The 32 healthiest fruits to eat
Just like vegetables, fruits are very nutritious, being a source of numerous vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Most also have the added benefit of being a source of naturally occurring sugars, which gives them their sweet taste. Below are the 32 best healthy fruits that you can eat, listed in alphabetical order.
Apples are not only super delicious, they bring with them many health benefits. The saying literally goes ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, and for good reason. One study linked apples to a lower risk of heart disease. This is thought to be because apples are a source of soluble fiber, which helps to lower blood cholesterol levels. Apple consumption has also been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and protection of the lungs from oxidative damage.
Orange coloured foods are some of the best sources of vitamin A, and apricots are no different. A one cup serving of apricots will provide you with 60% of your daily requirement of vitamin A, which is used by the body to protect eye health, fight inflammation and support the immune system. You can read our in-depth article on the benefits of apricots here.
Even though avocados aren’t sweet tasting, they are in fact a fruit and not a vegetable. However, unlike most fruits that are mainly made up of carbohydrate, avocados are largely made up of fat. Much of this fat is monounsaturated, which is considered to be the good kind. Avocados are also a potent source of lots of different vitamins and minerals, which in turn means that eating them brings about many health benefits.
When people think about potassium, their go to food of choice is usually bananas. And whilst they rank number 44 on our list of potassium rich foods, a medium sized banana will provide you with 12% of your daily requirement of potassium, which is a considerable amount. Bananas are a very versatile ingredient and are often the primary base ingredient used when preparing smoothies. You can also use frozen bananas to make a healthy version of ice cream.
During the summer and autumn months, you can find these succulent fruits growing in the wild, ready to be picked, washed and eaten. Blackberries are one of the best fruit based sources of vitamin K, with a cup providing you with around a third of your daily requirement. Blackberries are also high in manganese, the mineral that may help manage blood sugar levels and prevent osteoporosis.
Blueberries are often labelled a ‘superfood’ and thought of as being one of the healthiest foods on the planet. One reason for this is because they are believed to contain the highest antioxidant capacity of all common vegetables and fruits. Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by free radicals and thereby fight off serious diseases such as cancer. Blueberry consumption may also help lower blood pressure, improve memory and prevent heart disease.
Cantaloupes are a type of melon, and like other melon varieties, they are water rich. In fact, cantaloupes are made up of around 90% water, which makes them very hydrating. Eating cantaloupes can be compared to drinking water that has been enriched with vitamins and minerals. Being an orange coloured fruit, it contains large amounts of vitamin A, providing you with 120% of your daily requirement per cup serving.
Cherries are another type of fruit that are loaded with antioxidants. These antioxidants are thought to fight inflammation equally as well as certain types of drugs. Additionally, a study carried out on mice found that the major type of antioxidant found in cherries (anthocyanins) inhibited the development of tumours. Cherry consumption may also be beneficial to people who are prone to suffering from gout attacks, as seen in this study.
Because of their sour taste, cranberries are not often eaten by the handful like other berries are. Nonetheless, their consumption goes through the roof at the end of the year, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas time. These small red berries are perhaps most well known for being able to treat and prevent urinary tract infections, which are much more common in women than men.
Thanks to their high sugar content, dates are one of the sweetest fruits out there, which comes in handy especially if you have a sweet tooth. But dates aren’t just a concentrated source of sugar, they also provide you with small amounts of potassium, magnesium, manganese and iron. If you are watching your weight, it is important to eat dates in small amounts because they are quite energy dense, with an average sized medjool date having 66 calories.
Figs are a fiber rich food, providing you with around 1.5 g of fiber per medium sized fruit. They also have strong antibacterial and antifungal properties and are beneficial for the immune system. Their low energy density (47 calories per large fig) makes them the perfect after meal option, either eaten on their own or used as an ingredient in dessert recipes such as those found here.
Grapefruit is definitely one fruit that many people can’t stand the taste of. Its appearance would give you the impression that it is sweet tasting, but the truth is that it has a strong bitter taste that many people don’t find appealing. It does however come with many benefits, such as promoting appetite control, assisting with weight loss, preventing insulin resistance and reducing the risk of kidney stones.
Grapes have been cultivated for thousands of years, with around 70% of the world production being used to make wine. There are many different varieties of grape, of which you can read about here. Grapes are a source of resveratrol, a nutrient abundant in their skins that is thought to promote longevity, protect the brain, ease joint pain and suppress cancer cells.
Guavas are the best fruit source of vitamin C out there, providing you with 4 times the amount of vitamin C oranges do when compared weight for weight! And as you probably already know, vitamin C is crucial for many important bodily processes. These include wound healing, the absorption of iron, protecting the immune system and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Also known as Chinese gooseberries, these oval shaped fruits are also a good source of vitamin C, with a medium sized kiwifruit providing more than 100% of your daily requirement. Kiwifruit may help treat asthma, aid digestion and protect against vision loss. Kiwifruit is an excellent ingredient to use in green salads and smoothies.
Lemons are a type of citrus fruit used worldwide for their distinctive bitter taste. With the juice, pulp and rind all available for use, the lemon is a versatile fruit. Whilst lemons are definitely not the type of fruit you would bite directly into, they can still be incorporated into your diet in small quantities on a regular basis. For example, you can squeeze fresh lemon juice over salads and grilled dishes.
Sweet and full of flavour, mangoes are one of the most loved fruits on the planet. They can be eaten raw or dried, and also incorporated into many recipes. Mangoes are a fantastic source of vitamins A, C, E & K, the B vitamins, potassium, copper and magnesium. They also have a lot of fiber and are low in calories, making them a great option when trying to lose weight.
Olives are tiny little oval shaped fruits that are a big part of Mediterranean cuisine. Like avocados, olives are high in fat, most of which is in the form of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that has been linked with several health benefits. Black olives are a good iron source, which is needed for efficient oxygen transport in the body. Because of their high sodium content, it is important to eat olives in reasonable quantities.
Even though oranges are not the best dietary source of vitamin C, they are the food that is most associated with it. That said, they are still a very good source; an average sized orange will provide you with all of your daily requirement of vitamin C. The common orange is grown in countries all over the world and there are many different varieties including Belladonna (Italy), Carvalhal (Portugal), Fukuhara (Japan) and Homosassa (Florida).
Papaya is a tropical fruit that is very health. Besides containing numerous nutrients, it also contains an enzyme called papain which can help with the break down and digestion of protein. Many people in the tropics make use of papaya to treat constipation and symptoms of IBS. So if you ever feel clogged up, eat some papaya, it might just do the trick!
22. Passion fruit
Passion fruit is not only sweet, juicy and full of seeds, it also has many uses in the kitchen, being used to prepare smoothies, cocktails, fruit salads and desserts. It is a source of a compound called piceatannol, which has a variety of positive effects on cardiovascular disease, including preventing atherosclerosis, arrhythmia and high cholesterol. Passion fruit should be available at local grocery stores in your area, but if not, you may have to search for it online.
Peaches are native to China and have been around for a very long time, thanks to their wonderful taste. They are a high antioxidant food, which means eating them can help to prevent and fight the damage caused by free radicals in the body. This in turn reduces inflammation and the risk of disease. A large peach only has 68 calories, together with decent quantities of vitamins A, C, E & K, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.
Pears are a sweet and juicy fruit, with over 3000 varieties grown worldwide. They have a wide variety of culinary uses, from being great pickled, poached or even simply stuck raw in a salad. Pears are rich in phytochemicals, which are beneficial nutrients that prevent and fight diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Persimmons are a fruit that you may not have heard of or come across before. Common species include the ‘American’ persimmon and the ‘Japanese’ persimmon, and because these differing species have a variety of different cultivars, there’s a lot of variation in their taste. Persimmons have a similar nutritional profile to many of the fruits mentioned in this list.
Another tropical fruit, pineapples are the only known food source of the enzyme bromelain, which like papain is very effective at digesting protein and is also linked to many health benefits. Fresh ripe pineapple would be your best choice, but if this is not available, the canned variety can be equally as good, provided it does not contain added sugar. Be careful when handling raw pineapples, their skin is very prickly!
Plums belong to the same family as cherries and peaches, with all 3 fruits having a smooth stone in the middle. Plums come in a range of colours, from white to yellow, green and red. Plums can be sweet or tart, depending on how ripe they are. When you dry plums you get prunes, which have a strong laxative effect, due to the dietary fiber and sorbitol they contain.
Pomegranates contain two plant compounds, punicalagins and punicic acid, which have powerful medicinal properties. The former are antioxidants that are thought to be stronger than those found in red wine and green tea, whilst the latter is a fatty acid with potent biological effects. Eating pomegranates may help fight prostrate & breast cancer, lower blood pressure and combat arthritis & joint pain.
If you want to include more fruit in your diet but are wary about sugar intake, then raspberries are an excellent choice. They are one of the least sugar rich fruits (having only 5 g per cup), but at the same time taste delicious. They are low in calories, high in fiber and can be eaten on their own or used as a topping for oatmeal, cereal and chia pudding.
If I had to choose only one fruit to eat from this list, I would have to choose strawberries. They have everything going for them – they are nutrient dense, low in calories and sugar, sweet tasting and can be used to prepare everything from jams to sorbets. Not to mention, just looking at them leaves your mouth watering!
Like the avocado, the tomato is technically a fruit and not a vegetable, even though in the kitchen it is mostly used as a vegetable. Tomatoes are a major source of lycopene, a deep red pigment that gives them their colour. Lycopene is an antioxidant that is responsible for numerous health benefits; in general, the redder the tomato, the more lycopene it contains.
And lastly, watermelon. Despite the conventional belief that watermelon is nothing more than water and sugar, it is actually classed as a nutrient dense food. It contains the amino acid citrulline, which this study found can lower blood pressure. Watermelon consumption also relieves post-workout muscle soreness and is beneficial to the overall health of the heart.
There is certainly no shortage of choice when it comes to fruit, as can be clearly seen from the contents of this article. Experts recommend that the average person should have 2 – 3 servings of fruit per day, depending on how active they are. Be sure to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet, so as to reap the most benefit.