We've all heard the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Nevertheless, too many people aren't filling the recommended half of their plates with fruits and veggies. If you're one of those guys or gals who focuses on your starchy carbs and proteins at the expense of your leafy greens and juicy fruits, you're seriously missing out on essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. When it comes to getting in your daily fruit quota, here are five superfoods you simply don't want to miss out on:
One medium-sized apple is a satisfying, easy to eat snack that contains four grams of soluble fiber (about 17% of your recommended daily value). The fiber helps to maintain colon health and control blood sugar levels, while the immune-boosting vitamin C found in apples will aid in combatting everything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease.
According to published research, eating high-glycemic carbs after a training session produces increased amounts of glycogen thereby replenishing what you've depleted through your workout. Grapes are a very high-glycemic fruit, making them a perfect post-workout snack. Additionally, grapes are chock full of vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as folate and several important minerals.
Blackberries probably aren't a food you routinely keep on your fridge shelf, but you may want to change that habit! This particular berry variety packs an exceptional phytonutrient punch and contains about 36% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K. Blackberries are also high in manganese, which can help optimize testosterone production. As if that wasn't enough, blackberries - and blueberries, bilberries, and raspberries, for that matter - are rich in lutein, an antioxidant that promotes eye health.
Trying to eat healthy but the cravings are real? Try incorporating some grapefruit! Grapefruits are a great appetite suppressant. According to one famous study, people who ate half a grapefruit before each meal lost (on average) 3.6 pounds in 12 weeks. The one caveat here: Those on prescription medications should probably avoid grapefruit, at least without speaking to their doctors. The compounds tend to interact with liver enzymes in a way that can keep the medication in your system longer than otherwise expected.
Last but not least, papaya is a real sleeper on the fruit list. Just one cup of fresh, ripe papaya contains a whopping 144% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, but only 60 calories. Papain, one of the enzymes in papaya, has been proven to relieve gas from indigestion. Another of the enzymes, chymopapain, can help reduce inflammation (a huge benefit to those of us who go hard in the gym and have the soreness to show for it).