If you’re looking to get a little healthier this spring, try each of these fruits to add to your diet to get you started on the right track. I used to avoid fruit because it contained so much sugar, but I quickly learned later how great fruit can be for actually monitoring my sugar cravings. Fruit does contain sugar, but in moderate amounts, fruit is a great tool for losing weight and part of a healthy lifestyle. I would recommend buying organic fruit when you can to avoid pesticide exposure and toxic chemicals that make conventional fruit taste less than stellar. Pesticides and chemicals also lower the nutrition of fruit. Though all fruit is great for you, certain fruits have more benefits than others, so next time you’re at the store, pick up some of these fruits to add to your diet. Try to look up new recipes and play around with these little gems next time you make a meal.
Most people believe blueberries are the almighty fruit, but blackberries are actually one of the best fruits to add to your diet because they contain almost twice the amount of antioxidants and more fiber than blueberries do. I love blackberries in frozen form and they make any smoothie taste sensational. Blackberries are rich in Vitamin C, fiber and potassium. They are also fairly low on the glycemic index because they contain so much fiber, so be sure to add them in however you can.
Not many people dislike apples, but instead of picking up the red ones next time, pick up a few green Granny Smith ones instead. These are a bit more sour than red apples since they are lower in sugar, but still have a deliciously sweet and tart taste to them that most people love. They are especially high in fiber, the antioxidant quercetin, and 10% of your daily recommended Vitamin C levels in just one apple. Apples are one of the best foods to eat if you want to choose lower-glycemic fruits. They also aid in removing cholesterol from the body, which is great for your heart and your waistline. Try an apple with some almonds as a snack, or even spread a little almond butter on a few slices. They are great snacks for kids and adults and completely portable.
Most people avoid this delicious tropical fruit because it is very high in sugar, however, you only need a small amount of pineapple to reap the benefits. I like eating one or two small chunks when I need a sweet fix or when I have a tummy ache. Not only is pineapple tasty, but it’s a top source of Vitamin C, and contains a wonderful enzyme that aids digestion, known as bromelain. Bromelain helps to digest proteins in your body. This helps with bloating, and is one of the reasons pineapple is known to help an upset stomach. It is one of my personal natural remedies for bloating. Always eat whole pineapple versus pineapple juice, which is devoid of all the good stuff and higher in simple sugars that spike your blood sugar levels.
Yes, acai truly is as great as it is made out to be, if you eat it in its whole form and not the powdery versions or pills it is often sold in. True acai fruit is only produced in the Amazon, where it originates. Many popular companies freeze it in pulp form in handy little freezer packets so we can enjoy it here in the United States. I’ve found mine at Whole Foods before, or you can purchase it online. Why is acai so great? First, it is one of the best fruits to obtain essential fatty acids and is the only berry that contains no sugar. That’s right, you heard me correctly- no sugar! Acai's dark purple color also indicates how high in antioxidants this beautiful fruit is. The dark purple hues show the high amounts of anthocyanins, which are antioxidants, that occur in this fruit. Anthocyanins have been linked to preventing heart disease, aiding in blood sugar regulation, increasing skin health, increasing blood flow, aiding in energy production and more. Like other fruits it contains Vitamin C, fiber and potassium. This fruit has more Omega 3s than any other fruit, making it a great mood food. The method to measure the activity of antioxidants in a food here in the United States is the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity rating (ORAC rating). A study conducted on 22 fruit showed acai to have the highest ORAC reading as demonstrated in the source graph below. I like to use frozen acai in smoothies, or simply eat it right out of the pack. It has a delicious blueberry flavor with chocolate undertones.
Most people don’t think of lemons when they buy their fruits, but you truly should! Lemons are such a powerful fruit to add to your diet. Lemons are rich in Vitamin C and extremely alkalizing to the body. They detox your liver from daily environmental toxins and also aid in immunity. Lemons offer a delicious, tart taste squeezed over salads, into homemade salad dressing, added to tea and even to plain water. Lemons also aid in iron absorption since they are high in Vitamin C. Try squeezing a little lemon juice over your next salad made with spinach, which is high in iron. You’ll reap the benefits from these two healthy foods in one meal. I love using lemons daily, and always have them on my counter top.
Dates are one of my favorite fruits. Though they are dried, which makes them higher in sugar, they knock out my sweet tooth with just one bite. They are practically guilt-free because you only need a little to reap the benefits. Dates are one of the best sources of potassium of all fruits. They are high in fiber with about 3 grams per date, and also high in B vitamins. This not only energizes you, but aids in mood regulation too. I like enjoying just one before a workout, and my energy is sky-high. Due to the high fiber content, my blood sugar doesn’t crash, and I’m left with a steady stream of glucose to fuel my workout. Definitely use portion control with dates, but don’t avoid them completely. They are one of the most powerful fruits to add to your diet, and one of the easiest to find.
Yes, cucumbers are actually a fruit! If you didn’t already know, any food that contains seeds is a fruit, not a veggie. Cucumber is one of the best fruits to eat of all fruits. First, it has no fruit sugar, making it great for those of us watching our sugar intake. Secondly, it is extremely alkaline, so it fights inflammation in the body. It also is a natural diuretic, which means it helps to take away water weight and bloating. My favorite feature about cucumbers is that they are a wonderful fruit to aid in blood pressure regulation and your hair health. Cucumbers naturally decrease your blood pressure due to their high water, potassium and fiber contents. They also contain high amounts of silica in their skins, which helps hair and skin maintain their healthy appearance. I love eating cucumbers on salads, blended in a smoothie, or noshing on them raw with a little almond butter.
I tend to crave more fruits in spring and summer than the rest of the year, though they are great to eat all year round for their nutrition properties. Do you enjoy any of these fruits? Tell me about it and how you like to use them!
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