It’s often said you are what you eat. This common expression may not be so far off the mark when you consider the many potential health benefits of many of the “popular” fruits and veggies you’re likely to snack on or use in some of your favorite dishes. Take a moment to consider the health benefits of some of the most common fruits and veggies and the assortment of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they contain.
Rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, and beneficial phytonutrients that stimulate antioxidant activity (flavanoids), apples may do more than just keep the doctor away. You can approximately 15 percent of your daily vitamin C needs from apples, along with nutrients that include most of the B vitamins, potassium, and calcium. There’s research suggesting apples may help prevent dementia and benefit people with diabetes.
Naturally fat free, bananas are rich in potassium, which improves muscle strength and helps keep anxiety and stress and high blood pressure in check. Bananas may also offer protection against leukemia in children.
Other than helping with vision, carrots may also reduce lung cancer risk and keep your skin healthy. You’ll also get all the vitamin A your body needs (and then some) from carrots, along with a variety of antioxidant agents that help reduce cell damage from free radicals (unstable molecules).
Ease joint pain, lower your blood pressure, and reduce your risk of certain types of cancer by including celery in your diet. This veggie’s high water content can keep you hydrated. Celery is also loaded with vitamins B2, B6, C, and K.
Nearly 200 beneficial phytonutrients are found in oranges, along with an assortment of nutrients that include folate, phosphorous, and manganese. The vitamin C in oranges keeps your immune system working efficiently.
Tomatoes are an excellent natural source of vitamins A and C, folic acid, and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects DNA and may improve skin, prostate, and bone health. Tomatoes also help with the regulation of fats in the bloodstream and may offer added protection for your cardiovascular system.
From B-6 through zinc, most of the nutrients you need to promote tissue healing and improve cell performance are found in watermelons. There’s evidence suggesting watermelons may soothe sore muscles, reduce the risk of asthma attacks, help you hydrate, and improve heart health.
When possible, fruits and vegetables should be consumed in raw form to maximize nutritional benefits. With vegetables, ones that are green and leafy tend to have a greater concentration of nutrients. And brightly colored fruits are the ones more likely to be nutrient-rich. Further boost your intake of the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy by opting for lean proteins and low-fat dairy products to round out your diet.