Eating More Fruits can Improve the Health
Offering a bounty of bright color and delicious sweet flavor, few foods compare to juicy, fresh fruit. Packed with an array of nutrients vital to good health, fruits are wholesome and delicious. In fact, the USDA recommends five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. If you struggle to get enough fresh fruit in your diet, there are other ways to do it. For example, you can use fruit powders in smoothies and other drinks to increase your daily fruit intake. Here are six ways in which eating more fruits can improve the health.
High in AntioxidantsAntioxidants like anthocyanins, polyphenols and vitamin C found in fruit can help protect the body from oxidative stress. When body cells use oxygen, compounds call free radicals are formed which can damage cell structure. This can lead to serious long-term health problems like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.Antioxidants work to remove free radicals and prevent cell damage.
Anti-aging PropertiesBecause antioxidants in fruits reduce oxidative stress, they may also have the capacity to reduce wrinkling, which has been attributed to oxidative stress. In addition, vitamin C in fruits helps produce collagen, which boosts resilience and elasticity in the skin. With aging, people begin to lose collagen, so eating fruits high in vitamin C may help retain a youthful glow.
Brain EnhancementResearch has determined that declining brain health is linked to excessive iron in the bloodstream, some of which can cross the blood-brain barrier. This produces toxins called hydroxyl radicals, which can cause damage to the brain. Purple fruits, specifically blueberries and acai berries, are excellent chelators, which are compounds that bind to iron and neutralize hydroxyl radicals.
Combats Urinary Tract InfectionHealth experts once thought that the acidity in cranberries made it effective for treatment of urinary tract infections. However, new research suggests that an antioxidant found in cranberries and blueberries called epicatechin may be responsible by inhibiting infection-causing bacteria to attach to the urethra walls. Compounds in cranberries also appear to weaken the bacteria.
Boosts Weight LossPeople who are watching their weight may appreciate the low calorie and fat content in fruits. Delicious fruits are also high in soluble dietary fiber, a nutrient that makes individuals feel full for longer periods. This temporary condition may prevent people from overeating. Additional benefits of fiber include better digestion and improved metabolism of fats and cholesterol.
Shrinks Belly FatResearch has shown that the consumption of blueberries can shrink belly fat in rats. In addition to being unsightly and uncomfortable, human abdominal fat has been linked to diabetes and heart disease. Along with belly fat shrinkage, the rats showed lowered cholesterol levels and better control over glucose, even when the diet wasn't heart-healthy.
Fruit is always the healthiest when eaten fresh, but it begins to lose nutrients from the moment it is plucked off the bush, tree or vine. Therefore, frozen fruit and fruit powders are also a great option because quick-freezing and dehydrating often retains much of the nutritional value. Try fresh or frozen fruit in a smoothie for a health-boosting breakfast or snack.
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