams of protein, alongside its 6 grams of fiber, making it the fullness king.
Goji berries have also been tied to sexual fertility and may be an alternative to prescriptions for erectile dysfunction, although more research is needed. Further, they contain the antioxidant zeaxanthin which can lessen hypopigmentation and yellow deposits in the eyes of older adults.
Cherries Are The 'Smart' Fruit
It can be hard to remember that fruit has just as much an impact on our brain as it does our waistline. For example, cherries contain quercetin, a pigment also found in certain grains and vegetables, that has a host of benefits for the mind.
A study published by Elsevier showed improvement in cognition, learning, and memory in mice that consumed quercetin daily. The substance has also been shown to reverse cognitive deficits in mice with Alzheimer's, and to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
Peaches Will Make This Organ Super Peachy
Fruit can be incredibly helpful to the heart, and no fruit better illustrates that than the peach. When the peach is consumed, it binds to bile acids, which are produced by the liver as it processes cholesterol. Once bound, this fruit helps to extract the bile, along with the cholesterol, and remove it, thus lowering blood cholesterol levels.
Test-tube studies have also shown that peaches may help in preventing sun damage to the skin from UV rays, and improve the skin's ability to retain moisture, improving its texture.
Apricots Will Have You Seeing Bright Lights At Night
Apricots, like carrots, contain beta-carotene, a substance that is responsible for the red-orange pigment of such foods. Apart from making food look more appealing, beta-carotene converts into Vitamin A when ingested, a vitamin that helps prevent night-blindness. This fruit also contains Vitamin E, which protects your eyes from free radical damage.
This cocktail of vitamins is also great for your skin. Studies show that beta-carotene may reduce sunburn risk, while Vitamin E works alongside Vitamin C to protect against skin damage, and by extension wrinkles.
Oranges Are Still The Vitamin C King, Sorry Mangoes
Everyone knows that when you're sick, you should opt for oranges due to their impressive amounts of Vitamin C. This is because Vitamin C enables your immune system to function more optimally by aiding white blood cells, which act like the soldiers of the body.
While mangoes have been boasted in recent years as having more Vitamin C than oranges, per cup mangoes actually have a third less Vitamin C, and a third more grams of sugar. They also have about half the fiber as oranges, even though oranges pack a lot more water in them.
Cantaloupes Could Be Carrots Cousin
When it comes to beta-carotene, cantaloupe takes the cake. In fact, its the only fruit that has the same amount of beta-carotene as carrots. Once converted, beta-carotene producing Vitamin A not only supports eye health, but also aids in keeping your immune system and red blood cells functioning at their best.
Cantaloupe is a popular summer time choice for a reason, offering a high amount of water to keep you hydrated in the warmer months. At just 60 calories per cup, this sweet fruit is an ideal base for smoothies.
Mangoes Bombard Your Body With Crucial Vitamins
Mangoes may not beat oranges in their sugar to Vitamin C ratio, but that doesn't mean they don't have a superpower of their own. Among the highest fruits in Vitamin A, 72% of your daily dose is in just one mango.
They also contain Vitamin B-6, which helps with hormones that make you happier, less stressed, and better able to sleep. So the next time you're balancing the checkbook, reward yourself with a soft, juicy mango.
Lemons Can Help Prevent A Painful Medical Condition
Lemons are one of the only fruits that can be easily added to just about any dish or drink. Establishing the habit of squeezing a lemon wedge over your meal or water can do more than just enhancing the flavor. Due to its high acidity, lemon juice can increase urine's pH, which may help prevent kidney stones.
According to the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, D-Limonene — a substance found in lemon oil — has been proven to prevent tumor induction in studies involving animals.
Avocados Contain A Fat Your Body Needs To Stay Healthy
Avocados are not often thought of as a fruit, simply because they are not sweet nor juicy. While their genetic makeup places them in the category regardless, their health benefits are as opposite to most fruits as would be imagined.
While most fruits are hydrating and higher in carbohydrates, while having usually no fat, avocados contain 15 grams of fat to a mere 9 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of fiber. Most of this fat is oleic acid, the same major player in olive oil, which reduces inflammation and contributes to lower cholesterol.
Pears Many Colors Can Offer Different Health Benefits
One pear has about a fifth of the suggested daily intake of Copper, a mineral that aids the immune system, cholesterol, and nerve function. Interestingly, the micro-nutrient contribution of this fruit changes slightly depending on its hue, which technically means that pears are the truest rainbow fruit.
Some pears have a red hue that is caused by anthocyanins, known to reduce the risk of heart disease. Conversely, the green tint is caused by lutein and zeaxanthin, both which are necessary in order to keep your vision sharp.
Kiwis Instead Of Baby Aspirin?
These fuzzy fruits have a soft enough skin to be eaten whole, though many people tend to prefer scooping out the inside with a spoon. Rather than taking baby aspirin to reduce your risk of heart-related issues, eating a couple of kiwis a day could have a similar effect according to researchers at University of Oslo, who found kiwis to reduce blood clots and fat in the blood.
Researchers at Oslo also found that three kiwis a day lowers blood pressure more effectively than an apple a day, which would also score you about 3 times more potassium.
Blueberries Are Possibly A Protector Of DNA
While blueberries may taste like the sweetest fruit, they are actually made up of 85% water, and thus contain only 85 calories in a cup. Though they are a low caloric food, they still maintain 4 grams of fiber per cup.
Further, blueberry juice may be the real-life fountain of youth. A study conducted by the Department of Health Risk Analysis and Toxicology found that DNA damage due to free radicals was decreased by 20% after just one month of drinking a blueberry and apple juice mixture everyday.
Grapes Don't Get The Credit They Deserve
Grapes come in a variety of colors, but nutritionally speaking are virtually the same. A compound called resveratrol is found in grapes and has been proven to reduce inflammation and to prevent the spread of cancer cells in the body.
Resveratrol also causes cell membranes to have more glucose receptors and increases insulin sensitivity, meaning a lesser amount of insulin is needed to lower glucose levels in the blood. Studies have also linked grape consumption to improved memory skills, and contain many minerals that are ideal for bone health, such as Vitamin K.
Blackberries: Loved By Kids And Dentist Approved
There's no doubt that fruit leaves your mouth feeling fresher than most other foods. At least when it comes to blackberries, this is backed by a more complicated explanation that just being a watery, sweet food.
A study conducted by the Journal of Periodontal Research found that blackberries may help prevent gum disease and cavities, acting as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory substance against certain kinds of bacteria. These mighty berries may also help to reduce brain inflammation, slowing down the cognitive and motor issue associated with aging.
Plums Keep Us Looking Untarnished
Plums contain some iron, but are more significant in their ability to help the body absorb iron. Increased iron allows for greater production of blood cells, improving blood circulation. This increased circulation helps newer skin to develop more quickly, reducing the appearance of scars.
In addition to skin health, plums may aid in the reverse of adrenal gland fatigue, a cause of hair loss. Additionally, plums contain boron, a mineral that increases estrogen which helps maintain healthy bones and mental function. Boron also has effects similar to antioxidants, giving plums double free radical fighting power.
Pineapples Claim To Make You Tall And Thin
Pineapples are very high in a more discrete micro-nutrient called manganese, not to be confused with magnesium. One cup of pineapple provides 76% of your daily suggested intake of manganese, a mineral that helps with growth and healthy metabolism.
Pineapples also contain bromelain, digestive enzymes that break down proteins into their amino acids, which allows for better absorption. This aids the pancreas by providing enzymes that otherwise the pancreas would have to produce on its own, something particularly difficult in cases of pancreatic insufficiency.
A Bananas Superpower Isn't Actually Potassium
While bananas are more commonly known for their potassium, they have more than three times the recommended daily value in Vitamin B-6 as they do potassium. Though they are one of the higher sugar fruits, they ironically moderate blood sugar since they have a low glycemic index, and also contain pectin.
Pectin is a kind of fiber that slows digestion down, reducing your appetite. Pectin also helps to reduce LDL cholesterol, and help to prevent colon and prostate cancer, as well as to aid diabetes, according to WebMD.