Monday, 4 July 2016

7 Fruits That Are Even Healthier Than You Think

While you’ve been busy putting in some major sweat sessions at the gym and eating protein-rich and metabolism-boosting foods, there’s a good chance you’ve been eating plenty of fruits as well. The summer months offer an abundance of fresh produce in the grocery store and farm stands alike, so it may be the time of year to switch out your normal fruit picks with some different options. If you typically go straight for the apples and bananas and never stray from your norm, you’ll want to take a look at this list of the top 7 fruits that are even healthier than you think.

1. Papaya
You may not find these fruits growing anywhere near your apple orchards, but this tropical fruit offers a ton of health benefits. MSN discusses how papayas are high in vitamin C, which helps support your immune system, protect against arthritis, and prevent cardiovascular disease. They are also rich in fiber and antioxidants, and this together makes the papaya an effective fighter of cholesterol build-up in the arteries, which again works to prevent heart disease. If you’re feeling hungry, this fiber-rich fruit offers a filling snack without a ton of calories — there are only 67 calories in one small fruit.

Not only are papayas rich in vitamins, but they’re also great for relieving menstrual symptoms — the enzyme in papaya, called papain, assists in regulating menstrual flow and easing cramps. Try reaching for this fruit the next time you experience pain associated with your monthly cycle.

2. Kiwi
The kiwi, or kiwifruit, is small in size but big in nutritional impact. Kiwis are considered to be nutrient-dense, which makes them high in nutrients and low in calories, according to Medical News Today. This little fruit contains plenty of vitamin C to support the immune system and fight heart disease and cancer. Kiwis are also rich in fiber and potassium, which are both helpful in supporting the heart. Mark Houston, MD, MS, associate clinical professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Medical School and director of the Hypertension Institute at St. Thomas Hospital in Tennessee, says that one of the most effective ways to reduce heart disease risk is to increase potassium intake and decrease sodium. Consuming kiwi in place of other salty treats throughout your day can offer you a tasty and nutritious bite that can really boost your health.

There is also evidence to suggest that eating kiwis may improve the quality of sleep in adults. Studies show that adults who have reported disturbances in their sleep, kiwis have helped them fall asleep and remain asleep for the duration of the night.

3. Grapes
Grapes may not be on the top of your list when you think about health foods, but you may want to start grabbing them for a healthy and sweet treat. Organic Facts describes how grapes are high in vitamins A, C, and B6, and they are high in minerals like potassium, calcium, and iron. If you’re looking to increase your bone strength, the copper, manganese, and iron in the grapes can help strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis. In addition to aiding in bone health, grapes are great for the heart, as they help to prevent blood clots and ultimately can help prevent heart attacks.

There are also flavonoids in grapes, which are antioxidants that help to slow down aging and reduce the negative effects of free radicals. Resveratrol and quercetin, the two main types of flavonoids found in grapes, help to filter the blood and free your body of harmful toxins that can threaten your health.

If you’re feeling fatigued, then consider drinking some fresh light or white grape juice — the iron content in this type of juice is great for boosting energy and helping those who suffer from anemia and should be consumed over dark grape juice.

4. Dragon Fruit
Dragon fruits are more than just beautiful to look at — they are also full of beneficial nutrients, and if you haven’t tried one yet, you may want to. Mercola describes dragon fruits as having a number of benefits such as high vitamin C content, multiple B vitamins, protein, carotene, and good fatty acids. This fruit also contains calcium to support bones and teeth, and iron for an energy boost.

Captin, a phytochemical that is used as medication for those who have heart problems, is present naturally in the dragon fruit itself. The oil found in the seeds of the fruit is also helpful for those with digestive issues, as it acts as a natural and mild laxative. Not only do the seeds offer digestive support, but they are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can help to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The brilliant red coloring of the fruit comes from lycopene, which can also help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

5. Blackberries
It’s no secret that berries are good for you, but the blackberry may just be the king of them all in terms of nutrition. The Huffington Post tells how the color of blackberries gives them away from the start — their color shows that they are high in antioxidants, and they actually have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits. They are high in vitamin K, C, A, and B vitamins as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Blackberries are great for supporting the health of the heart, skin, and bones.

If you’re having intestinal troubles, then blackberries may be a good choice of snack for you as well, as the tannin present in these berries works to soothe inflammation in the intestines and provide relief for those experiencing diarrhea. Though the berries themselves are delicious, the leaves and bark of the plant are not without their benefits. Traditionally, the leaves of the blackberry plant have been used to treat inflammation in the gums, and the leaves can also be used to make tea.

6. Guava
Guava may be another exotic fruit that you’re not overly familiar with, but it packs quite a few benefits. Guavas are excellent sources of vitamin C, offering over 280% of your daily value in just one fruit, says SFGate. They are also high in vitamin A and potassium, and they contain good amounts of vitamin B-6, folate, thiamin, and riboflavin. If you’re looking for another fruit that can offer you a fiber boost, then guava may be your new go-to snack — one fruit contains 5 grams of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and can help keep you feeling fuller for longer. Because of this fiber and the protein found in this fruit, guavas are known to be great for helping achieve weight loss goals.

Guavas also contain beta-carotene, lycopene, and other flavonoids like lutein and cryptoxanthin. These flavonoids are known for their antioxidant properties, and they can help fight free radicals that can ultimately cause cancer. Studies show that the lycopene in guavas prevents skin damage from UV rays and protects against prostate cancer, and there is roughly twice the amount of lycopene present in one guava versus one tomato.

7. Avocado
Though not the sweetest item on the list, avocados are known for their creamy texture and delicious contribution to Mexican cuisine. Better yet, they are one of the healthiest fruits, boasting high levels of vitamin K, C, B5, B6, and E, as well as high levels of folate and potassium. Authority Nutrition says that an avocado has more potassium than a banana, and they contain no cholesterol or sodium.

Avocados are high in fat — in fact, they are one of the fattiest plant foods to exist, but they are full of healthful monounsaturated fats that actually support heart health. Most of the fat found in an avocado is oleic acid, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and have positive effects on genes that are linked to cancer. Avocados have also been shown to reduce bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol, resulting in overall better heart health.

In addition to being great for the heart and loaded with vitamins and minerals, avocados have a healthy amount of fiber as well. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and supports intestinal health, and 25% of the fiber in an avocado is soluble.

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