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Introduction

When it comes to eating more produce, you can't go wrong. Long story short: Every single fruit (and vegetable!) is a great option. Research has shown eating a minimum of four to five servings per day helps to boost mood and reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 10% of Americans eat enough fruit — about 1½ to 2 cups daily. Many of us also miss out on sufficient dietary fiber, calcium, potassium and magnesium, all of which are found in abundance in produce. Potassium, for example, helps maintain healthy blood pressure and you'll get it easily in bananas, prunes and cantaloupe. The fiber in fruit also supports better digestion and fills you up for fewer calories, making it a smart choice for your health overall and can help if you're trying to lose weight.

Whether you choose fresh or frozen, make it your goal to get more fruit into every meal. Sprinkle mixed berries into morning oatmeal or onto toast with nut butter, carry a banana or a bunch of grapes for a mid-afternoon snack, or toss avocado into a heart-healthy salad at dinner. No matter how you slice it, eating more fruit can benefit your body and your mind — starting with these ideas.

Watermelon:

Watermelon is 92% water, making it a great choice for hydration. Your food provides about 20% of your fluid intake, and eating water-packed snacks like watermelon can help you avoid subtle, headache-spurring dehydration. Because fruit is high in water, potassium and magnesium, it helps to offset excess sodium in your diet, too. Try it in a salad with feta and mint — or grill it for a summery dessert!

Apples:

An apple a day may in fact keep your cardiologist away. Evidence has shown that frequent apple consumption may reduce total cholesterol, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease. That’s thanks to the phenolic compounds — antioxidant compounds that help to promote healthy cellular function and proper blood flow — found in apple skins. The combo of vitamin C, fiber (about 5 grams per medium apple) and phytochemicals makes them a smart household staple for your whole family. And there are so many ways to eat them, from simple slices dipped in nut butter or yogurt, to stuffed with nuts and raisins and baked.

Mangos:

Munch on mango for a summery, delicious tropical treat filled with vitamin C, potassium- and beta-carotene. We love making a big batch of mango-filled skewers and loading up the fridge or freezer, so they’re always on hand when you need a nosh. Plus, the prep gets your little ones involved in the kitchen, and that kabob adds an extra layer of fun! Diced mango is wonderful in a salad, or freeze chunks to throw into smoothies.

Kiwis:

In addition to the vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants you’ll get from kiwi, the combination of folate, magnesium and B-vitamins also found in this fruit can help you chill out. Some (early) research has linked eating kiwi as a pre-bedtime snack with an easier time falling asleep! Mix some into a slaw, or slice some for a cooling side dish.

Cherries:

Feeling stressed? Grab a handful of cherries. In addition to their multitude of antioxidant benefits, these little stone fruits contain quercetin, a type of antioxidant linked to promoting feelings of calmness.

Bananas:

Rich in soluble fiber, bananas are an easy grab-and-go snack that can help lower cholesterol. For an extra heart-healthy boost, slice bananas on top of morning oats with a tablespoon of chia seeds and walnuts. It's a hearty, energy-packed breakfast loaded with fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and manganese.

Oranges:

You already knew that oranges came packed with vitamin C, but get this: Citrus fruits have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and anti-cancer properties, according to research published in Chemistry Central Journal. Oranges are wonderful on their own, sliced into a salad, or used in cooking or baking.

Grapes: 

Grapes contain polyphenolic compounds with antioxidant properties, which may help reduce cellular damage. Adding grapes (about 1–2 cups per day) to your diet can help to protect your body's tissues and decrease markers of inflammation. Frozen grapes are a wonderful, hydrating summer treat, but also consider roasting grapes along with veggies on a sheet pan!

Guava: 

Give your immune system a boost with guava. They're rich in vitamin C, potassium and fiber, and have a fair amount of folate. With a tropical tang, guavas can be used to make a tasty jam, or turned into a syrup or glaze to use in a host of recipes.

Cantaloupe:

Cantaloupe is high in potassium, vitamin C and folate. The flavonoids found in melon have anti-inflammatory, blood sugar-stabilizing, and immune-boosting properties. Plus, water-filled cantaloupe offers a hydration boost. You can make a cool salad with cantaloupe and cucumber, with granola sprinkled on top for a bit of crunch!

Strawberries: 

Strawberries are a great source of antioxidants — especially vitamin C. Just one cup of halved strawberries packs about 150% of your daily value. The same serving also contains about 80 calories and up to 9 grams of fiber, a combo that helps you enjoy maximum flavor and fullness for a minimal number of calories. Use their sweetness to create wonderful desserts!

Grapefruit: 

Like other citrus, grapefruit packs tons of vitamin C. Research has shown that consuming grapefruit improves blood pressure and may help to lower cholesterol levels. Make it easy to get those citrusy sections with a grapefruit knife and add them to salad, yogurt, granola or oatmeal.

Blackberries: 

Blackberries provide nature’s perfect snack: They’re deliciously sweet, satisfying and nutrient-packed. One cup can provide about half of the vitamin C you need each day. Plus, they're a good source of both vitamin K and manganese. Our favorite way to eat any type of berries? Swap them for jam in PB&J to add extra fiber, more antioxidants and less sugar.

Avocados: 

Avocado is a unique fruit (yep, it's a fruit!) because of its low sugar content. It also provides heart-healthy fatty acids and magnesium, a key mineral linked to neurological and muscular function. You know all about avocado toast, but have you tried adding avocado to your smoothies?

Plums:

Plums have been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits that may help to boost cognition. Choose dried prunes for even more calcium and magnesium, which have been linked to decreasing your risk of osteoporosis. Or when you're grilling chicken or a steak, throw on some halved fresh plums — the heat intensifies their sweetness.

Blueberries: 

Since they’re loaded with polyphenolic compounds, eating more blueberries can protect your heart by benefiting blood vessels and deterring harmful plaque or damage. The fiber in berries also slows down the rate of digestion in your GI tract, steadying the release of sugar into your bloodstream and offering a longer-lasting energy boost. Besides adding them to anything from oatmeal and yogurt to salads and grain dishes, consider the most obvious and delicious option: blueberry muffins!

Lemons: 

Lemons are high in vitamin C, folate, potassium and flavonoids. Flavonoids have been linked to reducing your risk of cognitive decline by enhancing circulation and helping to protect brain cells from damage. Lemons add brightness to so many dishes, from savory to sweet.

Raspberries: 

Raspberries are one of the highest-fiber fruits, with one cup containing 8 grams. As a nutrient-packed choice, raspberries provide antioxidants and blood-sugar stabilizing benefits, especially when combined with a source of protein. Add 'em to your breakfast, whether that's oatmeal, a smoothie or yogurt — it'll help boost your energy levels and keep you satisfied until lunchtime.

Pears: 

Besides vitamin C and fiber (25% of your daily value!), a single juicy pear will also help keep you hydrated. One quick dinner idea: This Thai steak and pear salad recipe from the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen takes only 20 minutes to make. And like plums, pears are wonderful grilled as a side dish to whatever protein main dish you're BBQing.

Pomegranate: 

One cup of these petite treats packs up to 7 grams of filling fiber and 10% of the potassium you should get per day. They're also a decent source of both vitamin C and vitamin K. Use them in savory entrées or sprinkle into salads for a hint of sweetness. The arils (or seeds) have a bit of a crunch, making them a nice addition to yogurt as well.

Limes: 

Limes have some nice health benefits: They're loaded with vitamin C and are a decent source of calcium and iron. They're great in a margarita, of course, and are terrific in Thai-inspired recipes, like this seared coconut-lime chicken dish. A good tool to have on hand to make the most of all citrus fruit is a well-made zester.

Honeydew melons:

Sweet honeydews are another fruit that pack a nice punch of vitamin C: It provides over 50% of your daily value. They'll also give you a burst of potassium and fiber. Honeydew is a nice addition to a cool summery soup, like one made with cucumbers and lime juice.

Pineapple: 

This tropical fruit is simply loaded with vitamin C and is an excellent source of manganese, a mineral that helps your brain and nervous system function. Pineapple is one of the best fruits to grill, whether it's for a main meal side dish or as the base for an excellent dessert.

Figs:

Figs are a good source of fiber; they're best eaten in moderation because they're fairly high in sugar. They're an elegant addition to a cheese plate, and are versatile in recipes — wonderful in a poultry dish, as an appetizer or a dessert.

Breadfruit:

Another great source of vitamin C, breadfruit also has a fair amount of the minerals potassium and magnesium. It's a particularly interesting fruit, because when it's unripe it can be cooked like a potato, but when it's ripe it can be used in a dessert. Another thing that's unusual about breadfruit: It's a terrific source of protein.

Conclusion

Fruits are natural sources of vitamins and minerals. They aid in the digestion of food and are good laxatives and purgatives. It is better to consume fruits after half an hour from the time you finish your regular diet. They facilitate the nourishment and better balance of the body parts like blood cells, muscles, bones, and the nervous system.

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