If there was a dollar for every time someone told a child to eat their vegetables in order to grow big and strong, we could probably cure world hunger — unless everyone wised up and fed their broccoli to the dog before the impromptu health lecture at the dinner table began.

It would seem those pesky adults were onto something with the correlation between what we eat and how we feel, but explain that to a 4-year-old now.

The nutrients we gain from fruits and vegetables are key in helping to prevent various diseases which is why they are imperative to a healthy diet. Half of all meals should be composed of varying fruits and vegetables. Each fruit and vegetable carry different benefits so customizing dinner is as simple as finding what fits personal needs.

Apples

An apple a day will keep the doctor away thanks to their plentitude of phytochemicals linked to a decreased risk of diabetes, asthma, cancer and heart disease. The increase in serum cholesterol and the fight against the spread of cancer cells are a result of the antioxidant properties within the apple.

Apricots

These anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-filled fruits carry properties that are great for boosting the immune system. Studies have shown that apricots are efficient in the management of inflammatory bowel disorders. They have a protective response on kidney cells that have retained damage from methotrexate, a chemotherapeutic drug.

Avocados

Aside from this fruit being high in healthy fats, the avocado also has cardiac and diabetic protective properties. If hypertension is a health struggle, combat it with avocado extract which slows the heart rate and relaxes the blood vessels. As for diabetes, the fruit can improve glucose uptake by both the liver and muscles, decreasing the risk for metabolic problems that can damage nerves and blood vessels.

Bananas

Feeling like a crampy-camper? The potassium in bananas is great for relieving cramps. Lacking the electrolyte can cause weakness and cardiac problems. Bananas also consist of high levels of vitamins and antioxidants. These antioxidants are important for clearing the bloodstream of the cell and tissue-damaging free radicals.

Cantaloupes

This tasty melon has been known to reduce hyperlipidemia more so than Atorvastatin, the anti-hyperlipidemic drug prescribed to diabetics. The fruit’s high levels of beta-carotene have been proven to improve eyesight.

Dates

Dates are helpful in the treatment of liver damage as they have the ability to protect the liver from chemical-induced damage often caused by drugs and medications that have been filtered from the blood. They also contain antioxidant properties and an ability to prevent plaque deposition in blood vessels.

Kale

One serving of this fibrous, leafy vegetable contains a day’s worth of vitamin C, two times the daily intakes of vitamin A and a near seven times the daily dose of vitamin K which makes it great for those suffering from micronutrient and calorie malnutrition.

Lemons

The lemon is an abundant source of immune-boosting vitamin C. A 2014 study shown that lemon has anticoagulant abilities that can prevent thrombosis and promote blood flow.

Mangos

Although this tropical favorite is commonly used in shakes and desserts, they yield the best health benefits when consumed raw. This famously sweet fruit has high levels of vitamin C and antioxidant properties while also being anti-obesogenic, anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and anti-diabetic.

Oranges

This tangy fruit is notorious for being an immune booster. While the orange can protect us from chronic inflammatory diseases, it also contains antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Pineapples

This tropical fruit has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Aside from being delicious, the pineapple has bountiful amounts of nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and iron. It has been found that the extract of a pineapple leaf can fight microbial infections and promote tissue repair thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory properties.

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