Time to stock up on strawberries, pineapples, and more.
Fruit is often considered a healthy snack. And for good reason. So many varieties of fruit offer a range of all-natural vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, so you can benefit from fruit’s nutritional content and its deliciousness. Overachievers may be wondering, of all the fruits, which are the healthiest to eat? We had doctors, nutritionists, and health experts weigh in to help you pick the healthiest fruits to eat, in all colors of the rainbow. Here’s what to stock up on for snack time and beyond.
“Avocados are continuing to grow in popularity, and are seen in everything from smoothies to freeze-dried snack avocados,” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Plant Based with Amy. In fact, Americans have now upped our avocado consumption to nearly 8 and a half pounds per person, per year! “I love to recommend these for heart health, since eating potassium-rich foods such as avocado can help decrease the effects of sodium.” Avocados can, of course, be sliced, spread, or smashed on toast, but are also a great add-in to creamy smoothies, salad dressings, and more. “Along with being delicious, avocados are packed with healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants,” adds Mackenzie Burgess, RDN and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices. "Research has shown avocados can help support a healthy heart and immune system.”
Blueberries are easy to snack on, and so healthy to eat. “A one-cup serving of blueberries provides four grams of beneficial fiber, alongside essential nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese, as well as anthocyanins—a type of phytonutrient,” says Burgess. “There’s some pretty exciting research with blueberries too. In fact, a new study published in Food & Function found that enjoying the equivalent of one cup of fresh blueberries a day may improve endothelial function. This helps keep our blood vessels running smoothly, and therefore is important for overall heart health.”
Don’t underestimate the humble apple! “Apples are high in fiber and beneficial polyphenols, which research shows may help lower cholesterol and support a healthy heart. I like to also give my brain a boost by keeping [natural] applesauce in the pantry,” says Burgess. “These portable pouches are filled with all the nutrients of a whole apple, alongside added brain-supporting nutrients like omega-3s (DHA and EPA) and choline.”
Dr. Breanna Guan, a neuropathic practitioner, dubs raspberries the best fruit for skin and hormone health. “Full of vitamin C, these berries can help support collagen production, and protect against aging skin by quenching free radicals and stopping oxidative stress and damage,” she says. “Ellagic acid is the main polyphenol in raspberries, which helps reduce the negative impacts of toxic estrogens, namely 4-hydroxy-17ß-estradiol, 4E2, which is associated with estrogen-related cancers.”
If you’re an active person, Guan recommends bananas. “Bananas are high-glycemic fruits,” she says. Their naturally perfect packaging makes them easy to eat on-the-go, for both children and athletes. “High in carbohydrates, bananas provide a quick source of energy. They are also rich in potassium, for heart health and alkalinity. Take them to the gym or pack ‘em for a road trip.” And for parents who always want a healthy snack on hand, bananas provide the perfect solution.
Pucker up, lemons are your new healthy fruit friend. “Lemon is an excellent choice for boosting health and immunity,” Guan says. “Start your day with this vitamin C-rich juice that won't impact your blood sugar. Known as a cleansing fruit, lemon reduces inflammation and supplies many benefits, including to stimulate digestion. Mix [lemon juice] with warm water and ginger to help ward off seasonal illness.” Lemons also make an excellent garnish and addition to seafood recipes, salads, pastas, and more. Use their zest and their juice for the most out of every lemon.
“Sweet and hydrating, watermelons are nature's electrolyte drink,” Guan says. And there are so many ways to enjoy the fruit. “You can freeze [sliced] watermelon and blend it for a refreshing smoothie, or slice watermelons to bring to a hot afternoon outdoor event. Everyone enjoys a nice slice of watermelon. The vitamin lineup is impressive for watermelon, with carotenoids and lycopene, excellent for ocular, heart, and men's health, and cancer prevention.” And with so many different types of watermelon, you shouldn’t get bored of this pretty and juicy fruit.
There’s a reason dates are poised to be the next superfood! Grown on date palm trees, dates are a fruit indigenous to the Middle East, but are now more common across North and Central America. And yes, they’re a typical part of the Mediterranean diet, too. High in fiber, just a few dates, typically served dried, can help you feel fuller longer, making them a great snack that also packs in potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and more minerals.
“Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, provide many other vitamins and minerals, and even can help regulate blood sugar,” says Kacie Barnes, MCN, RDN, LD. “They're high in water and low in carbs. They provide such a big nutrition boost for very little calories.” Strawberries can easily be enjoyed on their own, sliced on an arugula or spinach salad, blended into a smoothie. or even pureed for babies. Strawberries also freeze nicely, so you can enjoy them all year round.
“Cherries are one of the healthiest fruits,” says Barnes. “They are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. They are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, and contain other vitamins and minerals, too!” Cherries can also help with inflammation, as they’re considered an anti-inflammatory food.
This tropical fruit isn’t always the easiest to slice, but a ripe pineapple is so delicious and packs in tons of health benefits. High in vitamin C and manganese, pineapples also pack in vitamin B6, copper, thiamin, folate, and potassium, and are low in fat. Though they do pack in natural sugars, pineapple slices are a great option for sweet tooths instead of (or in addition to), more processed desserts. Pineapple can also be cooked and served alongside proteins, like grilled chicken, and even though it’s a controversial pizza topping, it is a healthy one.
Like their blue and red counterparts, blackberries are yet another super healthy berry you should eat regularly. They boast high levels of anthocyanins, an antioxidant, plus tons of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and fiber. They’re easy to eat—just wash them and pop in your mouth—and can be incorporated into so many recipes. Blackberry and steak salad can be a quick weeknight staple, and add some fun color into your dinner routine.
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