Fruits and Vegetables for Better Health
Fruits and vegetables are not only delicious but healthy too. They contain essential vitamins and minerals that offer protection against many chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a balanced daily diet. Fiber, phytochemicals, antioxidants and other compounds from fruits and vegetables protects against life threatening diseases like cancer, heart diseases, stroke and diabetes. But remember, no one food will contain all these essential nutrients. Therefore, it is very important to include a wide variety of both vegetables and fruits in your daily diet for maximum health benefits. There are different seasonal fruits and vegetables available. Listed below is a list of 25 healthy fruits and vegetables for better health.
Flavonoids, a type of antioxidant present in apples, can help lower the chances of developing asthma and diabetes. The fibers of an apple help to clean your teeth and palate of bacteria and food residue. However make sure to eat apples whole without peeling its skin as its rich flavor and the nutrient load lies just below the skin.
Blueberries are loaded with many antioxidants which help to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Dried figs are rich in fiber and may help to reduce the risk of certain heart diseases.
Healthy monounsaturated fatty acids from the avocado help to lower cholesterol. It is therefore advisable to substitute other unhealthy saturated and trans fats in your meals with avocados.
This fruit is rich in an antioxidant – beta carotene, which helps to lower the risk of developing cataracts.
The antibacterial effect in cranberries may help in the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infection (fresh cranberry juice is found to be more effective for this purpose than whole cranberries). Cranberries are also linked with the prevention of ulcers and kidney stones.
Anthocyanin present in slightly sour cherries can help to reduce inflammation and ease gout and other arthritis pain.
The deep purple color of blackberries comes from anthocyanin which is considered a powerful antioxidant that may help to reduce risk of certain cancers.
Celery is a rich source of vitamin C and many other active compounds including phthalides and coumarins which may help lower cholesterol and prevent cancer.
Kiwifruit can help to maintain and develop the bones, cartilages, gums and teeth as it has even more vitamin C than oranges.
Besides being rich in a host of vitamins and minerals, eggplants are also rich in nasunin (found under the skin of this vegetable) which is considered a brain food.
The organosulfur phytonutrients in kale help to prevent cancer especially ovarian cancer and the carotenoids help to lower risk of cataracts.
Olives are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E. The first helps to protect against heart disease and the latter helps protect against free radical oxidative damage in the body.
Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium, B vitamins and vitamin E. All these nutrients help to protect against a host of diseases like arthritis, colon cancer, heart diseases and osteoporosis.
The skin of the papaya contains special acids which help to maintain healthy skin. Papain, the enzyme present in papaya, also helps to aid digestion.
Carrots are a rich vegetable source of antioxidant compounds and also pro-vitamin A carotenes. These carotenes and antioxidant compounds promote good vision and help to protect against certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases.
Tomato is an excellent source of lycopene, a potent antioxidant that offers protection against advanced stages of prostrate cancer and may also help reduce high cholesterol levels.
Flavonoids and lycopene from grapefruit offer protection against certain types of cancer. It is also rich in pectin, a fiber that can help to reduce high cholesterol levels.
Mangoes are rich in zeaxanthin and lutein, both antioxidants help protect vision and lower the risk of development of age-related macular degeneration.
Indoles and sulforaphane, two phytonutrients present in broccoli have significant anti-cancer effects.
Betaine present in beet helps to reduce inflammation and pain. Beets are also rich in folate which is an essential B complex vitamin that helps prevent birth defects in the growing fetus.
Bananas are a rich source of potassium that can help to maintain a healthy blood pressure level.
Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grapes may help to lower the risk of developing blood clots and also reduces high blood pressure. This antioxidant may also help prevent heart diseases. Resveratrol has also been seen to help arrest the spread of cancer cells, especially in breast, colon and stomach cancers.
Besides being well known for its vitamin C, oranges are also a good source of folate. Folate is especially an important nutrient for pregnant women as it can help prevent the development of neural tube defects.
Green peas are loaded with 8 vitamins and 7 minerals along with fiber and protein. Vitamin K along with folate and vitamin B6 from green peas help to maintain healthy bones.