A few basic rules apply for choosing health promoting fruit and vegetables in your diet -
- Aim to eat as many different colours as you can in your diet – red, blue, green, orange, as the colours generally indicate different vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
- Try and keep things fresh, lightly cooked, and unpeeled if possible.
Below we have compiled a list of the fruits and vegetables that will keep you healthy and help your body to fight the risks of many illnesses and diseases.
(1) Apples – with high levels of soluble fibre and flavonoids, an apple a day really does keep the doctor away. Apples are said to lower cholesterol and reduce the risks of lung cancer and heart disease.
(2) Asparagus – high in vitamin k and folate (also known as folic acid, which is thought to help prevent birth defects for those who are pregnant or trying to conceive). Asparagus is an excellent source of potassium and is also a natural diuretic (historically asparagus has been used to treat problems involving swelling such as arthritis and rheumatism).
(3) Avocados – Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids including oleic acid, avocados are thought to help protect against breast cancer and lower cholesterol. Avocados have significant quantities of vitamin E which helps to keep eyesight sharp and to improve the overall healthy of hair and skin.
(4) Blueberries – Packed with antioxidant phytonutrients, blueberries neutralize damage to the cells and tissues that can lead to cataracts, varicose veins, heart disease and cancer. It is thought that blueberries may also help with short-term memory loss.
(5) Broccoli – Similarly to all cruciferous vegetables (see leafy green vegetable below) broccoli is packed with anti-oxidants, vitamin A and C, nutrients, calcium, potassium and fibre. Thus broccoli is good for the immune system and is thought help defend against the risk of cancers.
(6) Carrots – carrots are the richest vegetable source of beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A with anti-oxidants). Carrots are thought to promote lung health, reduce the risk of heart disease and, of course, carrots are though to help improve vision, particularly at night.
(7) Kiwifruit – A great source of vitamin C, potassium and fibre kiwifruit can help protect against conditions such as asthma, diabetic heart disease and colon cancer.
(8) Leafy greens – such as spinach, kale, mustard greens are packed with antioxidants, fibre and iron. Providing an excellent source of vitamin A, C and K as well as calcium, leafy greens are considered a cancer-fighter and helpful in fighting heart disease.
(9) Nuts – Nuts are a rich source of unsaturated fats and are packed with vitamins B2 and E (said to fight the free radicals that cause heart disease), magnesium and zinc.
(10) Rockmelon - Only a quarter of a rockmelon provides almost all the vitamin A needed for one day. Once digested the beta-carotene in a rockmelon converts to vitamin A, thus providing both nutrients at once. Rockmelon is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps our immune system. A good source of vitamin B6, dietary fibre, folate, niacin, and potassium, rockmelon is quite the all-rounder.
(11) Strawberries - Nutrient rich and loaded with fibre and vitamin C. Strawberries, like other berries, are a rich source of phenals, a potent antioxidant, these phenals are believes to be heart-protective, anti-cancer, and an anti-inflammatory.
(12) Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, C, and manganese, they also contain copper, dietary fibre, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. Those who are smokers or prone to second-hand smoke may benefit greatly from this root vegetable as it is believed to help protect against emphysema.
(13) Tomatoes – Tomatoes are packed with vitamins A, C and K. They are also a source of lycopene, a carotenoid that is believed to have rich antioxidant and anti-cancer properties; it is also believed to help fight heart disease.