Now that spring has sprung, you’re likely to see an influx of seasonal produce at your local farmer’s market and grocery store. In-season fruits (and vegetables) are just that much better, don’t you agree? Yet, if you’re like many folks, you may fear the fruit. After all, fruit is high in carbs and loaded with sugar, right?
Not so fast! Unlike frankenfoods laced with added refined sugar, there’s much more to the fruit story than sugar. These colorful, tasty treats are vessels for an abundance of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytonutrients. What’s more, because many fruits are high in water and fiber while being low in calories, they have a low energy-density, which is mission-critical for weight loss and maintenance. And because they’re such nutrient powerhouses, regular fruit consumption is associated with reduced risk of most non-communicable diseases.
Here are some of the best fruits to eat and enjoy!
The 8 Best Fruits to Eat
1) Berries. Packed in flavor and nutrients yet low in calories, berries are a top choice. They also tend to be more filling and satisfying (i.e., satiating), and studies have shown regular consumption helps reduce caloric intake and support healthy cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation. 1
With a mere 42 calories per half cup, blueberries provide 12% of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake) for vitamin C and manganese and 18% of vitamin K while also being high in fiber. Blueberries are most well-known for being a rich source of antioxidants and for supporting immune system health, 2 brain health, and memory. 3
Another popular berry, strawberries provide just 50 calories for a full cup. That same serving of ruby red berries also packs 3 grams of fiber and 150% of the RDI for vitamin C. 4
If raspberries are one of your favorites, here’s some more good news: they are the most concentrated source of fiber among fruits with 7 grams in 1 cup.
If you’re looking for low-carb options, berries are some of the best fruits to eat.
2) Stone Fruits. Apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, and plums are called “stone” fruits because they have a pit (i.e., a “stone”) surrounded by a fleshy exterior. What they lack in calories, they more than make up for in sweetness and nutrients. A serving of each provides between 60 to 90 calories yet is a satiating snack that can keep you satisfied for hours.
3) Citrus Fruits. From oranges to grapefruits, these fruits are low in calories yet are a good source of fiber and vitamin C. Once again, these are low-energy-dense fruits, and the water, fiber, and sheer volume of these fruits helps fill you up.
Grapefruit, in particular, has a well-earned reputation for helping folks lose weight, largely credited to a compound known as naringin. With just 39 calories and 65% of the RDI for vitamin C in half of a grapefruit, research has found this tart fruit can help decrease weight, body fat percentage, and waist circumference (as well as blood pressure and cholesterol). 5, 6
4) Bananas. You may be surprised to see bananas on this list, especially if you’re watching your carbs. And sure, bananas are a bit more energy dense than other fruits on the list. But they also are a serious source of nutrients including potassium, magnesium, manganese, fiber, antioxidants, and a powerful compound called resistant starch. Bananas have so much to offer you could write a whole article on them. In fact, we did. Here’s Coach Tim’s full answer to the question “Are Bananas Good for You?”
5) Apples. Like most fruits, apples are low in calories (95 calories in a medium apple) and high in fiber (5 grams), and what’s more, they’re a super-convenient, healthy snack. No wonder they’re one of the most popular fruits! Because they’re so filling, they help manage hunger, appetite, and cravings, and that means you’re likely to eat less throughout the rest of the day. Over time, that means an “apple a day” may also keep extra flab away (i.e., support weight loss). 7, 8 They’re also a good source of vitamins C and K as well as potassium.
Apples are also one of the best sources of pectin, which is a prebiotic fiber that helps build up the good bacteria in the gut for digestive and metabolic health9. This makes it one of the best fruits to eat.
6) Watermelon. Because they’re so high in water (90%), you can enjoy a lot of watermelon (2 full cups) while not taking in many calories—just 80. Many people mistakenly think watermelon is just water and not much else, but this delicious, hydrating fruit is also nutrient dense, featuring vitamins A, B6, C, and lycopene, among others.
7) Pineapple. This tropical fruit is no slouch when it comes to nutrition. A one-cup serving provides 131% of the RDI for vitamin C and 75% for manganese. Pineapple is perhaps best known for containing bromelain, an enzyme that helps support healthy inflammation and proper, timely digestion. 11
8) Pomegranates. Loaded with antioxidants (more than green tea or red wine), pomegranates also provide 3 ½ grams of fiber, and they are a rich source of folate, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Because they provide an array of health-boosting compounds—such as, punicalagins and punicic acid—they may also powerfully support a range of health benefits, including healthy levels of inflammatory markers. 12
Best Fruits to Eat: A Recap
Make no mistake, fruit is a vital part of a healthy diet, and most of us don’t eat nearly enough. In fact, less than 1 in 10 Americans meets the minimum recommendation for fruit. 13 And as long as you’re eating whole fruit (rather than slurping down sugar-sweetened beverages, also known as juices), it’s really difficult—and rare—to eat too much.
While some fruits are healthier than others, they all provide a wide range of nutrients, including vital vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients, and water (which is often overlooked in foods). So, when you’re contemplating your next snack, how about grabbing a piece of nature’s dessert and indulging your sweet tooth? While the list above features some of the best fruits to eat, you aren’t limited to just these. Mangos, papayas, pears, kiwi, melons, and many others are worthy choices, so grab your favorite fruit and enjoy!