Let This Banana Save Your Life
Nutritional value (1 medium): 105 calories, 3 g fibre, source of vitamin B6, potassium and folate
Disease-fighting factor: With 422 milligrams of potassium per banana, these sweet delights have more potassium than most fruit and may help lower blood pressure levels.
Did you know? People with rubber latex allergies may also be allergic to bananas since the two come from similar trees and share a common protein.
Fruits are not only delicious but healthful too. Rich in vitamins A and C, plus folate and other essential nutrients, they may help prevent heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent some types of cancer and guard against vision loss. They’re so good for you that Health Canada recommends that most women get seven or eight servings of fruit and vegetables each day.
If it’s the vitamins that promote good health, you may wonder if you can just pop supplements. Nope. Sun-drenched peaches and vine-ripened grapes contain more than just vitamins; they’re a complex combination of fibre, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals – as well as the vitamins – that work in combination to provide protective benefits. You can’t get all that from a pill.
All fruits offer health benefits, but the following 25 stand out as nutrient-dense powerhouses with the most disease-fighting potential. (Note: Only the best sources of each vitamin, mineral and antioxidant are listed in the “nutritional value” section.)
Phytochemicals: Most of the more than 1,000 known phytochemicals have antioxidant properties that help protect our cells against disease-causing damage. Phytochemicals are often identified by their colour (for example, the purple-hued anthocyanins in blackberries and the red lycopene in tomatoes). Each colourful phytochemical provides a different health benefit to the body, so for the best protection against a variety of diseases, choose an array of colourful fruits each day.
Free radicals: Harmful molecules that occur naturally in the body or that come from pesticides, pollution, smoking and radiation. They damage the body’s cells, which can lead to cancer and heart disease.
Antioxidants: Powerful substances that can protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. Some of the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals found in fruit can act as antioxidants.