An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but experts say you need more kinds of fruit than that to maintain good health.
According to an article in Eating Well, consuming a variety of fruits each week can lead to a healthier gut, which can “improve heart health, boost immunity and even benefit mental health.” Here are seven fruits, shown through studies and experts, you need to add to your weekly menu.
Apples are an excellent source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps food move more quickly through your digestive tract, and insoluble fiber “helps to bulk up stool” so it’s easier to go to the bathroom.
In addition, Lon Ben-Asher, M.S., RD, LD/N and a nutritionist at Pritikin Longevity Center, told Eating Well, “Apples have many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that have been shown to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer due to the polyphenolic compounds.”
According to Ben-Asher: “Avocados are rich in fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins E and K, which help support healthy skin, hair, nails and cell membrane permeability, as well as water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, and many B vitamins that help support the immune system and ocular health. They are also great sources of healthy, polyunsaturated omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats, which are used to replace saturated fats, have been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease and improve blood sugar control.”
“Bananas are high in dietary fiber, which helps keep food in your stomach longer, reducing hunger and keeping you satiated, thus contributing to better weight management and reduced risk of obesity,” Ben-Asher said.
In addition, they may improve blood sugar levels, support heart health because they’re high in potassium, improve kidney health and support exercise recovery, according to Healthline.
“Throughout history, people have used blackberry fruits, leaves and brambles to heal a wide range of illnesses,” Julia Zumpano, RD, told the Cleveland Clinic. “Though modern medicine has replaced these medicinal uses, we’re learning that blackberries have many other health benefits.”
They are a rich source of antioxidants, manganese, copper, vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K. These nutrients can reduce inflammation, prevent cardiovacular disease and cancer, and improve brain function.
Blueberries are delicious fresh, frozen and in recipes. They contain a plant compound called anthocyanin, which is a flavonoid that can have an antioxidant effect.
“Blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse,” Ben-Asher told Eating Well. Just 1 cup provides 24 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
In addition, the small, blue fruit has been shown to protect against heart disease and cancer, and can also help maintain bone strength, mental health, and healthful blood pressure, according to Medical News Today.
Most people equate vitamin C with oranges, but that’s not the only benefit you get from the pulpy fruit. They’re also full of potassium, iron, calcium, vitamin E and numerous B vitamins, Eating Well reported. The pulp also contains polyphenol, which can help to protect cells from damage, according to a study in PLOS One.
Prunes are often recommended for those with digestive problems, but they are also high in vitamin K, which can promote blood clotting and bone building. Although prunes and plums contain the same vitamins and minerals, prunes can be eaten up to a year after being stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container, according to WebMD.