Try the super-fruit A-list for better health today
Not all fruits are created equal, and whilst we all have our favourites, there's definitely a fruit A-list out there; those fruits we should all be eating more of. If you're guilty of not meeting your five-a-day quota or just don't get enough fruits in your diet, chowing down on these super-fruits will ensure your body gets the vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients it needs for good health.
Eat them raw, whip up a fruit salad, enjoy them with Greek yoghurt or blend them into a smoothie - it doesn't matter what you do with them, as long as you're adding them to your diet!
Apples are a take-anywhere snack - not as easy to bruise or squish as bananas and they keep for longer too; plus they're super-affordable! A medium apple contains 4g of soluble fibre - or 17% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of fibre. Apples can help to control blood sugar levels and keep your colon healthy. They're also packed with vitamin C and quercetin, which has anti-allergy and antihistamine properties. There's no wonder they say an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Blend yours into your morning smoothie, top porridge with nut butter and some sliced apple or add some crisp apple slices to your salad.
Pomegranates contain powerful antioxidants (in the juice and seeds) which can actually reverse oxidative damage in our bodies. In fact, research shows that pomegranate is a type of 'natural viagra' (1) which can help men achieve and maintain erections. So if your libido is low, try adding some pomegranate juice to your diet or sprinkling the jewelled seeds over cous cous or salads.
We think we may have just found the perfect post-workout snack - grapes! Consuming foods high on the glycaemic index (GI) scale after a workout produces more glycogen than foods lower on the scale. Grapes are loaded with high-glycaemic carbs, so you can replenish depleted glycogens and boost your levels of vitamin A, B6 and C, all in one go! Enjoy a handful of grapes as a post-workout snack, have a glass of grape juice or add a few to your smoothie. They're also delicious in salads with some walnuts and a little blue cheese.
Inflammation in the body is one of the leading causes of discomfort and disease, so how can we fight it? Sports injuries can lead to acute inflammation, which can cause aches and pains. Eating tart cherries (or drinking their juice), which contain anthocyanins 1 and 2, can block inflammation-related enzymes, relieving aches and pains naturally, without a painkiller or hot bath in sight! Have a glass of tart cherry juice after your workout or add a few cherries to a fruit salad.
Did you know that blackberries contain 36% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin K? Vitamin K has been proven to lower risk of prostate cancer, and blackberries are also packed with vitamin C and phytonutrients. The high levels of manganese they contain can boost testosterone levels. Blackberries are great for your eyesight too - they're loaded with lutein, an antioxidant which can prevent macular degeneration. We love baking with blackberries or enjoying them with some sliced banana and Greek yoghurt.
Grapefruit is a great weight-loss fruit which can help to suppress appetite. They're also packed wtih the soluble fibre pectin, which can slow the progression of atherosclerosis. Grapefruit juice can be added to smoothies (great if you're not keen on the bitter taste) or enjoy half a grapefruit with your healthy breakfast.
The citric acid contained in lemons stimulates digestive juices and can break down lipids, reducing your cholesterol and body fat. The energising scent of lemon has also been shown to increase concentration levels whilst reducing anxiety and feelings of fatigue. Lemons are also loaded with vitamin C. Try adding the juice of half a lemon to some water ever morning to support your gall bladder and liver, add a slice to some herbal tea, or make a zesty salad dressing or stir fry sauce.
Suffering from indigestion? Then you need papaya. Papaya contain papain, an enzyme which relieves indigestion and chymopapain, which reduces inflammation. A cup of papaya contain 88mg of vitamin C - that's 144% of your recommended daily allowance - and has just 60 calories. Why not try making a green papaya salad, Thai style, or enjoying sliced papaya with yoghurt or in a fruit salad?
Oranges provide us with almost 100% of our RDA of vitamin C! They're also loaded with potassium. Did you know that the membrane surrounding the wedges contains hesperidin, a compound which could reduce cholesterol? The scent of oranges is also said to be calming, ideal if you're feeling stressed. Enjoy a glass of OJ, add some orange juice to a fruit smoothie or use the juice in salad dressings, sauces and marinades.
Did you know that kiwis contain over two times as much vitamin C as oranges? They can reduce your risk of cataracts and may even have the potential to protect your DNA from damage. Low in calories yet high in nutrients, kiwis can help to reduce blood pressure and your risk of heart disease and stroke. A standard kiwi fruit contains just 42 calories and is loaded with vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium. Vitamin C plays an important role in the production of collagen, for smooth, beautiful skin, and it's even said that kiwis could help you to get a better night's sleep!
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