Nature’s dessert, AKA fruit, should be easy enough to eat. Most fruit is sweet, hydrating, and generally delicious, but only 12% of Americans get one and a half to two cups of fruit per day.
Eating fruit helps you get essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. People who eat more fruits have a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. In a 2021 Australian study, people who ate at least two servings of fruit per day were 36% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who ate less than half a serving per day.
But with so many different types of fruit out there, which one should you choose?
First of all, you can’t go wrong with adding more fruit to your diet, but some types stand out among the rest as the stars of nature. Here are seven nutritionists who say you should eat, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss the best smoothie to drink every day, says science.
The strawberry is a healthy and versatile fruit, with a larger portion size than most other fruits. In addition, although it is as sweet as possible, it is an excellent choice for people who have diabetes or who follow a low-carb diet.
“One and a quarter cup serving of strawberries equals 15 grams of carbohydrates and three grams of fiber, making it a good choice of fruit for diabetics,” Toby Smithson, RD Registered Dietitian, Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, Founder of Diabetes EveryDay and author Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies.
Have you ever wondered what gives strawberries their deep red color? “[They’re] A great source of the antioxidant anthocyanin, which has been shown to reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance, all of which are risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes, Smithson says.
“Once you go off, you can’t stop” she should have written about these blue beauties. It’s easy to eat a handful (or several) in one sitting, but thankfully blueberries are as healthy as they are delicious.
Blueberries are full of antioxidants, and eating berries at least twice a week is an important part of the Mind Diet, a diet with neuroprotective effects, explains a registered dietitian. Christina Japoni, RD.
Instead of always snacking on regular blueberries, try wild blueberries. They’re loaded with anti-inflammatory benefits and contain two times more health-enhancing antioxidants than traditional blueberries, he explains Amy Guerin, MS, RDNRegistered vegan holistic nutritionist.
“Eating cranberries regularly has been shown to help improve memory and slow down brain aging,” says Gorin. One small study found that older adults who consumed one cup of fresh blueberries daily for three months significantly improved on tests of mental cognition.
Nothing goes better with a summer picnic than a big piece of watermelon. This summer not only tastes good, but is also packed with health benefits.
“Watermelon is high in lycopene, an antioxidant that studies show can reduce the risk of some cancers and improve heart health,” says watermelon. Rachel Rothman, MS, RD, CLEC. Lycopene helps give watermelons their red color and can be found in other foods such as tomatoes, grapefruit, and papaya.
If you throw watermelon peels in the trash or in the compost bin, you’re missing out on a lot of great nutrients. Watermelon rind is actually edible! “It’s rich in fiber and contains beneficial amino acids, such as citrulline, which some studies have shown to promote heart health,” Rothman says.
Save money and food by saving and using these leftovers.
If fresh fruit is hard to come by or keep, try prunes. Dried plums are perfect to keep in your pantry for a nutritious boost to add to salads, smoothies, or just as a snack.
Gorin explains that eating just five to six prunes provides three grams of fiber and a significant boost to bone health. One small study found that just five prunes a day inhibited BMD in a group of older women with osteoporosis. Researchers credit prunes’ ability to reduce bone breakdown, although they’re not yet sure of the mechanism behind this.
There is nothing more convenient than fruit that comes in its neat little package. While some naysayers in the past have accused bananas of being high in sugar, they are actually the perfect fruit for providing energy on the go. One of my favorite times to eat a banana is before a workout. They’re easily digestible, and one medium-sized banana contains 27 grams of carbs to fuel your running or spinning cycle.
“All products are nutritious and have benefits, but the best products are whatever you can keep in your diet based on your family and economic restrictions, and often bananas fit the bill,” Sharon Boylow, MA, RD, CDN, CDCES.
If you’re on a tight grocery budget, bananas make it easy to eat and serve fruit every day. Buy more than you need when they’re on sale, sometimes for as low as $0.20 each, and pop what you can’t eat in the freezer to add a huge nutrient boost to your bread, cake, and smoothies.
Avocado is not sweet, but it is definitely a fruit you should eat. While most fruits are high in natural sugars, avocados contain healthy fats and fiber as essential nutrients.
One-third of an avocado contains 100 calories, 9 grams of healthy fats, and 4 grams of fiber. With all this fiber, avocado is a great fruit to eat for gut health, explains our registered dietitian Amanda Soseda, MS, RD. If you’re tired of avocado and guacamole toast, try one of these 18 ways to enjoy avocados.
As if a healthy gut wasn’t enough, avocados can help keep your heart healthy, too. “This green fruit also contains healthy fats and potassium, which makes it good for your heart health,” says Sauceda. Studies have found that replacing other fats with avocados can help lower your LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).
When it comes to fiber, don’t compare many fruits to berries. One cup of berries contains eight grams of fiber and only 64 calories. A high-fiber diet can help you manage a healthy weight, keep your bowels moving regularly, and even lower your cholesterol. Add a cup of raspberries to your morning yogurt to get 21% of a man’s daily fiber needs and 32% if you’re a woman.
Fiber isn’t the only thing that makes raspberries a fruit you should eat. “Raspberries are full of antioxidants, anthocyanins, and vitamin C, all of which fight inflammation and promote healthy aging,” says the registered dietitian. Justin Chan MHSc, RD, CDE. No wonder the raspberry has been crowned as a fruit you should eat every day.