What are Some Health Benefits of Fruit?

Mary McMahon

In addition to being rather tasty, fruit confers a number of health benefits which lead nutrition authorities to recommend that people try to eat at least five pieces of fruit a day. Fruit also comes in a broad array of shapes and sizes, creating a lot of variety for people who grow bored with eating the same thing every day. Most markets carry fresh fruit, which tends to be the healthiest option, and it is also possible to obtain benefits from fruit juices, frozen fruit smoothies, and dried fruits.

An orange-banana smoothie made with organic fruit is high in several key nutrients, including vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.
An orange-banana smoothie made with organic fruit is high in several key nutrients, including vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.

Fruit is very high in nutritional value, with most of the health benefits of fruit being centered around the vitamins and minerals it contains. Most fruit is very high in fiber, while being low in fat and sodium, and high in an assortment of vitamins and minerals, depending on the fruit. Citrus fruits, for example, have a great deal of vitamin C, while carrots have a lot of carotene, and bananas have a high potassium value. This is part of the reason why varying fruit consumption is important, ensuring a broad cross-section of nutrition in the diet.

Bananas are a good source of potassium and several vitamins.
Bananas are a good source of potassium and several vitamins.

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To get the best benefits of fruit, whole fruit should be consumed. Whole fruit has the most fiber, and it tends to be lower in sugar than fruit juices and dried fruits. Fruits should generally be washed before consumption, and they may need to be peeled before eating. Some people believe that the best benefits of fruit come from raw fruit, under the argument that high heat damages natural enzymes in the fruit, but these claims have been difficult to substantiate.

To receive the best benefits of fruit, whole fruit should be consumed.
To receive the best benefits of fruit, whole fruit should be consumed.

Eating a diet high in fiber can promote digestion, and it appears to reduce the risk of some cancers. Other benefits of fruit include increased cardiovascular health, the avoidance of some vision problems, and general good health as a result of eating a balanced, healthy diet. Some specific fruits also have antioxidants, which are believed to be valuable for human health, along with compounds which can benefit the nervous system and various organs such as the liver and kidneys.

Various types of fruit in a grocery store.
Various types of fruit in a grocery store.

Using the “five a day” rule of thumb, people should try to eat five different colored servings of fruits and vegetables every day. By selecting different colored foods, exposure to a wide variety of nutrients can be assured. People who want to enjoy the benefits of fruit should also plan on including other factors needed in a balanced diet, including protein from plant or animal sources and carbohydrates.

Six ounces of pure fruit juice counts as one serving of fruit.
Six ounces of pure fruit juice counts as one serving of fruit.
Fresh fruit should be a component of a healthy diet.
Fresh fruit should be a component of a healthy diet.
A person should eat at least five pieces of fruit a day.
A person should eat at least five pieces of fruit a day.
People should try to eat five servings of different colored fruit and vegetables each day.
People should try to eat five servings of different colored fruit and vegetables each day.
Oranges are a great source of many essential vitamins.
Oranges are a great source of many essential vitamins.
Apples are high in fiber and contain vitamin C.
Apples are high in fiber and contain vitamin C.

Discussion Comments

nextcorrea

The article makes an important point about consuming whole fruits. I know some people fall into the trap of eating dried fruits, canned fruits or other processed fruit products and expect to get all the same health benefits. In general these processed products contain extra sugars, salts and preservatives and don not have nearly as much nutritional value as whole fruits.

In the end whole fruits cost about the same price, they taste way better and they will keep you healthy and trim. If you really want to get all the benefits you can from eating fruit be honest with yourself about the kinds of fruit you are eating.

whiteplane

I could write all day about all the benefits of eating fruit. Fruit is like nature's vitamin pill. Eating a diverse range of fruits is a great way to keep healthy and take preventative steps against a range of diseases.

I snack on fruit all day long. I try to stick to whatever is seasonal but I make concessions here and there. A lot of mornings I will start off with a glass of fruit juice, and then eat a piece of fruit with lunch and late at night when I want a snack. It is delicious, relatively cheap and super nutritious.

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