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The top 10 healthiest fruits and vegetables to add to your diet

Fruits and vegetables are typically low in calories and high in nutrients, which means they’re a great source of food to fuel your body.

We talked to dietitians to figure out https://ninetenrapidcare.com/ what makes fruits and vegetables so healthy and which 10 fruits and vegetables you should start incorporating into your diet.

What makes fruits and vegetables healthy?

Fruits and vegetables are healthy because they are packed with essential nutrients your body needs to function normally. Here are the types of nutrients most fruits and vegetables offer:

Vitamins are a collection of organic molecules that are essential nutrients, meaning our bodies cannot make enough of them on their own and you have to get them from your diet, says Gina Keatley, CDN, a certified dietitian-nutritionist based in New York City.

Phytochemicals are chemical compounds found in plants that give fruits and vegetables their color, taste, and smell. Phytochemicals support immune function and have antioxidant properties, which means they prevent cell damage.

“[Phytochemicals are] not necessarily essential for our bodies to function like vitamins and minerals are, but they do provide benefits to our health,” says Colleen Christenson, a registered dietitian-nutritionist with a virtual private practice.

1. Blueberries

Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants protect cells from oxidative stress — a process in which too many free radicals accumulate in the body and damage cells. Free radicals form through normal bodily processes like metabolizing food or from outside sources like pollution or sunlight

A 2012 study compared blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries and found that blueberries had the highest antioxidant capacity.

2. Bananas

Bananas are good sources of fiber and potassium. Fiber helps relieve constipation and can help manage weight. Potassium is a mineral required for muscles — like your heart — to contract.

“One medium-sized banana contains about 420mg of potassium, which is quite a bit more than other fruits such as blueberries which have closer to 60mg per ½ cup,” says Christensen.

3. Avocados

Avocados are packed with healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, which improve heart health.

It’s important to consume healthy fats because, “some vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E and K, are fat-soluble meaning that our bodies need fats in order to absorb and utilize them,” says Christensen.

4. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are high in a phytochemical called lycopene, which has strong antioxidant properties, possibly protecting against cancer and disease risk.

Most vegetables lose nutrients when cooked. However, cooking tomatoes actually boosts the lycopene concentration in the fruit.

5. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits, like lemons and grapefruits, contain high amounts of vitamin C, flavonoids, and fiber.

They are especially rich in vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties and is known for keeping your immune system functioning.

6. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotenes, a form of vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial for eye health as it prevents dry eyes and protects night vision.

Sweet potatoes also contain vitamins B5 and B6. Vitamin B5 breaks down fats while vitamin B6 helps with metabolism, brain development during pregnancy and infancy, and immune system function.

7. Kale

Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables. It contains vitamins K, A, and C, all of which benefit your overall health including your heart, blood, eyes, immune system, and skin. It also has minerals like calcium, potassium, copper, and manganese.

8. Spinach

Spinach is a good source of potassium and magnesium, which are important minerals for electrolyte balance and regulating blood pressure. It is also rich in vitamins A, K, and folate — a B vitamin that promotes normal cell growth and division.

9. Carrots

Carrots are high vitamin A, which is why they are known to strengthen your eyes. They are also a great source of fiber and antioxidants.

10. Garlic

“Aside from making your food a little more flavorful with limited

addition of calories, [garlic is] loaded with phytonutrients,” says Keatley.

One of the phytonutrients found in garlic, called allicin, has antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

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