Just in Case You Need ‘Em: More Reasons to Eat More Fruit
Summer’s not just great for hitting the lake or spending time on the deck.
It’s the ideal season for eating fresh fruits from your local farmer’s market, your grocery store or if you’re industrious, from a garden.
Eating fruit provides many health benefits; people who eat more fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Fruits provide nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body. Besides their absolutely delicious taste, here’s a quick list of some of the great health benefits that come with fruit.
- Eating a diet rich in fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may reduce risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
- When they are part of an overall healthy diet, fruits can protect against certain types of cancers.
- Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- Eating fruits rich in potassium as part of an overall healthy diet may lower blood pressure, and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and help to decrease bone loss.
- Since they are lower in calories per cup, most fruits are useful when you’re trying to lower your calorie intake.
- Most fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories. None have cholesterol.
- Fruits are sources of many essential nutrients that are under consumed, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid).
- Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Fruit sources of potassium include bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange juice.
- Dietary fiber from fruits, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Fiber-containing foods such as fruits help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Whole or cut-up fruits are sources of dietary fiber; fruit juices contain little or no fiber.
- Vitamin C is important for growth and repair of all body tissues, helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps teeth and gums healthy.
- Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 mcg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida and anencephaly during fetal development.