With the colorful A to Z of fruits out there—from apples to Zinfandel grapes—it’s probably not hard to name one of nature’s candies that’s your personal fave. Not only are fruits tasty, but they’re also chock full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them the healthiest sweet treat around.
Experts recommend eating 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruits per day. And while most of us would probably say we enjoy this food group, we don’t necessarily hit that target. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one in 10 Americans gets enough daily fruits or veggies. (Here are some of the unfortunate consequences of skipping your daily allotment.)
1.Fruit reduces inflammation.
You’ve probably heard the advice to “eat the rainbow.” This often-touted nutrition mantra isn’t just helpful for taking gorgeous Instagram photos. The nutrient compounds that give fruits their colors are typically also antioxidants—the free radical-fighting substances that reduce inflammation.
Almost all fruits contain antioxidants, but some are true powerhouses. “Berries are high in antioxidants, which aid in reducing inflammation, so they would be my top recommendation,” says Carrie Gabriel, MS, RDN. “Citrus fruits like oranges are also beneficial.”
2.Fruit wards off chronic disease.
When you dial down systemic inflammation by eating fruit every day, you’ll reap other amazing benefits in the process—including reducing your risk of some chronic diseases.
“Fruit is filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that work together in the body to boost your immune system,” says Dani Lebovitz, MS, RDN, author of A to Z With Fruits and Veggies. “Eating fruit every day provides your body with the protective effects of these nutrients, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce blood pressure, and even prevent some types of cancer.”
3. Fruit boosts skin health.
The secret to glowing skin may lie not in your medicine cabinet, but in your fruit basket! Snagging fruit every day is a simple way to boost skin health. (And we’re talking about eating it, not applying an apricot scrub.)
“Fruit is filled with powerful antioxidants which can help delay damage to skin cells by reducing inflammation and offering protection against free radicals,” explains Lebovitz. “Free radicals may accelerate the appearance of aging skin by breaking down collagen in the body, leading to wrinkles and uneven, dull skin tone.”
To combat these issues, Lebovitz recommends choosing fruits high in vitamin C, such as guava, kiwi fruit, strawberries, and oranges. Or check out our list of 33 Best Foods For Glowing Skin.