Adding the healthiest fruits and vegetables to your diet can help you become an even healthier version of yourself.
15 Fruits and Vegetables with the Best Health Benefits
This is among the healthiest fruits to eat and should be a part of everyone’s daily diet. Despite being larger in size than its other citrus cousins the orange and lemon, grapefruits are low in calories.
Grapefruits are also quite high in fiber (2g) and some major nutrients like vitamins C and A, potassium, folate, thiamine, and magnesium.
These contents make grapefruit a good booster for your immune system and a great food for those working toward weight loss.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that avocados are fruits. This is because they are often in more savory rather than sweet dishes, and don’t carry a tart flavor we associate with fruits.
Also called the butter fruit, avocados are full of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. They are also a great source of vitamins E, C, K, niacin, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, potassium, lutein, and beta-carotene.
Avocados are also heart-healthy, thanks to its high amount of beta-sitosterol. Beta-sitosterol is a plant sterol that has a similar structure as cholesterol and is often used to lower cholesterol levels.
Spinach is among the healthiest green vegetables. A single cup of raw spinach will be able to provide a whopping 56% of your vitamin A needs, as well as the entire day’s vitamin K requirement.
According to studies, dark green vegetables such as spinach contain high levels of lutein and beta carotene. They are two kinds of antioxidants that have links to low risks of cancer.
Its high water content also makes spinach a great source for hydration. It induces fullness, reduces cravings, is relatively flavorless, and can be incorporated in soups and fruit shakes.
This tropical fruit is low in calories and high in nutrients. It contains vitamins C and B6, manganese, folate, copper, potassium, niacin, iron, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid.
Pineapples are also commonly known for their ability to induce a mildly raw sensation after eating. This is because pineapples contain bromelain.
Bromelain Definition: A digestive enzyme that has the ability to break down proteins into amino acids and peptides
This is especially helpful for those having troubles with digestion. The bromelain from pineapple helps break down protein molecules from undigested food, making them easily absorbable into the small intestine.
Brightly colored carrots are filled with so much vitamin A that one cup of them can provide 428% of your daily recommended intake.
Carrots also contain beta-carotene, which gives them their orange color and notoriety for providing excellent vision. While it won’t help you see in the dark, it may promote eye health and boost important immune functions.
Carrots also contain high levels of carotenoids which have links to potent antioxidant properties. These may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Broccoli is the poster child of cruciferous vegetables. A single cup of broccoli contains enough vitamin K and C to provide 116% and 135% of your daily recommended intake respectively.
Broccoli also has high levels of glucoraphanin, a compound that becomes sulforaphane after digestion. Sulforaphane has been associated with health benefits such as lower cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar, and a lower risk for the development of chronic diseases.
Bioactive compounds in broccoli are also shown to help reduce inflammation in bodily tissue. This is due to kaempferol, a flavonoid present in broccoli, which has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
7. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are another member of the cruciferous vegetable family and are easily recognizable as a tiny version of regular cabbage. Despite their diminutive form and low caloric content, they are full of fiber, vitamins A, C, K, manganese, and folate.
Brussels sprouts are also high in antioxidant content. Studies show that those who ate at least 2 cups of brussels sprouts every day lessened the oxidative stress in their cells by 28%
Blueberries are the most commonly consumed fruit with the highest levels of antioxidants. The main antioxidants present in blueberries are flavonoids, which help increase levels of antioxidants in your body.
Antioxidants help prevent oxidative damage, which can also hasten the aging process of the brain. The antioxidant content in blueberries may have neuroprotective effects that help prevent neurodegenerative disease that comes with age.
With its history as a medicinal plant, the health benefits of garlic are undoubtedly great. The components that make garlic so effective are allicin, s-allyl cysteine, and diallyl disulfide.
Allicin, s-allyl cysteine, and diallyl are sulfuric compounds that enter the body via the digestive tract. From there, they travel throughout the body exerting positive biological benefits.
Garlic has also been shown to fight symptoms of the common cold. Studies done on a group of subjects found that the duration of cold symptoms lessened by as much as 61% after taking a garlic supplement.
Kale has grown in popularity for its many health benefits, showing up in many a salad, smoothie, or snack alternative. A single cup of raw kale can account for your entire daily recommended intake for vitamins A, K, and C alone.
Studies also show that kale can increase levels of good HDL cholesterol, and lower bad LDL cholesterol. Kale in juice form has also been linked to decreasing blood pressure, as well as the reduction of blood sugar levels.
Apples are among the world’s most well-known fruits. They are also highly nutritious, containing copious amounts of vitamin C, B vitamins, fiber, and potassium.
Apples also contain a good amount of soluble fiber, which can help lower blood cholesterol levels. The peel of an apple also contains polyphenols, which are compounds known for potent antioxidant effects.
These juicy, bright red fruits may be mainly water and carbohydrates, but they are full of fiber and nutrients like folate, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese. They are also full of antioxidants and compounds such as pelargonidin, ellagitannins, procyanidins, and ellagic acids.
These plant compounds provide many health benefits such as boosting immunity, heart health, and even anti-bacterial properties. Strawberries may also help regulate blood sugar by slowing down glucose digestion and preventing insulin spikes.
13. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard may sound unfamiliar, but this dark, leafy green vegetable is a cousin to kale and spinach. This hardy vegetable has the ability to grow in low light and water conditions.
A small serving of Swiss chard contains your entire daily requirement of vitamins A and K. It’s also full of vitamin E, sodium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, magnesium, and calcium.
Swiss chard is also an effective prebiotic. This means it contains high amounts of insoluble fiber that survives the digestion process and feeds the good bacteria residing in your gut.
14. Red Cabbage
Another member of the cruciferous vegetable family, red cabbage stands out for its vibrant red-purple coloring and high anthocyanin content. It also contains a high amount of glutamine, which is an amino acid that helps reduce pain and inflammation that comes with gastrointestinal ulcers.
Cranberries are full of vitamin C, E, and K1, as well as copper and manganese. They also contain a high amount of flavonol polyphenols, which help minimize damage by oxidative stress.
A-Type Proanthocyanidin Definition: Compound which helps keep bad bacteria from making contact with the urinary tract and bladder
Here is a quick video from Manipal Hospitals on 5 of the best fruits and vegetables you should be eating for a healthy body:
A healthy diet shouldn’t be difficult to stick to, as long as you regularly eat these fruits and vegetables. Supplementing your fruit and vegetable intake with a high-quality vitamin may also be a great and easy way to reach your daily nutrition needs.
Which of these healthiest fruits and vegetables is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below!