5 Nutrient-Dense Fruits To Include In Your Diet

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Regular consumption of nutrient-dense foods is essential for weight control and overall good health. Nutrient-dense foods are those that are rich in vital vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytonutrients; however, these foods are low in calories, sodium, cholesterol, sugar, and saturated fat. When it comes to nutrient-dense fruits, apples and bananas are the most commonly touted, but the following five are also at the top of the list.

1. Tomato

The tomato fruit is one of the best you can eat for optimal health. Besides being a rich source of vitamin C and potassium, the reddest tomatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene and lycopene, which are powerful phytonutrients that reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain forms of cancer. Lycopene has also been shown to increase sperm count in men. Tomatoes are also a good source of dietary fiber and extremely low in calories (about 20 calories per medium tomato), making them a top choice food for any weight loss program.

Tomato

In addition, they are low in sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol free. You can reap many benefits of tomatoes by consuming them in whole or juiced form. Tomatoes are great for cooking and can easily be added to omelets, soups, stews, and chili. In juiced form, tomatoes pair well with about everything from carrots to spinach. They are also great as a salad topper or stand-alone snack.

2. Strawberries

Like most berries, strawberries are nutrient-dense and just plain old good for you. They are very high in dietary fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, and manganese. Strawberries are also a powerful source of phytonutrients called flavonoids, which protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. You can reap the full benefits of strawberries by consuming them in whole or freshly juiced form. Like most berries, strawberries are nutrient-dense and just plain old good for you. They are very high in dietary fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, and manganese.

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StrawberriesStrawberries are also a powerful source of phytonutrients called flavonoids, which protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. You can reap the full benefits of strawberries by consuming them in whole or freshly juiced form. They are relatively low in calories (about 45 for 8 medium-sized strawberries) but contain a high amount of sugar in the form of fructose (fruit sugar) so definitely limit your intake to no more than one serving per day.

3. Blood Orange

Blood orange, it is one of the most nutrient-dense fruits around. Besides being a good source of potassium, folic acid, thiamin, and dietary fiber, this fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and flavonoids (phytonutrient compounds), which together increase immunity and overall good health. Because of its deep red pigment, the blood orange is a powerful source of carotenoids, which protect against some diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. This fruit is extremely low in calories (about 70 calories for 1 medium-sized fruit) sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol free. You can reap the benefits of the blood orange by consuming it in whole or juiced form.

Blood Orange

4. Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe contains a great deal of nutrients. It is high in carotenoids (vitamin A), vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber. Cantaloupe is also an excellent source of adenosine, which has blood-thinning benefits. Because of its effects, adenosine is commonly given to individuals with heart disease in order to reduce blood clot formation and relieve angina (chest pain). Cantaloupe is also extremely low in calories (about 45 calories for 1/4 of a medium-sized melon), sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol free. You can reap the health benefits of cantaloupe by consuming it in whole or juiced form. When juicing cantaloupe you can include the skin which makes it that much more nutritious.

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5. Avocado

Avocados

Avocado, it is one of the most nutritious fruits in many countries. Besides being a great source of dietary fiber, protein, potassium, and other essential minerals and vitamins, avocado is low in sodium and cholesterol free. In addition, due to its extremely high concentration of monounsaturated fat (about 75 percent), avocado greatly boosts HDL (“good”) cholesterol, which provides protection against heart disease and stroke. It is most commonly consumed in guacamole, but can also be used in a variety of food preparations from salads to pastas. Avocado also makes a delicious stand-alone snack. Although the type of fat in avocado is considered “healthy fat”, moderation is key as just 1/2 of this fruit contains about 145 calories.

Fruits are among nature’s most nutrient-dense foods to many people. When it comes to essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, these five are among the best. For optimal health, be sure to consume 2-4 servings of a variety of fruits every day.

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