Eating an apple a day may keep the doctor away, but did you know that certain fruits are better at helping you lose weight than others? In fact, eating more fruits and vegetables has been linked to lower body weight and body mass index (BMI) as well as lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and waist circumference in some studies. Plus, these foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that may help protect against chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. So what’s the best way to incorporate more fruits into your diet?
Apples are low in calories and high in fiber, both of which may be beneficial to weight loss. Fiber not only helps you feel full, but it also helps you avoid overeating by keeping your blood sugar levels steady and slowing down digestion. One study found that when people added just one apple per day to their lunch over a 12-week period, they lost more weight than those who didn’t. Other studies have shown similar benefits of apples on weight management. When possible, choose fresh apples over canned or dried—they tend to have fewer calories and less added sugar. When picking apples, try looking for ones that are relatively firm with smooth skin (no bruises or soft spots). Opt for organically grown varieties whenever possible as apples tend to absorb pesticides used on conventionally grown varieties. Wash them well before eating as they tend to come covered in wax – though there is some debate about whether washing them at all is necessary.
These berries are low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. One cup of strawberries has only 46 calories, but it contains a whopping six grams of fiber. Fiber can keep you feeling full and help lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. The vitamin C in strawberries also helps promote healthy skin and connective tissue. Like other fruits, strawberries contain no fat or cholesterol—just 15 percent of your daily vitamin C needs per serving! Vitamin C is one of our most potent antioxidants which means it can protect us from free radicals, says Jessica Crandall, RDN from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. These tiny molecules can cause damage to our cells by stealing electrons from our DNA strands. Free radicals may cause cancer so eating foods rich in vitamin C like strawberries may reduce that risk and support your immune system too.
Fruit is nature’s ready-made snack packed with vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients that support a healthy diet. Pears are also generally low in calories and high in fiber, which may help you lose weight. In fact, eating fruit is linked to lower body weight and a lower risk of diabetes. Some studies have even found that pears specifically can help reduce belly fat and keep people feeling fuller longer. 1 or 2 medium pears contain fewer than 100 calories; pair them with some yogurt or cottage cheese for a full meal. Fruit is nature’s ready-made snack packed with vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients that support a healthy diet.Pears are also generally low in calories and high in fiber, which may help you lose weight. In fact, eating fruit is linked to lower body weight and a lower risk of diabetes.
Blueberries are high in antioxidants, which may support overall health and help prevent disease. Antioxidants also help keep your body’s cells healthy, which may support weight-loss efforts. Blueberries also contain pectin fiber that may contribute to weight loss by helping you feel full longer. Pectin is a natural substance found in fruits and vegetables; it helps slow digestion so food stays in your stomach longer, contributing to a feeling of fullness. A few studies have linked eating blueberries with lower blood sugar levels. Because blueberries are low on the glycemic index—or how fast blood sugar rises after consuming carbohydrates—you won’t experience rapid spikes in blood sugar or hunger from eating them. This can be beneficial if you’re trying to lose weight or control diabetes.
These stone fruits are low in calories and high in fiber. One cup of apricots provides 59 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 15 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein. They’re also a good source of vitamins A and C. Apricots also contain anthocyanins—the same beneficial flavonoids found in blueberries—which may help protect your cells from DNA damage. Bonus: Apricots pack twice as much vitamin C as an orange! Fresh is best when it comes to getting maximum health benefits from these little fruits. Store them at room temperature (70 to 80 degrees F) and eat them within one week after purchasing them. If they become wrinkled or soft, you should avoid eating them because they have been damaged by temperature fluctuations or moisture; discard any bruised fruit immediately and cut away any areas that have been eaten by insects before cutting off moldy parts if necessary.
Raspberries contain fiber, an essential nutrient that helps keep you feeling full longer. A cup of raspberries contains about 30 calories, less than half a gram of fat and 4 grams of fiber. Raspberries are also a good source of vitamin C and other nutrients. If you’re trying to lose weight, berries make a great snack or dessert because they’re both sweet and low in calories. They can be used in smoothies or on top of yogurt with granola. Substitute frozen raspberries for fresh if you’d like a thicker texture. Look for organic berries at your local grocery store; conventionally grown berries have been found to have high levels of pesticides. Pesticides aren’t just harmful to animals—they may also play a role in obesity and cancer risk among humans.
Nutrition-wise, bananas are a great choice—they’re high in fiber and potassium, which help keep your heart healthy and may even help you lose weight. They’re also rich in vitamin C and contain very few calories; one medium banana contains about 100 calories. But if you want to slim down with bananas, watch out for their sugar content: While eating fruit is linked to lower body weight and a lower risk of diabetes, regularly adding sugar (the natural kind found in fruits or added during processing) will prevent you from losing weight. Bananas don’t actually have that much sugar (and certainly not as much as other fruits like watermelon), but they do have plenty of carbohydrates which may be turned into sugars when digested by your body.
According to research from a 2011 study published in Diabetes Care, men who ate half a fresh grapefruit before each meal lost almost four pounds in 12 weeks. Another study published in PLOS One found that people who ate half a fresh grapefruit before meals stayed on track with weight loss better than those who did not. Grapefruits are also high in vitamin C, which may help keep you alert. If you don’t have time to cut up a grapefruit at breakfast, sprinkle some red pepper flakes into your oatmeal instead. Researchers at Penn State University found that participants who added red pepper flakes to their oatmeal consumed nearly 20 percent fewer calories during their meal—which is significant if you’re trying to lose weight.
A study published in Food & Function found that resveratrol, a compound found in grapes, may inhibit enzymes responsible for promoting fat storage. Grapes also contain flavonoids, which are heart-healthy antioxidants and may help lower blood pressure. —serving size: 1 cup raw (149 grams) = 90 calories, 0g total fat (0g sat), 0mg sodium, 23g carbs (1g fiber, 19g sugar), 2g protein ;—how to prep: Grab a handful of grapes and eat them straight off your hand. If you like raisins or dried fruit, snacking on them throughout your day is a good way to satisfy your sweet tooth while also taking in some nutrients.
It’s summertime and that means a bounty of watermelon. While there are lots of ways to eat it, you can also reap its weight-loss benefits. Watermelon is 92 percent water and very low in calories—about 25 per cup—so it makes sense that it’s been linked to faster weight loss. One study found those who ate about half a watermelon 15 minutes before meals lost an average of nearly 3 pounds over 12 weeks.
Not only are avocados full of healthy fats, which help you feel fuller, longer, but they’re also loaded with fiber and vitamins. A 2013 study published in Nutrition Journal found that people who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterwards. Research suggests the feeling of fullness may be connected to higher levels of leptin, a hormone that helps balance blood sugar. Try swapping your usual mayo-based sandwich spread for avocado instead. You may find yourself suddenly not hungry an hour later! Avocado contains approximately 70 calories per 100 grams making it one of nature’s best sources of monounsaturated fat. Studies suggest it can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol by as much as 30% when used as part of a heart-healthy diet.
Not only is kiwifruit a rich source of fiber, it also has a unique combination of nutrients that may help you lose weight. In fact, eating just two kiwifruit can reduce your appetite and help you control your calorie intake during meals. What’s more, kiwifruit is naturally low in calories so even if you don’t feel like you’re eating less food, you might be making progress toward your goal by eating a few slices each day. As always with fruits, try to eat them whole instead of drinking juice made from these nutritional powerhouses as pure fruit juice adds extra calories without filling you up.
This tart vegetable is commonly used in pies and jams, but it also makes a great snack when eaten raw. One cup of chopped rhubarb contains only 33 calories, as well as nearly 2 grams of fiber, which may aid in weight loss by preventing overeating. Rhubarb can also help reduce high blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. It’s a good source of vitamin K as well.
Fruit is nature’s ready-made snack packed with vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients that support a healthy diet. Not only can fresh fruit be a delicious addition to any meal or snack, but it also plays an important role in weight loss. By adding more fruit to your daily routine—and cutting out refined carbs and added sugars—you can help ensure you reach (or maintain) your weight-loss goals.