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Fruits

List of fruits with the most health benefits: These 8 are expert recommended

Only about 12% of surveyed Americans , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in 2019. That number is even lower among low-income adults.

Eating fruits and vegetables is an important part of a healthy diet, but for many who live in areas of food insecurity access may be a challenge. The U.S. Department of Agriculture found lived in food-insecure households in 2022. 

Meanwhile, an estimated in the U.S. goes to waste. 

Any fruit is a healthy choice, though these eight are must-haves.

Healthiest fruits to include in your diet

If you live in an area with access to fresh produce, any choice of fruit is a healthy one, says registered dietitian . However, each fruit has a unique nutritional profile and benefits. Here are some of the must-haves for your diet:

  • Wild blueberries: These berries pack in the fiber to keep you fuller for longer. They also rank among the fruits and vegetables with the Antioxidants cell damage. Studies show wild blueberries have as well as cancer-fighting compounds, Crumble Smith says.
  • Apples: Apples are rich in antioxidants, especially darker-colored varieties like Red Delicious. They have vitamin C and fiber, found mostly in the skin, and , a fiber that acts as a prebiotic to aid colon function and digestion. Apples also contain quercetin, a flavonoid with antioxidant properties that studies show may reduce cardiovascular disease risk and protect against allergies because it acts as a .
  • Oranges: These bright citrus fruits contain about vitamin C requirement. They're a good source of folate, a B vitamin that’s important during pregnancy but can also play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease, infertility, stroke, dementia, colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Grapefruit: Grapefruits are a good source of vitamin C, which the body uses to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen in the bones. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant and helps the body absorb and store iron. Grapefruits also contain vitamin A, which helps support eye health and cell growth.
  • Strawberries: Strawberries are high in vitamin C, which helps support the immune system. They contain .
  • Pineapple: Pineapple packs in vitamins C, A, K, phosphorus, zinc and calcium. It's rich in manganese and contains bromelain, an extract found in the fruit and stem of pineapples that has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Papaya: Papayas contain vitamins C, A, E, folate, fiber and a high level of antioxidants, including .
  • Plums: These fruits contain antioxidants like anthocyanins and quercetin, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. They’re also high in fiber, which can help regulate bowel movements. Plums are lower in sugar and have a low glycemic index, making them ideal for anyone with diabetes, insulin resistance or blood sugar dysregulation, Crumble Smith says.
  • Kiwi: Kiwis contain high amounts of vitamins C, E and fiber. You'll also get an enzyme called actinidin, which , and lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that .

Is fruit good for you?

Aside from making a tasty snack, fruit is beneficial because it contains vitamins, minerals, fiber, water and other essential nutrients, Crumble Smith previously told ӣƵ. 

Fruit can help combat the afternoon slump better than reaching for another cup of coffee. And because natural sugar is a healthy source of energy, pairing fruit with protein will give you a similar boost.

Crumble Smith does recommend caution for people with diabetes, insulin resistance or blood sugar issues. In that case, be mindful of portion size or try to pair your afternoon raspberries with a protein, like yogurt or cheese.

Fruit smoothies are an easy and accessible way to get your daily fruit content. Crumble Smith recommends making them at home rather than grabbing one from a smoothie bar or a pre-packaged drink from the store. If you’re going for bottled juice, read the nutritional label thoroughly to check for added sugar content. 

"All the concentrated fruit tends to be really high in sugar and don’t have any protein to help stabilize blood sugar levels," she told ӣƵ in 2023.

How much fruit should you eat per day?

The depends on several factors, including age, height, sex, weight and physical activity. Generally, the USDA says adults should consume around 2 cups of fruit per day. 

Here are some examples of what counts as a “cup” of fruit:

  • 1 small apple
  • 1 large banana
  • 10 dates
  • 22 seedless grapes
  • 2-3 kiwis
  • 1 large peach
  • 3 medium plums
  • 1 slice of watermelon

What are superfoods?:How to incorporate more into your diet

Discover more health tips for your daily diet: 

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