Bowl of mixed fruit on a white table

This article, ‘The Health Benefits of Fruit’, was originally published in the ‘Healthy Living’ column of enVoyage, The Inflight Magazine of Eva Air.

The Health Benefits of Fruit

If you don’t eat fruit, you are missing out on a low-calorie source of vital nutrients that prevent disease and promote good health.

The American Heart Association recommends eating at least four servings of different fruits each day to help lower your blood pressure and control your weight.

Eating more fruits may also help reduce your cancer risk. Fruit is available in a wide variety of colours, textures and tastes and can be prepared in a variety of ways – you should be able to find something you like among the vast array of fresh, frozen, tinned and dried fruits.

Vitamins in Fruit

Fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is essential for healthy teeth and gums, healing cuts and wounds and warding off infections.

Most fruits contain at least some vitamin C, but particularly good sources include papayas, strawberries, oranges, mango, pineapple and kiwifruit.

Boost your intake of vitamin A, required for good night and colour vision, by eating yellow and orange fruits such as apricots, peaches and pink grapefruit.

Mango, blackberries and peaches contain vitamin E, which helps keep your immune system strong.

Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants that may help slow down the skin’s ageing process.

Minerals in Fruit

Minerals are also vital for your body’s cells to function normally and eating fruit is a great way to get them.

The mineral potassium, found in fruits such as bananas, apricots, honeydew melon, strawberries and papaya, is an electrolyte necessary for controlling blood pressure.

Magnesium plays an important role in energy production and is present in raspberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and strawberries.

Pineapple is an excellent source of manganese, which is needed for healthy bone development, and oranges contain calcium, also a bone-building mineral.

Fibre in Fruit

Fibre is the part of plants that is not digested but is important for keeping your digestive system healthy.

Fibre-rich foods fill you up at meal times, prevent constipation and help lower your cholesterol levels.

A high-fibre diet may help prevent intestinal cancer by speeding the removal of waste and toxins from the body. Get more fibre into your diet by eating high-fibre fresh fruits including raspberries, strawberries, apples, pears and apricots.

Keep in mind that peeled, juiced and canned fruits contain less fibre than fresh fruit – choose whole fruits with the skin intact.

Fun Ways to Eat Fruit

With a little imagination, getting more fruit into your diet can be far from boring.

Sprinkle chopped banana and blueberries over your breakfast cereal, or blend two bananas and one large mango for a delicious, filling breakfast smoothie.

Orange segments, slices of apple and grapes go well in a green salad, and almost any type of chopped fruit liven up a pot of yoghurt.

A fresh fruit platter made from colourful honeydew and cantaloupe melon slices, pineapple and strawberries is a refreshing finish to your evening meal.

Exotic Fruits

Forget your regular apples, pears and bananas for a moment and consider some of the more exotic fruits you may encounter on your travels around the world.

Cultivated in Southeast Asia, the scaly Dragon fruit is aromatic, sweet juicy and packed with nutrients including vitamin C, calcium, potassium and fibre. Dragon fruit is ideal for eating during hot weather and is used in drinks, sorbets, salads and purees.

The lychee is a small, red Chinese fruit with a whitish juicy pulp. Don’t be put off by its warty appearance, this delicious fruit is a good source of vitamin C, B vitamins and minerals and is a great addition to fruit salads.

Guava, grown in the American tropics, Asia and Africa, is among the more popular tropical fruits. With its yellow skin and sweet pink pulp, guava boasts vitamin C and fibre.

Eat guava whole like an apple, or cut a guava fruit in half, remove the seeds and fill with cottage cheese.

Kirby, S. (2013). The Health Benefits of Fruit. enVoyage The Inflight Magazine of Eva Air.

More information: 12 most nutritious fruits.

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