All Fruits Are Not Created Equal: Which Fruits are Healthiest?
Fruit is an essential weapon in the fight for maximum health, and while it has a low caloric content, fruit provides an abundance of the vitamins and minerals necessary for proper body functioning. Research confirms fruit’s antioxidant, antihypertensive and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its role in preventing or reducing many health conditions. And while all fruits are healthy, some contain a wider variety of nutrients, have higher nutrient levels and provide more health benefits than others.
Apples are the highest-ranking fruit on Cleveland Clinic’s list of the top 35 power foods. The foods were chosen based on three criteria: the most abundant nutrients, the least amount of calories, and the most health benefits. In addition, a 2011 study conducted by researchers at Florida State University revealed that women who consumed 75 grams of dried apples daily for six months experienced a 23 percent decrease in LDL – or bad – cholesterol.
Pomegranate juice tops UCLA’s list of the top 10 healthiest fruit juices because it contains more types of antioxidants than any other juice, and the high polyphenol content of pomegranates has not only antioxidant, but also antihypertensive and anti-inflammatory properties. In a study conducted at the University of California, Riverside, researchers discovered ingredients in pomegranate juice that obstructs the movement of cancer cells. However, clinical nutritionist Samantha Heller recommends eating fruit over drinking juice, since the latter contains more calories.
Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are an excellent source of antioxidants. According to Mayo Clinic, consuming a diet rich in antioxidants – which include vitamin C, vitamin E, carotene, and lycopene – aids in preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer and macular degeneration. A serving of strawberries contains 80 percent vitamin C; raspberries provide 50 percent vitamin C, along with 36 percent dietary fiber; and while blueberries only contain 25 percent vitamin C, they supply 147 percent dietary fiber.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest lists mangoes as its top fruit in the list of the Top 10 Worst and Best Foods. A serving of mango contains 100 percent vitamin C, 33 percent vitamin A and 3 grams of fiber, in addition to vitamin E, folate, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Mangoes also have one of the lowest pesticide residue rates.
This fruit is also on the Cleveland Clinic’s list of the healthiest types of fruit. That’s because bananas pack a serious nutritional punch. They are loaded with vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Bananas also contain fiber, magnesium, and potassium. These last two minerals provide the extra benefit of lowering blood pressure.