We are all learning about the importance of eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. But, scientists and doctors are realizing how eating certain foods can actually prevent diseases and improve health conditions. Here are just a few fruits and vegetables listing their health properties and benefits:
Apples Studies show eating apples may help to prevent certain types of cancers. Quercetin, an antioxidant abundant in apples, helps reduce LDL/bad cholesterol oxidation. Apples are rich in a soluble fiber called pectin. Preliminary studies suggest that pectin may help to reduce levels of toxic heavy metals in the body.
Apricots The high beta-carotene content of apricots makes them an important heart health food; the beta-carotene helps protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which may in turn help to prevent heart disease. Apricots contain vitamin B2, potassium, and magnesium. They also contain iron and copper which are important for maintaining healthy blood and helping to prevent iron deficiency.
Asparagus A good source of folate which is vitally important for fetal development. It has been shown to potentially prevent cognitive decline, bestowing it with anti-aging properties! Asparagus is packed with antioxidants, which neutralize cell-damaging free radicals – another reason why it’s a great anti-aging food. A very good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, asparagus also contains as chromium, a trace mineral that assists insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Asparagus contains high amounts of asparagine, which assists the body in getting rid of excess fluids, salts, which is especially helpful for people with edema, high blood pressure, and other heart-related diseases.
Avocado Rich in flavor and consistency, avocados are great to consume if you’re craving something fatty and thick. High in potassium, they help to keep blood pressure low. They also contain monounsaturated fats which help to lower blood pressure. Good source of vitamin K, which has been indicated to promote bone health in the elderly, and folate. Avocados are a nice source of protein, especially for anyone on a plant-based diet.
Bananas A good source of B vitamins, which may help to remedy sleeplessness, mood swings, and irritability. They also contain vitamin C, as well as magnesium and potassium, which make them a great electrolyte replenisher, particularly after exercising or on a hot day. They’re fairly high in natural sugars, so rather than reaching for processed sweet junk foods, next time opt for a banana to satisfy that sweet craving. Peel and enjoy, or blend into a smoothie or juice. (Remember, don’t juice bananas!!)
Beets Numerous studies have shown that beets can help oxygenate blood and enhance exercise performance. Beets are a good source of folic acid, and also contain vitamins A, C, choline, iodine, manganese, organic sodium, potassium, and fiber. Don’t forget to eat or juice those beet greens! The greens have even more iron than Popeye’s favorite veggie.
Bell Peppers Rich in vitamin C, which helps to heal cuts and keep teeth and gums healthy. Vitamin A is great for healthy eyes and skin, and helps to protect against infections. Choose any color bell pepper to get the benefits.
Blackberries Excellent source of vitamin C, blackberries have substantial amounts of fiber, iron, calcium, manganese, and potassium. Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Berries are the highest source of antioxidants from fruits.
Blueberries Contain pectin, vitamin C, potassium, and significant amounts of tannins which can kill bacteria. Manganese, which contributes to healthy bones as well as in converting macronutrients to energy, is amply found in blueberries. Rich in flavonoids, consuming these little berries is associated with a decreased risk of type-2 diabetes. Loaded with antioxidants!
Broccoli Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, known for benefitting the liver and promoting natural detoxification. High in vitamin E, with an excellent amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy. Broccoli contains pantothenic acid and vitamin A which work together to improve rough skin. Good source of iron and B vitamins. Anti-cancer.
Butter Lettuce Low in calories and contains chlorophyll. Light, mild way to add green to your juice.
Cabbage High in sulfur, which purifies the blood, and one of very few vegetables that contains vitamin E. Antibacterial, antioxidant, and an anti-inflammatory.
Cactus Pears Contain potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. Also contain vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene, and vitamin C, which act as antioxidants.
Cantaloupes Sweet, creates a high juice yield, and very low calorie… yet packed full of nutrition. They have commendable levels of beta-carotene, folic acid, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. Cantaloupes have a great amount of the vitamin B complex, unlike most other fruits and vegetables.
Carrots The ABCs of health, carrots are one of the most readily available veggies. They’re an excellent source of vitamins A, B, and C. Rich in beta-carotene and carotenoids; they help protect the body from cancer, cardiac disease, and cataract and macular degeneration. They also contain iron, calcium, potassium, and natural sodium. Their delicate sweetness lends them to mixing well in both fruit and vegetable juices, and even people new to vegetable juices tend to love a carrot juice.
Celery Great low calorie food, celery also makes a great juice ingredient and goes well with both fruits and other vegetables. The high levels of silicon in celery lend it to helping to strengthen joints, bones, arteries, and connective tissues. High in minerals, including this veggie as part of a healthy diet may help promote healthy blood pressure. It is said that chomping on a stalk of celery is just as good as for your teeth as brushing them. Who knew!
Chard High in vitamin K, which assists with blood clotting, and protects bones from fracturing. All the goodness of leafy greens can be found in chard, no matter what type of chard. Anti-inflammatory.
Cherries Contains iron and helps to build blood. Cherries possess an anti-cancer compound, called ellagic acid, and are high in vitamins A and C. They also contain biotin and potassium. Antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory.
Chayotes An excellent source of folate, which may assist in preventing heart disease; and a very good source of vitamin C which can help to slow or prevent cancer growth. Also contains manganese which aids in converting proteins and fats to energy; copper, which assists with healthy thyroids; zinc, which is good for maintaining healthy skin; vitamin K, which is needed to prevent bone loss; and potassium, which lowers blood pressure.
Collard Greens Rich in chlorophyll, vitamin A, C, beta-carotene, and manganese. Also a source of vitamin E. Antioxidant and anti-cancer, and may be the strongest cholesterol lowerer of all greens.
Cranberries Are high in antioxidants, particularly proanthocyanidins, which are known for supporting overall health. They also house numerous nutrients that could protect against tooth cavities, urinary tract infections, and inflammatory diseases. Cranberries are diuretic, which can help to flush out excess water in the body.
Cucumbers Contain potassium and phytosterols which can help lower cholesterol. They’re high in water, which make them great for juicing. Cucumbers are especially cooling, whether consumed in juice form or placed on the skin. Consume the dark green skin to get a boost of chlorophyll, but make sure the skin isn’t waxed.
Dandelion Very high in vitamin K, which is important for blood and bone health. Is a diuretic, and is very beneficial for the kidneys. Supports the liver and gallbladder as well.
Eggplant Low in calories and sodium, eggplants have a phytochemical called monoterpene that may help prevent cancer cell growth.
Fennel Contains high levels of vitamin C, as well as folate, potassium and fiber, which all promote cardiovascular and colon health. As a low calorie vegetable, fennel is a great antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory food, and is so easy to juice! Fennel also contains an active ingredient, anethole, which blocks inflammation in the body and can stop cancer cells from multiplying.
Grapefruits High in vitamin C and limonene, which may help protect against breast cancer. Grapefruits have soluble fiber which can help to lower cholesterol.
Grapes Are endowed with vitamins A, B, C and folate, and contain many important minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. The flavonoids found in grapes have antioxidant properties that can lessen the damage caused by free radicals, making them a great anti-aging fruit.
Jicama Low in calories, high in water and fiber content, give this root vegetable a try if you haven’t! It contains calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C.
Kale A wonderful vegetable! It has the highest vegetable source of vitamin K and may help the risk of developing certain cancers. It’s a fantastic source of calcium, chlorophyll, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. Kale is low calorie and yet incredibly dense with nutrients. It’s also a good source of minerals, copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus, as well as compounds which promote eye and skin health.
Kiwifruit Excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy.
Leeks Rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, leeks share many of the same properties of onions and garlic with a much milder flavor. High water content. Antibiotic.
Lemons High in vitamin C and anti-inflammatory. Lemons and limes contain limonene which may help to prevent breast cancer growth. Also contains natural anti-nausea and overall digestive-aid properties.
Limes Contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, potassium, flavonoids and many other phytonutrients.
Mangos Excellent source of vitamin A and C, which is very beneficial to maintaining a strong immune system. Has been found to protect against colon, breast, leukemia and prostate cancers and is a good source of potassium, which is important in assisting to control heart rate and blood pressure. Mango contains a great deal of flavonoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin.
Melons Antioxidant and anti-cancer. Reduces the risk of cancer and stroke, due to a naturally occurring chemical called adenosine.
Mustard Greens Excellent source of vitamin A; Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
Onions Contain a naturally occurring chemical which has been found to promote bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. They contain high levels of quercetin, an antioxidant that lessens free radical damage. Red onions can also help to lower blood sugar levels, due to their trace amounts of quercetin.
Oranges Excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy.
Papayas Antioxidant, anti-cancer. Promote healthy digestion and can reduce constipation with their potent enzymes. High in vitamins A, C, and potassium.
Parsnips Anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer. Good source of vitamins C and E. Also contain protein, iron, and calcium.
Peaches Excellent source of vitamin A and potassium. Peaches also contain boron and niacin. Antioxidant and anti-cancer.
Pears Great source of fiber. Contains vitamin C, boron, and potassium.
Pineapples Great for improving digestion. A good source of potassium and has vitamin C and iron. Contains anti-inflammatory compounds such as bromelain.
Plums Second highest source of antioxidants from fruits. Good source of vitamin A and contain some calcium and vitamin C. Antibacterial.
Pomegranate Very rich in tannins and flavonoids. Pomegranates hold promise in helping reduce the risk of prostate cancer due to their lycopene and other phytonutrient content. They are the 3rd highest fruit source of antioxidants. Pomegranates have also been used medicinally to treat tapeworm and diarrhea since Roman times, according to the British Journal of Medicine.
Radishes Antiviral, a digestive, and very detoxifying. A god source of potassium and iron. Anti-mucus and great for colds or after having too much dairy.
Raspberries Very high in antioxidants and a super immune booster. Contains potassium, niacin, and some iron and vitamin C.
Romaine Lettuce Contains calcium, omeg-3s, vitamin C, iron, and B-vitamins. Romaine is also rich in minerals.
Scallions Share many of the same cancer-fighting and heart healthy properties as onions and leeks.
Spinach An excellent source of vitamins A, C, and E. A good source of calcium, iron, potassium, protein, and choline. Choline supports healthy mental function.
Squashes Winter varieties are an excellent source of vitamin A; Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections. Rich in potassium, an electrolyte which helps prevent muscle cramps and keeps blood pressure low.
Strawberries Excellent source of vitamin C, which helps heal cuts and wounds and keep teeth and gums healthy. Antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-cancer.
Sugar Snap Peas A good source of riboflavin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, folate, iron and manganese.
Sweet Potatoes Excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A. Keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections, and good source of potassium.
Tangerines Antibacterial, anti-cancer, decongestant, diuretic. Very rich in vitamin A and useful in helping promote detoxification of the liver due to its sulfur content. A good source of calcium, and contains iron and protein, too.
Tomatoes Excellent source of vitamin C, as well as antioxidants that may prevent cancer, such as lycopene. Lycopene promotes overall mental and physical health. Good source of potassium. Antioxidant and anti-cancer.
Watermelon Antibacterial and anti-cancer. Contains vitamin A and C, as well as iron and potassium. Their high water content makes them ideal for juicing.
Wheatgrass Rich in chlorophyll, which is excellent at fighting infections. Also very high in vitamins C and E, and beta carotene. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antibiotic.
Zucchinis Good source of vitamins A and niacin.
Reap the benefits of fruits and vegetables. Add a daily variety to your menu.