With the colorful A to Z of fruits out there—from apples to Zinfandel grapes—it’s probably not hard to name one of nature’s candies that’s your personal fave. Not only are fruits tasty, but they’re also chock full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them the healthiest sweet treat around.
Experts recommend eating 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruits per day. And while most of us would probably say we enjoy this food group, we don’t necessarily hit that target. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one in 10 Americans gets enough daily fruits or veggies. (Here are some of the unfortunate consequences of skipping your daily allotment.)
Need a little motivation to up your intake? Check out these six incredible effects of eating fruit every day.
You’ve probably heard the advice to “eat the rainbow.” This often-touted nutrition mantra isn’t just helpful for taking gorgeous Instagram photos. The nutrient compounds that give fruits their colors are typically also antioxidants—the free radical-fighting substances that reduce inflammation.
Almost all fruits contain antioxidants, but some are true powerhouses. “
Berries are high in antioxidants, which aid in reducing inflammation, so they would be my top recommendation,” says Carrie Gabriel, MS, RDN. “Citrus fruits like oranges are also beneficial.”
When you dial down systemic inflammation by eating fruit every day, you’ll reap other amazing benefits in the process—including reducing your risk of some chronic diseases.
“Fruit is filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that work together in the body to boost your immune system,” says Dani Lebovitz, MS, RDN, author of A to Z With Fruits and Veggies. “Eating fruit every day provides your body with the protective effects of these nutrients, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce blood pressure, and even prevent some types of cancer.”
These days, there’s plenty of buzz around maintaining a healthy gut. (Don’t miss our Best Eating Habits For Your Gut Health!) Having a thriving gut microbiome has been associated with everything from reduced risk of type 2 diabetes to better mental health. Fruit could play an important role in keeping your GI tract happy and healthy.
“Fruit is a great source of dietary fiber, which helps us maintain a healthy gut and prevents digestive problems like constipation,” says Gabriel. “The fiber in fruit also helps us feel fuller longer, makes digestion more efficient, and helps contribute to good bacteria in our intestines, which is essential for proper digestion.”
Some people may feel like too much fruit upsets their stomach, rather than soothes it. For these folks, Gabriel recommends a simple trick.
“Cooking fruit can break down the fiber and make it easier to digest,” she says.
The secret to glowing skin may lie not in your medicine cabinet, but in your fruit basket! Snagging fruit every day is a simple way to boost skin health. (And we’re talking about eating it, not applying an apricot scrub.)
“Fruit is filled with powerful antioxidants which can help delay damage to skin cells by reducing inflammation and offering protection against free radicals,” explains Lebovitz. “Free radicals may accelerate the appearance of aging skin by breaking down collagen in the body, leading to wrinkles and uneven, dull skin tone.”
To combat these issues, Lebovitz recommends choosing fruits high in vitamin C, such as guava, kiwi fruit, strawberries, and oranges. Or check out our list of 33 Best Foods For Glowing Skin.
Drinking plenty of water is a solid part of a healthy lifestyle, but not all your fluids have to come from beverages. Some can come from foods. Fruits are a total treasure trove for hydration!
“Many fruits contain large amounts of water that can aid in hydration,” says Gabriel.”Watermelon is one of the most hydrating fruits, with a 1-cup serving containing about a 1/2 cup of water, in addition to fiber, vitamins , and minerals. Strawberries and cantaloupe don’t fall far behind in water content, either.”
So what’s the big deal about hydration? The benefits of getting enough daily fluid are endless, says Gabriel.
“Not only does it aid in digestion, [but it also] helps cushion the joints, carries nutrients to cells and helps normalize our blood pressure and heartbeat.”
If you’re on a weight loss diet (especially the low-carb variety), you may have shied away from fruits for fear that they pack too many sugars and carbs. But fruit isn’t necessarily an enemy to your waistline. In fact, compelling research shows the opposite. One study on over 26,000 adults found that the more fruits (and veggies) people ate, the less body fat they had. And a systematic review from 2019 concluded that fruit could have a place in the prevention and management of obesity and excess body fat.
“Eating fruit every day can support weight loss because most are relatively low in calories and high in fiber, which means they will help you feel full longer,” says Lebovitz. “Try high-fiber, low-sugar fruits like passion fruit, raspberries, blackberries, and pomegranate.”