Benefits of fruits
Nutrition experts have long recommended that we eat a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Indeed, according to USDA’s dietary guidance system MyPlate, half of our plate should consist of fruits and veggies. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the benefits of vegetables. Here, I will highlight some benefits of eating more fruits. With so much of a focus on eating low-carbohydrate diets, as a practicing nutritionist, I often get asked by my clients, will I gain weight if I eat too many fruits such as watermelon? The answer, NO! In fact, quite the contrary. They are also low in calories, making them a great choice for your waistline. And, they are good for your health.
Below are some nutrition tid-bits on select fruits.
Cantaloupe. This member of the melon family is rich in the antioxidant beta carotene, a plant-based Vitamin A precursor that helps with eye health among other conditions. It is also rich in the mineral potassium which may help lower blood pressure and the risk for stroke. And, it is terrific if you are watching your waist; a one cup serving contains a mere 50 calories.
Watermelon offers a juicy sweet taste and a high water content, while packing in the antioxidants lycopene, beta carotene, and vitamin C, and the minerals potassium and magnesium.
Citrus fruits including oranges and grapefruits provide a significant source of vitamin C, folate, and potassium as well as fiber. Pink grapefruits are particularly rich in the antioxidant lycopene. Eating these fruits whole yield more nutrients than drinking the juice.
Avocados are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which may help raise levels of HDL (good cholesterol) while lowering LDL (bad cholesterol). They are also high in the antioxidant vitamin E.
Grapes. Consuming grapes may reduce the risk of blood clots, lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), and prevent damage to the heart’s blood vessels, aiding in the maintenance of healthy blood pressure. Antioxidants called flavonoids may even increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind). The resveratrol found in the skins of red grapes may interfere with cancer development. Eating the whole fruit instead of consuming the juice contains the added benefit of fiber.
Kiwifruit with its brilliant green inside is packed with vitamin C and fiber.
Apples provide fiber along with the heart healthy antioxidant quercitin.