Health Benefits of Fruits

An orange cut in half

Fancy superfruits like guava, mangosteen, acai, and goji tout sky-high levels of antioxidants and vitamins. And with their standout nutrient profiles, as the University of California in Davis notes, it’s no wonder food marketers often call them “super.” But the truth is, a wealth of research has shown that the ordinary apples, grapes, and other fruits that make our shopping lists week after week boast some pretty impressive health benefits of their own.

Grapefruit May Help Prevent Diabetes and Other Chronic Diseases

A bowl of fruit sitting on a table

Adding grapefruit to your diet may decrease your risk of insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes, according to past research. When overweight adults ate one half-grapefruit, drank grapefruit juice, took a grapefruit pill, or took a placebo, once a day before a meal for 12 weeks, those who consumed grapefruit in any form had lower insulin levels What’s more, the fresh grapefruit eaters lost an average of 3.5 pounds more over the course of the study than the placebo group. 

One reason for grapefruit’s potential health perks? It contains a compound called naringenin that’s also found in other citrus fruits, and according to a review published in March 2019 in the journal Pharmaceuticals, it may provide anti-inflammatory benefits, and help protect against developing cardiovascular disease. This compound may also help prevent kidney cysts, according to preliminary past in vitro and animal research.

Blueberries Can Help Support Healthy Weight Loss

A banana sitting on top of a table

Blueberries can help keep you healthy in more ways than one. According to a previous study, a compound called pterostilbene worked with vitamin D in cells to boost the immune system and fight off infections. However, this research is preliminary and it is unclear if the same effect would be seen in humans.

This fruit may also keep your mind sharp — past research has linked blueberries to improving memory and learning, thanks in part to the anti-inflammatory effects of anthocyanin — the antioxidants that give the fruit its bright purple hue. Another study published in February 2017 in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience showed that when older adults with early stages of cognitive decline took blueberry supplements, they experienced neurocognitive benefits.

Apples Can Play a Role in Zapping High Cholesterol

When overweight, postmenopausal women ate around a cup of dried apples each day for a year, they experienced an almost 6 percent drop in “bad” LDL cholesterol, according to a study published in October 2018 in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology journal. What’s more, the women’s “good” HDL cholesterol increased by about 10 percent, and they also lost an average of 2.4 percent of their body fat. Another study, published in December 2019 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that eating two whole apples each day lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in study participants with high cholesterol.

Tangerines Can Help Support Metabolic Health

A flavonoid in this citrus fruit may help protect the body against the group of risk factors known as metabolic syndrome, which includes high fasting blood sugar, high triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure, according to previous animal research. When researchers fed mice a typical “western” diet high in saturated fat, sodium, added sugar, and refined carbohydrates that was supplemented with the tangerine antioxidant nobiletin, the mice experienced no increase in cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, or blood sugar, but mice who didn’t get the nobiletin did see a rise.

These are some amazing health benefits of these four ordinary fruits.

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