Apples
Apricots
Bananas
Berries
Blackberries
Blueberries
Cacao
Cantaloupe
Cherries
Although fruit nutrition facts vary with each individual fruit, fruits of similar colors contain
similar nutritional benefits.  While some fruits are considered to be superfoods due to
their large supply of nutrients, all edible fruits provide exceptional nutritional benefits.  
Nutrition research shows that each fruit contains its own set of vitamins, minerals,
antioxidants, and other important nutrients.  To view the fruit nutrition facts for
individual fruits, you may visit the fruit nutrition pages by clicking on the links below.  
Coconuts
Cranberries
Figs
Gooseberries
Grapefruits
Grapes    
Guavas
Honeydew
Kiwi
Lemons
Limes
Mangoes
Melons
Nectarines    
Oranges
Papayas
Passion Fruit
Peaches
Pears
Pineapples
Plums    
Pomegranates
Quince
Raspberries
Strawberries  
Tangerines    
Watermelon
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....Blue/Purple

    *Nutrition Information - Blue and purple fruits are especially good sources of       
    *phytochemicals such as anthocyanins and phenolic compounds.
    *Fruit Sources - Blackberries, Blueberries, Plums, Purple Figs, and Purple Grapes
Fruit Nutrition Facts For Each Color Group
....Green

    *Nutrition Information - Green fruits are especially good sources of potent
    *phytochemicals such as lutein and indoles.
    *Fruit Sources - Avocados, Green Apples, Green Grapes, Green Pears,
    *Honeydew Melon, Kiwifruit, and Limes
....Orange/Yellow

    *Nutrition Information - Orange and yellow fruits are especially good sources of  
    *antioxidants such as vitamin C, carotenoids, and bioflavonoids.
    *Fruit Sources - Apricots, Cantaloupe, Lemons, Mangoes, Nectarines, Oranges,
    *Papayas, Peaches, Pineapple, Tangerines, and Yellow Watermelon
....Red/Pink

    *Nutrition Information - Red fruits are especially good sources of
    *phytochemicals such as lycopene and anthocyanins.  
    *Fruit Sources - Red Apples, Blood Oranges, Cherries, Cranberries, Red Grapes,
    *Red/Pink Grapefruit, Pomegranates, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tomatoes, and
    *Watermelon
General Information About Fruits

There are some basic characteristics of fruits that make them appealing to most
people.  All fruits are healthy when eaten in moderation.  They are great sources of
dietary fiber, and most fruits are low in calories and fat.  Those that have a high fat
content, such as avocados, are actually good sources of healthy fats.  Fruits are great
snacks and they can also be used as an ingredient to sweeten foods.  They contain a
combination of sugars: fructose, glucose, and sucrose.  Fructose is the principal sugar
of many fruits and is considered to be the sweetest.  Sucrose is the main sugar in
several other fruits such as oranges, melons, and peaches.  Water makes up 80% to
95% of fruits.  The water content in fruits keeps their calorie content low and also
provides fruit juice.  Almost all fruits can be eaten raw, juiced for a beverage, used in
frozen desserts, preserved, or dried.  Fresh whole fruit is considered to be the most
nutritious.  

Produce that's grown locally on small scale farms and orchards is usually organic and
offers more nutrition and flavor than that which has been mass produced and shipped
nationwide.  Organic produce is available at farm stands, farmer's markets, some
supermarkets, and at local farms and orchards.   


Types of Fruits

Familiar fruits are organized into 5 categories of shared characteristics: pomes, drupes,
berries, citrus, and melons.  Although they all offer several nutrients, the fruits in each
category have at least one nutrient in common.  

Pomes - This fruit group includes apples and pears.  Pomes have a firm, moist flesh
surrounding a central seedy core.  Although they aren't an excellent source of vitamins,
they are some of the best sources of fiber.   

Drupes - This fruit group includes apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, and cherries.  
Drupes have a single stone or pit and are sweet, juicy, and comparatively fragile.  
Drupes supply both beta carotene and vitamin C, along with some potassium and fiber.  
 
Berries - The Berries fruit group includes dates, grapes, strawberries, raspberries,
blueberries, eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, and several other fruits.   Berries all have
seeds embedded within succulent layers of flesh.  Many berries, such as eggplants and
tomatoes, are used as vegetables.  They're all good sources of antioxidants and fiber.  

Citrus - This fruit group includes oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, and limes.   
Citrus fruits are all multi-sectioned, warm-weather fruits that are especially valued for
their high vitamin C content and flavonoids.  Grapefruits and oranges also contain a
good amount of fiber.   

Melons - This fruit group is divided into 2 classes of melons: watermelons and
muskmelons.  There are several different types of watermelons.  The muskmelon class
includes cantaloupe, honeydew, casaba, and several others.  Melons are a good source
of vitamin C.  Orange-fleshed melons are also a good source of beta carotene, and red
watermelon is an excellent source of lycopene.    

Tropical Fruits provide unique textures and flavors.  Although they're a favorite among
many people, they're generally not classified with the common fruit categories.  
Tropical fruits include mangoes, papayas, passion fruit, pineapples, guavas, bananas,
jackfruit, mangosteen, coconuts, and several others.    


Selecting Fruits

Ripeness is the key to enjoying fruits.  When most fruits reach the final stage of
maturity, several important changes take place.  The fruits soften, their colors change,
their vitamin content increases, acidic content decreases, and their starch changes to
sugar.  These changes are what give fruits their mild, sweet flavor and aroma.  Due to
the process of shipping and distribution, fruits are usually harvested while still firm and
unripe.  Some of the fruits are then allowed to ripen on their own in storage, while
others are treated with ethylene gas.  Ethylene gas is considered to be a natural
substance that fruits give off during normal ripening.  For many years, growers and
distributors have introduced ethylene gas into storage rooms for the purpose of
speeding up the ripening of certain fruits.  This has helped them to reduce the storage
ripening time by as much as 50%.  Most research indicates that ethylene gas is
completely safe and doesn't affect the vitamin content of fruits.  Studies show that by
the time fruits are purchased, traces of ethylene gas are gone.

When selecting fruits, it's important to consider the smell, feel, and weight of the fruit.  
Ripe fruits smell lightly fruity and fresh.  If they smell unpleasantly sweet, then they've
probably started to rot.  A gentle press with the thumb will cause ripe fruit to give a bit.  
Mature fruits should be heavy instead of light for their size.  If a fruit is picked when it's
too green, it will never become sweet.     


Storing Fruits

Immature fruits should be allowed to ripen at room temperature.  Afterwards, they
should be eaten or refrigerated as soon as possible.  Fruits should always be used as
soon as possible after ripening.  Due to their high sugar and water content, they're
more perishable than other fresh produce.  When storing fruits in the refrigerator, store
them away from vegetables.  Fruits give off ethylene gas when ripening, which causes
vegetables near them to decay quickly.  If the fruits are organic, then all they need is a
cold water rinse to remove dirt that may have accumulated during picking and
transport.   For non-organic fruit, biodegradable produce wash is available at health
food stores.  Soft cloth towels should be used to dry fruit and other produce, or they
can be left to air dry.  
  


Health Benefits of Fruits

Fruits are an excellent source of nutrition and should be consumed in moderation as
part of a healthy diet.  Like vegetables, fruits are a great source of vitamins, minerals,
antioxidants, fiber, and water.  In the fruit group, several fruits are considered to be
superfoods.  What determines a fruit (or any other plant food) to be a superfood is it's
nutrient density.  The superfoods in the fruit group includes berries, citrus, coconuts,
mangoes, papaya, and melons.  All of these superfoods contain a large supply of
various nutrients.

One of the most profound health benefits of fruits is that they're an excellent source of
both types of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble).  Dietary fiber is made up of a variety
of compounds that are beneficial to the digestive system and also provide health
benefits to other functions in the body.  Fiber compounds are found only in plant foods
and are not broken down when they pass through the small intestines.  Although fiber
is generally known as passing through the digestive system undigested, some types of
fiber undergo digestion (by bacterial enzymes) while traveling through the large
intestine or colon.   

Soluble fiber is that which is soluble in water.  Insoluble fiber (also known as roughage)
doesn't assimilate into water.  Most plant foods contain both types of fiber in varying
amounts, but some plant foods provide a rich source of one or the other.  Studies
show that soluble fiber helps to lower blood cholesterol levels thereby reducing the risk
of heart disease.  Soluble fiber is also beneficial in the management of diabetes.  It helps
to keep blood glucose (sugar) levels balanced.  When consumed with adequate
amounts of fluid, insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation.  It adds bulk to stools
and stimulates peristalsis (the involuntary contractions that move food through the
intestinal tract).  Research studies indicate that insoluble fiber plays a role in the
prevention of colon cancer.  Since high-fiber foods are filling and tend to be low in fat,
both types of fiber can help to promote weightloss.

Along with fiber, fruits also provide an excellent source of several vitamins, minerals,
and antioxidants.  Fruits supply several minerals including potassium (especially in
bananas, pears, and oranges), iron (mostly in berries and dried fruits), and small
amounts of calcium and magnesium.  The main contribution that fruits make to the diet
is vitamins, especially vitamin C and beta carotene.  Tropical fruits, citrus fruits, berries,
and melons are all good sources of vitamin C.  Yellow and orange fruits such as
apricots, cantaloupes, peaches, nectarines, mangoes, and papayas are the best
sources of beta carotene.  

Vitamin C plays many roles in the body.  It's essential for the proper functioning of the
immune system, it's important for wound healing and helps to prevent bruising, it
provides structure to capillary and cell walls, it's crucial in the production of collagen
(the connective tissue that stabilizes bone, muscle, and other tissues in the body), it
helps to form hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells), and it enhances the
absorption of iron.  

Beta carotene is the precursor of vitamin A.  Carotenoids are the yellow and orange
pigments in fruits and vegetables.  There are more than 600 carotenoids.  About 50 of
those carotenoids are converted to vitamin A in the intestine.  Once carotenoids are
converted into vitamin A, they perform all of the functions of vitamin A.  Carotenoids
help to protect against heart disease and certain forms of cancer.  Vitamin A is essential
for several functions in the body.  It promotes good vision (especially night vision).  
Deficiency of vitamin A can cause night blindness or total blindness.  Vitamin A also
helps to maintain epithelial tissues (those that make up the skin surface and the linings
of systems like the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts).  Epithelial tissues contain a
high amount of immune cells and are the body's first line of defense against disease.  
Therefore, vitamin A plays a major role in maintaining immunity.  Vitamin A also plays a
major role in bone growth.

Other fruit nutritional benefits include enzymes, water, few calories, and some have
protein.  

Fruit health benefits go beyond the nutritional content of fruits.  Fruits also satisfy the
craving for sweets.  Facts from nutrition research indicate that consuming fruits several
times a day, reduces the cravings for sweet junk foods which are filled with unhealthy
fats, processed sugars, toxic additives, and little to no nutritional benefits.  Fruits
provide natural sugar and a great balance of fiber and other nutrients.  Although fruits
are generally healthy, they should be consumed in moderation.  Some fruits are high in
sugar and may cause the blood sugar to rise when consumed in excessive amounts.  
Individuals who are diabetic or hyperglycemic should eat fruits that are lower in sugar
and high in fiber.   Fruits should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.


Note:  Although fruits have several nutrients in common, each fruit is a great source of
one or more nutrients that other fruits may not have.  To learn more about the fruit
nutrition facts and health benefits of individual fruits, you may visit the fruit nutrition
pages by clicking on the links above.


Sources:

Wood, Rebecca.  The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia.
Penguin Group, 1999

Bowden, Jonny, Ph.D., C.N.S. The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth.
Fairwinds Press, 2007

U.C. Berkeley Wellness Letter Books.  Wellness Foods A to Z.
Rebus Inc., 2002

Kordich, Jay.  The Juiceman's Power of Juicing.
Harper Collins, 2007

Produce For Better Health Foundation

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia
....White (also Tan/Brown)

    *Nutrition Information - The white fruit group also includes tan and brown fruits.  
    *Fruits in this group are especially good sources of anthocyanins and other
    *various nutrients for each individual fruit.   
    *Fruit Sources - Bananas, Brown Pears, Dates, White Nectarines, and White
    *Peaches
Fruit Nutrition Facts
Health Benefits of Each Fruit
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