Facts About Food: Fruits
If you have a sweet tooth, fruits may be your saving grace. The great news about fruits is that they are cholesterol-free and most are naturally low in fat, sodium and calories, which is why they are a good alternative to sugary snacks. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the fruit group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or puréed. For a snapshot of the recommendations for your age/sex group, click here
Eating a diet rich in fruits (and vegetables) offers several health benefits:
- It can help reduce the risk for stroke.
- Fruits may help reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes.
- Some fruits may protect against certain cancers, such as mouth, stomach, and colon-rectum cancer.
- Fruits help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
- Fruits are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, vitamin C and folate (folic acid).
- Some fruits provide an excellent source of potassium which 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 helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of heart disease.
- The fiber in fruit is also important for proper bowel function and can help maintain regularity and avoid constipation or diverticulitis.
- Vitamin C is important for growth and repair of all body tissues — it helps heal cuts and wounds, and keeps teeth and gums healthy.
- Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells and is especially important for pregnant women.
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