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.
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.
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.
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.
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.