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Eating fruits is an excellent way to improve health and reduce the risk of certain diseases. Fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals. They also provide a broad range of health-boosting antioxidants. Do you want to know the top 10 healthiest fruits based on their nutrient profile and health benefits? Read this article to find out.
List of the Top 10 Healthiest Fruits
Because of their high nutrient and antioxidant content, grapes can provide you with numerous health benefits. They are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K (a fat soluble vitamin that is essential for blood clotting and healthy bones).
Red grapes are particularly high in antioxidants. One of the antioxidants found in grapes is resveratrol. Studies show that resveratrol can help protect against heart disease, lower blood sugar, and help prevent cancer.
Incredibly nutritious, apples contain a high amount of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. They also contain B vitamins. Studies show that the antioxidants found in apples promote heart health and may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer. These antioxidants are also linked to increased bone density.
That’s not all. Apples also contain pectin. What is pectin? Pectin is a prebiotic fiber that supports the good bacteria in the gut and helps improve digestion and metabolism.
Eating blueberries provides many health benefits. First and foremost, the fruit has an impressive nutrition profile, having such nutrients as vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and fiber. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants that may reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
In addition, blueberries can boost the immune system. One study reported that eating blueberries regularly may increase the number of natural killer cells in the body. Killer cells help defend against oxidative stress and viral infections.
Another property of the antioxidants in blueberries is that they may have a protective effect on the brain. Consuming blueberries has been shown to improve the memory of older adults.
Grapefruits are citrus fruits that are packed with vitamins and minerals. How to eat grapefruit? You can add grapefruit slices to fruit salad, or squeeze the juice and add into water to make a drink.
This particular fruit is known for its ability to aid weight loss and also reduce insulin resistance. In a study in 91 people, the participants who ate half a grapefruit before meals lost 2.9 pounds more weight than those who did not. That same study also reported that the grapefruit group had a significant reduction in insulin resistance.
Eating grapefruit has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and prevent kidney stones. Moreover, compounds in grapefruit called furanocoumarins can help protect against oxidative stress and tumors and also support healthy bones. However, these same compounds can interact with some prescription drugs, so be sure to check with your physician before eating grapefruit if you are using prescription drugs.
One of the most popular and nutritious fruits, oranges are a good source of vitamin C, thiamine, folate, and potassium. The plant compounds found in this citrus fruit are responsible for many of its health benefits. These include carotenoids, flavonoids, and citric acid.
The vitamin C and citric acid in oranges can help increase iron absorption and help prevent anemia. Citric acid may also reduce the risk of kidney stones.
Pineapple is a tropical fruit that is very nutritious. When it comes to the Reference Daily Intake (RDI), one cup of pineapple provides 131% of vitamin C and 76% of manganese respectively.
This fruit also contains bromelain, a mixture of enzymes that has anti-inflammatory properties and helps in the digestion of protein. Test tube and animal studies show that bromelain may also help protect against tumor growth and cancer.
While most fruits are high in carbs, avocado is low in carbs and consists mainly of healthy fats. The majority of fat in avocado is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat associated with better heart health and reduced inflammation.
Aside from healthy fats, avocados are rich in potassium, fiber and magnesium. One avocado provides about 28% of the RDI for potassium. Sufficient potassium intake is linked to a lower risk of stroke and reduced blood pressure.
The vitamin C, folate, manganese, and potassium content of strawberries is what makes them shine. Strawberries are juicy, red fruits with a high water content. Compared to other fruits, strawberries have a low glycemic index, meaning eating them won’t cause a big spike in blood sugar.
Like other berries, strawberries also have a high antioxidant capacity, which may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. They contain anthocyanins that can help boost heart health. Moreover, animal and test tube studies have discovered that strawberries may help in preventing cancer and tumor formation.
How to eat strawberries? You can eat them raw, add them to yogurt or breakfast cereals, make them into jam, or blend them into a smoothie.
Watermelon is high in vitamin A and vitamin C. It is also rich in antioxidants such as lycopene, carotenoids and cucurbitacin E. Lycopene can reduce the risk of cancer of the digestive system. Cucurbitacin E, meanwhile, may inhibit tumor growth.
Eating lycopene-rich foods promotes heart health by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol. Watermelon is made up of 92% water; eating it can help you feel more full.
If you’re wondering why pomegranate made it to our list of healthiest fruits, read this. Aside from being nutrient dense, pomegranates also contain plant compounds that can reduce inflammation and help prevent diseases such as cancer.
Furthermore, the antioxidant levels in pomegranate are extremely high (up to three times higher than that of green tea and red wine).
Regularly including fruits into your diet can reduce your risk of developing certain conditions such as heart disease, inflammation, and cancer. Just remember that it’s best to eat fruits while they are still fresh. Now that you know the top 10 healthiest fruits out there, it’s time to create a shopping list and make that trip to the nearest supermarket.
Nobody wants to get sick. It can be disruptive, costly, and may even be life-threatening at times. Thankfully, we can turn to Mother Nature for help. Eating certain types of foods may help keep your body’s immune system strong. If you are looking for ways to prevent colds and other infections, plan your meals to include these 15 foods that boost the immune system.
Foods That Boost the Immune System
1. Citrus Fruits
Most people turn to vitamin C when they catch a cold. Besides boosting the immune system, it is believed that vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, which are a key component in fighting infections.
Almost all citrus fruits contain vitamin C. Popular citrus fruits include oranges, lemons, limes, and tangerines. Because the body doesn’t produce or store it, an individual needs daily vitamin C for optimum health. The recommended daily amount for adults is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women.
Ginger is another popular immune boosting food. It may help decrease inflammation, reduce a sore throat, and ease other inflammatory illnesses. It may help with nausea as well.
Ginger may also reduce chronic pain and may even possess cholesterol-lowering properties. It also packs some heat through gingerol, a relative of capsaicin.
Found in almost every international cuisine, garlic adds zing to food and is a must have for your health. In fact, early civilizations recognized its value in fighting different types of infections.
Garlic may slow down hardening of the arteries, and there’s some evidence that it may help lower blood pressure. The immune-boosting properties of garlic seem to come from a high concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
Broccoli contains lots of vitamins and minerals. One of the healthiest vegetables around, broccoli is packed with vitamins A, C and E, fiber, and antioxidants. Top tip: to get maximum nutrition from this vegetable, cook it as little as possible. Research has shown that steaming is the best way to cook and get more nutrients from broccoli.
5. Red Bell Peppers
Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain almost three times as much vitamin C as an orange. They are also an excellent source of beta carotene. Aside from boosting the immune system, vitamin C can help you maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene, meanwhile, is converted into vitamin A by the body and helps keep eyes and skin healthy.
Look for yogurts with the phrase “live and active cultures” printed on the label (such as Greek yogurt). These cultures may help stimulate the immune system to fight diseases. Try to buy plain yogurt rather than those that are flavored or loaded with sugar. If you want to sweeten plain yogurt a little bit, use a drizzle of honey or healthy fruits instead.
Yogurt can also be an excellent source of vitamin D, so try to choose brands fortified with this vitamin. It is believed that vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and boost the body’s natural defenses against diseases.
When it comes to preventing/fighting off colds, vitamin E doesn’t get as much attention as vitamin C. But vitamin E is also important to achieving a healthy immune system.
It is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it requires the presence of fat in order to be absorbed properly. Nuts such as almonds are rich in vitamin E and contain healthy fats. Adults need approximately 15 mg of vitamin E every day. A half-cup serving of almonds (about 46 whole, shelled almonds) provides 100% of the recommended daily amount.
Spinach is in this list of foods that boost the immune system not just because it is rich in vitamin C — it is also rich in antioxidants and beta carotene, both of which may increase the infection-fighting ability of the immune system. Like broccoli, spinach is healthiest when cooked as little as possible.
9. Green Tea
Green and black teas are packed with flavonoids (a type of antioxidant). In particular, green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). In studies, EGCG showed the ability to enhance immune function. The fermentation process that black tea goes through destroys most of the EGCG. On the other hand, green tea is steamed and not fermented, so most of the EGCG is preserved.
Additionally, green tea is a good source of L-theanine, an amino acid that may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in the body’s T cells.
You may know turmeric as an ingredient in many curries. This bright yellow spice has been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Research shows that curcumin (which gives turmeric its color) can help reduce exercise-induced muscle damage. It also looks promising as an immune booster and an antiviral. However, more research is needed regarding this matter.
Papaya is a fruit packed with vitamin C. You can get the recommended daily amount of vitamin C in a single medium-sized fruit. Papaya also has a digestive enzyme known as papain that has anti-inflammatory effects. This fruit also has decent amounts of folate, magnesium, and potassium, all of which are beneficial to overall health.
Like papaya, kiwi contains a lot of essential nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. Vitamin C boosts your white blood cells to fight infection. Kiwi’s other nutrients, meanwhile, help keep the rest of your body functioning properly.
13. Button Mushrooms
Button mushrooms contain the mineral selenium and the B vitamins niacin and riboflavin. If you are low on selenium, you are more likely to get a more severe reaction to the flu. Meanwhile, both niacin and riboflavin play a role in achieving a healthy immune system.
It is not only refreshing. When it is ripe, watermelon also has plenty of an antioxidant known as glutathione. Glutathione strengthens the immune system so it can better fight infection. To get the most glutathione in watermelon, eat the red and pulpy flesh near the rind.
15. Sweet Potato
Like carrots, sweet potatoes contain beta carotene. The body converts beta carotene into vitamin A, which mops up harmful free radicals. This helps boost the immune system and may even slow down the aging process.
When it comes to foods that boost the immune system, pay attention to serving sizes so that you don’t get too much of a single nutrient and too little of others. Eating right is essential for good health, and consuming the foods on this list may help protect you from colds, infections, and other illnesses.
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From the foods we eat, we derive carbohydrates, proteins, and fats our bodies need for fuel and other essential functions. We also get vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. You may be familiar with different types of food, but did you know that there are specific foods that can make you happy? If you need a mood booster, read this article to know what they are.
Foods That Can Make You Happy
1. Chocolate – Cocoa, which chocolates are made of, contain flavonoids – plant-based antioxidants that have been shown to improve mood. A 2016 study conducted on 80,000 women in midlife and older with a history of depression reported that eating foods with flavonoids is associated with a lower risk of experiencing it. Also, chocolate is rich in magnesium, a mineral that helps calm muscles and reduce anxiety. FYI: dark chocolate is the healthiest type of chocolate.
2. Eggs – If you want your mood to be sunny, eating eggs every now and then can help. The yolk is the tastiest part of an egg and is rich in L-tryptophan that helps to increase happy hormones.
3. Oranges – Aside from vitamin C, oranges also contain vitamin B and flavonoids, both of which can help keep cells healthy, reducing tiredness levels and increasing energy and happiness levels.
4. Bananas – Rich in potassium, bananas provide an energy boost and can make you feel full for longer. This yellow fruit also helps battle depression, thanks to its high levels of tryptophan that is converted to serotonin to produce a happy mood.
5. Avocado – You can add avocado to salads, breakfasts, and more. It is a high-fat food that will leave you feeling full. It also contains high amounts of essential nutrients such as vitamins C, E and K.
6. Yogurt – The perfect addition to granola and fruit, eating yogurt is a healthy start to your day. In particular, Greek yogurt contains vitamin B12, is rich in potassium, and low in sodium – ideal for increasing energy levels and preventing that slumping feeling.
7. Walnuts – Like other nuts, walnuts contain compounds that protect the brain such as melatonin, Omega-3 fats, and vitamin E. Not only do they support brain health, they can also reduce stress, leading to a longer, happier life.
8. Asparagus – Did you know that this crunchy vegetable is among the top 20 foods when it comes to vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content? Besides giving you the nutrients that you need, it also helps fight off excess homocysteine which can interfere with serotonin production.
9. Tofu – Often placed in the vegetarian section of the menu, tofu can be used as a meat substitute. Regardless of whether you eat meats or are a vegetarian or vegan, the high levels of protein and low fat and cholesterol content of tofu can help lift your mood.
10. Mushrooms – Mushrooms are often underrated as a superfood, but in reality, they contain loads of nutrients, some of which can help regulate your mood. They are rich in a mineral called selenium. Research has found out that a deficiency of selenium can lead to a higher risk of anxiety, tiredness, and depression.
Science has discovered the reason behind foods that can make you happy. Some foods are made of compounds that can have an effect on your mood. Likewise, not eating certain foods can have an opposite effect, putting you at a higher risk for depression. So if you want to be happier, consider incorporating the foods listed in this article to get that much-needed mood boost.
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