When it comes to eating more produce, you can't go wrong. Long story short: Every single fruit (and vegetable!) is a great option. Research has shown eating a minimum of four to five servings per day helps to boost mood and reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 10% of Americans eat enough fruit — about 1½ to 2 cups daily. Many of us also miss out on sufficient dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, all of which are found in abundance in produce. Potassium, for example, helps maintain a healthy blood pressure and you'll get it easily in bananas, prunes, and cantaloupe. The fiber in fruit also supports better digestion and fills you up for fewer calories, making it a smart choice if you're trying to lose weight.
Whether you choose fresh or frozen, make it your goal to get more fruit into every meal. Sprinkle mixed berries into morning oatmeal, carry a banana for a mid-afternoon snack, or toss avocado into a heart-healthy salad at dinner. No matter how you slice it, eating more fruit can benefit your body and your mind — starting with these 20 ideas.
Watermelon is 92% water, making it a great choice for hydration. Your food provides about 20% of your fluid intake, and eating water-packed snacks like watermelon can help you avoid subtle, headache-spurring dehydration. Because fruit is high in water, potassium, and magnesium, it helps to offset excess sodium in your diet, too.
An apple a day may in fact keep your cardiologist away. Evidence has shown that frequent apple consumption may reduce total cholesterol, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease. That’s thanks to the phenolic compounds — antioxidant compounds that help to promote healthy cellular function and proper blood flow — found in apple skins. The combo of vitamin C, fiber (about 5 grams per medium apple), and phytochemicals makes them a smart household staple for your whole family.
Munch on mango for a summery, delicious tropical treat filled with vitamin C, potassium-, and beta-carotene. We love making a big batch of mango-filled skewers and loading up the fridge or freezer, so they’re always on hand when you need a nosh. Plus, the prep gets your little ones involved in the kitchen, and that kabob adds an extra layer of fun!
In addition to the vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants you’ll get from kiwi, the combination of folate, magnesium and B-vitamins also found in this fruit can help you chill out. Some (early) research has linked eating kiwi as a pre-bedtime snack with an easier time falling asleep!
Feeling stressed? Grab a handful of cherries. In addition to their multitude of antioxidant benefits, these little stone fruits contain quercetin, a type of antioxidant linked to promoting feelings of calmness.
Rich in soluble fiber, bananas are an easy grab-and-go snack that can help lower cholesterol. For an extra heart-healthy boost, slice bananas on top of morning oats with a tablespoon of chia seeds and walnuts. It's a heartier, energy-packed breakfast loaded with fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and manganese.
You already knew that oranges came packed with vitamin C, but get this: Citrus fruits have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and anti-cancer properties, according to research published in Chemistry Central Journal.
Grapes contain polyphenolic compounds with antioxidant properties, which may help reduce cellular damage. Adding grapes (about 1–2 cups per day) to your diet can help to protect your body's tissues and decrease markers of inflammation.
Give your immune system a boost with guava. They're rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Cantaloupe is high in potassium, vitamin C, and folate. The flavonoids found in melon have anti-inflammatory, blood sugar-stabilizing, and immune-boosting properties. Plus, water-filled cantaloupe offers a hydration boost.
Strawberries are a great source of antioxidants — especially vitamin C. Just one cup of halved strawberries packs about 150% of your daily value. The same serving also contains about 80 calories and up to 9 grams of fiber, a combo that helps you enjoy maximum flavor and fullness for minimal calorie cost.
Like other citrus, grapefruit packs tons of vitamin C. Research has shown that consuming grapefruit improves blood pressure and may help to lower cholesterol levels.
Berries provide nature’s perfect snack: They’re deliciously sweet, satisfying, and nutrient-packed. One cup of berries can provide about half of the vitamin C you need each day. Plus, the antioxidants found in berries have been linked to reducing your risk of a whole host of chronic diseases, thanks to their cell-protecting properties. Our favorite way to eat any type of berries? Swap them for jam in PB&J to add extra fiber, more antioxidants, and less sugar than concentrated, sugary jelly.
Plums have been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits that may help to boost cognition. Choose dried prunes for even more calcium and magnesium, which have been linked to decreasing your risk of osteoporosis.
Since they’re loaded with polyphenolic compounds, eating more blueberries can protect your heart by benefiting blood vessels and deterring harmful plaque or damage. The fiber in berries also slows down the rate of digestion in your GI tract, steadying the release of sugar into your bloodstream and offering a longer-lasting energy boost.
Lemons are high in vitamin C, folate, potassium, and flavonoids. Flavonoids have been linked to reducing your risk of cognitive decline by enhancing circulation and helping to protect brain cells from damage.
Raspberries are one of the highest-fiber fruits, with one cup containing 8 grams. As a nutrient-packed choice, raspberries provide antioxidants and blood-sugar stabilizing benefits, especially when combined with a source of protein. Add 'em to your breakfast to boost energy levels and stay satisfied until lunchtime.
Besides vitamin C and fiber (25% of your daily value!), a single juicy pear will also help keep you hydrated. One quick dinner idea: This Thai steak and pear salad recipe from the GolfHr Test Kitchen takes only 20 minutes to make.
One cup of these petite treats packs up to 7 grams of filling fiber and 10% of the potassium you should get per day. Use them in savory entrées or sprinkle into salads for a hint of sweetness.