By J. A. Young
Not all foods are created equal and fruits are one such group that has been endowed with nutritious benefits that make them among the healthiest foods you can ingest. Yet, even among fruits, some are regarded as super foods that repeatedly top the lists of the healthiest items to eat.
The queen of the citrus world and once the most powerful scourge of scurvy on the high seas, lemons are originally from China and India. So powerful in nutrition, it makes healthy sense to keep them around to eat in some way everyday. Lemons are loaded with Vitamin C and fibre. Additionally, they are easily incorporated into a myriad of beverages and dishes where their tartness diminishes among other flavors, but still entices the taste buds with lemony sweetness. Lemons are also rich in antioxidants that help fight off diseases like cancer. Add lemon to tea or other juices and squeeze a basketful to make homemade lemonade. Remember that lemon zest can also add healthful benefits to a plethora of meals.
After lemons, oranges cannot be far behind in terms of health benefits. Oranges are high in vitamin C as well as vitamins A and B6. They also contain folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, and many antioxidants needed to ward off certain diseases. Sweet and fragrant, oranges are popularly eaten as snacks or juiced. Eating an orange a day is a great way to reap all of its healthful benefits. Just as with lemons, oranges can also be used for their zest and added to both sweet and savory dishes. The simple nutritional fact is oranges are among the healthiest fruits. Their benefits include antioxidant protection against cancer, cardiovascular disease, and the process of aging. In fact, studies show that one serving a day of this and other citrus fruits can reduce the risk of stroke by nineteen percent.
High in vitamin C and fiber, cherries are also loaded with antioxidant carotenoids, potassium, copper, and manganese. They are easily eaten fresh, but their benefits can be had by drinking cherry juice or adding dried cherries to recipes. The phenols contained in cherries are hefty disease fighters. They also appear to fight inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease. Both sweet and tart varieties of cherries offer a plethora of health benefits that make keeping them on hand important to overall good health.
Strawberries are high in vitamin C as well as folate, fibre, vitamin K, and potassium. They also contain high levels of antioxidant phytochemicals. Best eaten fresh, strawberries can deliciously top salads and yogurt. This powerful little fruit is associated with inflammation and blood clot reduction as well as some prevention of the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. As one of the most widely consumed berries in the world, strawberries are a popular fruit in the fruit bowl.
Apples have always enjoyed a healthy reputation and little has changed except that knowledge of their health benefits has grown. Apples are high in fibre and contain important vitamins like C and K. They are also rich in potassium and flavonoids. Around the world, there are roughly 7500 different varieties of apples. They can be eaten as a snack—a great way to enjoy all their benefits, but they can also be added to dishes or juiced. Research suggests that the flavonoids’ power of apples helps in the fight against tumors. Their various varieties are used in a wide array of sweet and savory dishes.
According to studies, bananas are associated with a lowered risk of breast cancer, but they may offer protection against other types of disease as well. Bananas contain vitamins B6 and C. They are rich in fibre and are also an excellent source of riboflavin, folate, and antioxidant phenols. Their handy sizes make them a perfect snack that is easy to carry around. Eating them fresh is the best choice to harness all of their nutritional power.
Grapes are among the world’s most popular fruits. There are thousands of known cultivars of the grape and the fruit has been enjoyed and revered since ancient times. Grapes are high in phytochemicals as well as vitamins K, C, and B6. They are associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and the latest research suggests that they may even help protect against memory loss. Grapes are handy snacks that many kids love. Their health benefits make them a must for every diet—young and old alike.
Blueberries are high in vitamin C and K, but are also loaded with fibre and antioxidant flavonoids. Research suggests that they may help reduce the risk for colon cancer as well as other cancers. Blueberries can be enjoyed as they are or added to juices. They are easily used in pies, jams, jellies, or other types of pastries. Since blueberries have a short shelf life, they should also be frozen to ensure that they are on hand when you need them.
Most of these fruits can be washed and enjoyed right from the bowl. Doing just that - eating them daily - can make the most of their health benefits. By eating a variety of super fruits, you can help ward off various diseases and ensure that your body receives the daily nutrition it needs for you to live a healthy life.
Copyright ©2011. Published with permission. J. A. Young is a freelance writer and is not affiliated with avivahealth.com.