When it comes to nutrition powerhouses, fruits take the lead. Fruits come in all forms: fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% fruit juice and provide key nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. They are low in fat, sodium, and calories. Together, fruits and vegetables should make up half of your plate. Along with a healthy diet, fruits can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Fruits may also protect against certain cancers.
Many of the nutrients that fruits provide like Vitamin A, C, folate, potassium, fiber, and magnesium are under-consumed in the United States. You might ask, what do these nutrients do for you? And, what fruits can I add to my diet to make sure I am getting these nutrients?
Vitamin A keeps your eyes and skin healthy. Vitamin A helps with night vision and helps protect against infection. Fruits that provide some Vitamin A are apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mango, and watermelon.
Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron and helps heal cuts and wounds. It also keeps teeth and gums healthy. Fruits providing Vitamin C include apricots, blackberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, guava, honeydew, kiwi, lemon, lime, orange, papaya, pineapple, raspberry, strawberry, tangerine, and watermelon.
Folate as part of a healthful diet may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with brain or spinal cord defects. Fruits offering some folate are blackberries, cantaloupe, papaya, and strawberries.
Potassium helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Fruits that provide potassium include apricots (dried), bananas, cantaloupe, cherries, honeydew, kiwi, peaches (dried), orange juice, prunes, and prune juice.
Fiber is important for proper bowel function and lets you feel fuller with less calories. Diets rich in dietary fiber have been shown to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease. Fruits that are high in fiber are apples, blackberries, pears, and raspberries.
Magnesium is needed for bone structure. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to osteoporosis, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, hereditary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Fruits offering some magnesium are apples, bananas, and raisins.
Think about ways you can add fruits to your meals. And, next time you make a grocery list, make sure fruit is on it!!
Serving Size: 1/18 of recipe
Yield: 18 servings
24 ounces yogurt, nonfat strawberry
10 ounces strawberries, frozen - thawed and un-drained
8 ounces un-drained, canned crushed pineapple
Per Recipe: $ 4.40
Per Serving: $ 0.24
Source: Adapted from: Kids a Cookin’
Kansas Family Nutrition Program
Author: Kansas Family Nutrition Program