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Health Benefits of the 10 Most Nutritious Fruits

Health Benefits of the 10 Most Nutritious Fruits

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They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but many of us still don't eat them. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be eating them, however. Pound for pound, fruits are among the healthiest foods a person can consume, offering numerous benefits (from antioxidants to vitamin C to potassium to fiber) in huge quantities that other foods don't come close to. But which fruits offer which specific health benefits? That's the question of the day, so let's dive in!

1) Apples

With only 80 calories and 0 grams of fat, it's tough to beat the all-around health boost an apple provides. The primary health benefit of apples is the 3 grams of fiber you get from each one, which carries you a long way toward the 20 grams you are supposed to get each day. High fiber diets have also been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as clearer skin, so if you're looking for a fruit to start loading up on, look no further!

2) Bananas

The banana offers two primary health benefits: fiber (2 grams per banana) and the all-important nutrient of potassium. If you are at all interested in the healthy, proper functioning of your heart and muscles, potassium is something you do not want to skimp on. The easiest way to get it is to work bananas into your diet; say, one at breakfast, and one after supper. You'll be amazed at how much more energetic and healthy you feel after just a few days or weeks!

3) Blueberries

Besides tasting great as a topping or by themselves, blueberries offer the inestimable benefit of discouraging bladder infections by making it hard for bacteria to stick to the walls of your urinary tract. As if that weren't enough, blueberries offer another huge benefit to all you men out there. According to Men's Health, blueberries can boost your libido and sex drive by killing the free radicals that stop blood flow to that...ahem, special area of the body.

4) Apricots

At a mere 51 calories per three servings, apricots offer a potent infusion of beta-carotene, which your body happily converts to much-needed Vitamin A. Adding just one or two apricots to your daily diet will provide you with over 35 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin A. You can also count on apricots for 2 percent of your RDA of fiber.

5) Blackberries

Fruit lovers can get the 20-gram RDA of fiber from a number of different fruits if they so choose. But if you're the kind of person who wants to knock as much as possible out in one shot, blackberries are the way to go. A cup of blackberries delivers an instant 10-gram jolt of fiber, good for half your RDA. If you don't like how they taste alone (some feel they taste bittersweet), blackberries make excellent toppings for ice cream and taste great with many cereals.

6) Cherries

Tasty and rich in perillyl alcohol (a substance shown to reduce prostate cancer in animal tests), cherries are one of the most heart-healthy fruits you can eat. Their red color is a direct byproduct of the heart-protecting anthocyanins that cherries contain so much of, so if heart or prostate health is a concern, eat up!

7) Pomegranates

Pomegranates are somewhat less common than the fruits mentioned above, but the health benefits to be gained from them are extraordinary. In addition to helping stop harmful blood clots, Men's Health notes that pomegranates can increase blood flow from the heart by up to 30 percent. A National Academy of Sciences study also found that pomegranates slowed the growth of tumors and improved survival rates of mice. Other studies link pomegranate consumption to a reduced risk of breast cancer.

8) Oranges

Oranges pack a dual punch of citrus and anti-oxidants that every healthy person needs for optimal functioning. With 70 milligrams of Vitamin C and 40 milligrams of folic acid, oranges are one of nature's best immune system enhancers, which is why so many doctors advise drinking orange juice when you’re trying to beat a cold. The antioxidants come to the rescue of your beleaguered immune system, helping it to fight the illness or bug you are experiencing.

9) Purple (not green) grapes

Both green and purple grapes are tasty, but only the purple ones offer the vital nutrients your heart is crying out for. Just a small handful of purple grapes worked into your daily diet gives you anthocyanins, flavanoids, and resveratrol, all of which aid the heart in the task of pumping blood to your brain and other organs. If you have been feeling run down or just not as energetic as you would like to, purple grapes are a great, natural way to perk back up.

10) Mangoes

Another excellent fruit for the "I want it all in one shot" crowd is the mango. If you don't want to mix and match a half dozen fruits to get your RDA of Vitamin A, just eat a single mango. You'll also get 57 milligrams of Vitamin C to help ward off colds, bugs, and seasonal viruses. (If you've also added oranges to your diet, you'll be that much more protected against the germs of the coming winter months!)

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