Packed with fibre and energy, fruits are a very healthy snack. An essential component of a balanced diet, fruit comes in a hundred different forms (and then some!). Some are highly nutritious and beneficial, while others should be reserved for special treats. It can be difficult to choose what to eat, so we’ve compiled a list of the healthier fruits. Make some or all of these regular members of your diet, and you’ll notice a real difference in your overall health.
• Raspberries don’t just look and taste good; they pack a nutritious punch. Fibre, manganese, selenium and vitamins C and K mean they can prevent or tame a cold, strengthen your immune system, and boost your skin and metabolic health. And if you find yourself not properly hydrated, a handful of raspberries may just do the trick.
• A fruit favourite, kiwis are also one of the healthiest. They’re a good source of fibre, potassium, and vitamins A, C and E. Packed with antioxidants, kiwis enrich you from the inside and make you look great on the outside. Potassium helps keep your heart in order and reduces blood pressure, and just one piece before a workout can give you a calorie-burning boost.
• Did you know that pumpkins aren’t vegetables, but are actually fruits (berries to be specific)? Rich in carotenoids (hence the colour), pumpkin helps stunt the growth of cancer cells. The chemicals are important because when they’re consumed they convert into vitamin A, which keeps your eyes, skin and cardiovascular functions in order.
• Creamy and delicious, avocados are full of potassium, folic acid, carotenoids, and vitamins B and E; they’re great for your skin and hair. Avocado has anti-inflammatory, stress-reducing and positive digestive properties. The folic acid is especially good for women; it helps alleviate menstrual cramps and plays a significant role in foetal development.
• Pomegranate is a great way to fill up on antioxidants, folate and vitamin C. As well as keeping your cholesterol in check and reducing your risk of heart disease, pomegranate can soothe a sensitive stomach or an unpredictable digestive system. A glass of fresh juice can do the trick, but eating the fruit (seed and fibre included) is definitely the best way to go.
• They can be confused with mulberries, but blackberries are distinctly… well, black. They’re great for your heart and skin, and the fibrous fruit’s high vitamin C and anthocyanin content are a few more bonuses. The former improves the health of your eyes and immune system, while some believe that the latter has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
• Speaking of berries, add cranberries to the must-have list. What make them so nutritious are the high amounts of antioxidants and citric acid. A regular helping of cranberries added to your food or as a snack can help kidney function, and dental and heart health. Cranberries have antibacterial properties that are great for treating infections, especially UTIs.
• Cherries are another fruit favourite; few can resist these bite-sized morsels of heaven, whether they sit atop a sundae or are baked into a Black Forest cake (yes, we know cake is not healthy). Among the lighter fruits, cherries are rich in potassium, melatonin and vitamin C. Anti-inflammatory properties aside, cherries are ideal for high blood pressure, insomnia and arthritis. And like blackberries, they contain anthocyanin.
• Cliché it may sound, but an apple a day just might keep the doctor away. Some people call apples a super food, and you certainly can’t argue with their high levels of dietary fibre, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Not only do apples help people with heart and respiratory ailments, but eating apples regularly helps keep a check on cholesterol. Antioxidant properties mean the cells in your body gain protection.