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What to Eat

What to Eat

5 reasons to eat more fruit

Aside from the fact that it's delicious

We take fruit for granted. Ads entice us to pick up some soda, chips, or other junk (or pseudo-health) food. When was the last time you saw a commercial for watermelon? Here are five reasons to reach for a peach…or a plum, pear, pineapple, persimmon, pomegranate, papaya…

1. It’s nutrient rich.Fruit

Fruit is famous for its vitamin C, but you can also expect a decent dose of carotenoids (watermelon), folate (mango), potassium (bananas), and ­fiber (raspberries), for example. Some even supply some vitamin K (kiwi), calcium (kumquats), iron (dried peaches), or magnesium (blackberries), to name a few.

2. It isn’t calorie dense.

Most fruit is fairly low in calories per bite. That’s because it’s typically about 85 percent water. (Exception: raisins and other dried fruits have less water…and more calories.)

And it’s not just fewer calories per bite that makes fruit ­fill you up (but not out). The intact structure of plant cells also seems to matter. People feel more full after eating an apple than after eating applesauce or drinking apple juice, even if the apple juice has enough added fiber to match the ­fiber in the apple.1

3. It protects the heart & brain.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet can lower systolic blood pressure by 8 to 14 points—as much as some drugs. And fruit is a key building block of DASH, which has about ­five servings of fruit per day. (Relax. The servings are small: just one piece or ½ cup.)

Why does fruit matter? It’s not entirely clear, but fruit is typically a reliable source of blood-pressure-lowering potassium. What’s more, studies that track thousands of people for years find that those who eat more fruit have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke.2,3 And who knows. A luscious bowl of berries every day might help keep your brain sharp as you age.4

4. It’s convenient.

How many other foods require zero prep? At most, you mightFruit 3 have to do a quick wash, pull off a peel, or cut some slices or chunks. But few foods are so convenient. Bonus: fruit is portable and—if it’s whole—typically needs no refrigeration.

And it’s not just a terri­fic snack. Tired of the usual veggies in your green salad? Add some sliced apple, grapes, strawberries, or other fruit instead.

5. It can be cheap.

Yes, you can pay $6 for a pound of imported cherries in January. But fresh fruit is fairly inexpensive in season. And some fruit—like bananas and most frozen fruit—is cheap all year long.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy fruit?

References

1 Appetite 52: 416, 2009.

2 Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 98: 1514, 2013.

3 Stroke 45: 1613, 2014.

4 Ann. Neurol. 72: 135, 2012.

Find this article about fruit interesting and useful? Nutrition Action Healthletter subscribers regularly get sound, timely information about how nutrients can affect their health. They also receive science-based advice about diet and diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis, and other chronic diseases; delicious recipes; and detailed analyses of the healthy and unhealthy foods in supermarkets and restaurants. If you’re not already subscribing to the world’s most popular nutrition newsletter, click here to join hundreds of thousands of fellow health-minded consumers.

Add Your Comments

One Comment

  1. boaza
    Posted May 14, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Fruit today is picked unripe, shipped long distances, sprayed with nitrogen ? etc., refrigerated for months etc. Does this fruit still have good nutritional value or close to been picked when ripe? Often I buy a good looking nectarine and when I cut it open the inside near the pit is dark and not edible.

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