Fruits and vegetables are some of the best sources of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. However, since all fruits have antioxidants in various amounts, it’s impossible to single out one that has the highest antioxidant content.
It’s best to consume a variety of fruits each day to get a healthy dose of various nutrients.
|Resveratrol||Grape (mainly the seeded variety), blueberry|
|Anthocyanins||Blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, cherry, and muscadine grape|
|Lycopene||Tomato, watermelon, grapefruit, papaya, and guava|
|Lutein||Tomato, orange, kiwi, grapefruit|
|Vitamin C||Orange, gooseberry, grapefruit, kiwi|
|Selenium||Banana, mango, avocado, orange, blueberry, blackberry|
|Zinc||Avocado, pomegranate, blackberry, raspberry, peach, apricot|
|Copper||Avocado, guava, kiwi, blackberry, banana, pineapple, durian|
What are the health benefits of antioxidants?
Antioxidants are substances that protect various molecules in the body from being attacked by harmful free radicals. When free radicals accumulate, they can damage cell structure and DNA.
We are constantly exposed to free radicals, whether it’s pollutants in the air, water, and soil, cigarette smoke, heavy metals, or chemicals in certain foods. Although limiting the exposure to free radicals is crucial, being equipped to fight them through antioxidants is important too.
A diet rich in antioxidants helps keep tissues and organs healthy, ensuring that they perform their functions well. Antioxidants can also help prevent health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, stroke, liver diseases, kidney diseases, and even some cancers.
How much fruit should I eat each day?
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. However, your daily intake requirement may vary depending on your target calorie and macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, and fats) needs.
Fruit contains fiber that helps you stay full for longer, helping control your blood glucose levels. Furthermore, one fruit serving on average has about 80 to 90 calories. So if you are planning to lose weight, you must quantify the calories that you obtain from fruits as well.
One serving of fruit is:
- 1 medium-sized fruit (about the size of your fist)
- 1/2 cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruits
- 1/4 cup of dried fruit
- 1/4 cup of pure fruit juice
A single fruit serving is:
- 1 medium-sized apple, peach, pear, orange, kiwi, or nectarine
- 1 small (about 6-inch long) banana
- 1/2 a medium-sized grapefruit (about 4-inch diameter), mango, or avocado
- 4 large strawberries
- 1/4 of a medium pineapple
- ½-inch thick wedge of watermelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe
What to keep in mind for maximum health benefits
- If you have any underlying health conditions, especially diabetes, you should ask your doctor about how much fruit they recommend you to have each day.
- Consuming fruits of different colors will help you get more nutritional benefits than restricting yourself to one fruit.
- Besides fruit, you should also include vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins to make sure your diet is well balanced and healthy.
- Good hydration, physical activity, stress management, and adequate sleep are crucial to good health as well.
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American Heart Association. Fruits and Vegetables Serving Sizes Infographic. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/add-color/fruits-and-vegetables-serving-sizes
Harvard T. H. Chan. Antioxidants. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/antioxidants/
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