Fruits

Fruits are one of the 5 Food Groups and are considered an important building block of a healthy diet. Fruits are not only delicious and beautiful, but they also provide a variety of important nutrients—like vitamins C, potassium, and folate (folic acid).

When eaten regularly as part of a healthy diet, the nutrients in fruits:   

  • Help heal cuts and wounds
  • Keep teeth and gums healthy
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure
  • Help form red blood cells (which are especially important for a healthy pregnancy)

More health benefits of fruits

Fruits are naturally low in calories, fat, and sodium, and high in fiber. The fiber in fruit provides a feeling of fullness with fewer calories, and is also important for proper bowel function and helping reduce constipation. Eating fruits which are lower in calories per cup (compared to most other sweet, higher-calorie foods) can also help lower your total calorie intake and help maintain a healthy weight.

Diets rich in fruit have been shown to have many desirable long-term health benefits, too, such as:

  • Reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain forms of cancer
  • Decreased bone loss
  • Decreased risk of developing kidney stones

Antioxidants in fruits

Many fruits such as grapes, apples, and berries are good sources of phytochemicals. One phytochemical many fruits contain is flavonoids that are thought to act as antioxidants and may protect against some cancers and heart disease. Carotenoids, which give cantaloupe and apricots their orange color, are promoted as anti-cancer agents and pink grapefruit contains lycopene, which proponents claim is a powerful antioxidant.

From vitamins and minerals to fiber and antioxidants, fruits are a great source of nutrients vital to the health and maintenance of your body!

Enjoy fruit every day

  1. Try satisfying your sweet tooth with naturally sweet and nutritious fruits instead of high-calorie desserts.
  2. Vary the fruits you eat to get a wide variety of nutrients and flavors, and try to buy in-season fruits for peak freshness and taste, whenever possible.
  3. Eat most of your fruit whole or in pieces, rather than as juice, to get the most dietary fiber, too.
  4. Depending on your age, sex and activity level, 1 ½-2 cups of fruit are recommended daily.  

Ways to make fruit quick and easy to eat

  • Place a bowl of fresh, whole fruit in a convenient location as a visual cue for on-the-go snacking.
  • Prepare and keep cut fruit in the refrigerator so it’s quick and easy to eat anytime you’re craving something sweet and cold!
  • Make a large bowl of fruit salad and package in single-serving, air-tight containers in the refrigerator. Enjoy with breakfast, as a mid-morning snack, or pack and enjoy at lunchtime. Store in refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
  • Keep dried, frozen, and canned (in water or 100% juice) fruits on hand.
  • Explore new ways to enjoy fruits for dessert. Try grilling seasonal fruits when you’ve got the grill fired up, or filling the house with the delicious aroma of a baked or microwaved fruit dessert when it’s cold out!

Eating fruit should never have to be a chore! Explore a variety of fruits year-round and be on the lookout for new ways to prepare and enjoy them! 

Learn more about the fruit group on the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.gov website  http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/fruits.html