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Start Eating Healthier Today with Fruits and Berries

Healthy living involves many facets of one's life, and proper nutrition is an essential factor. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for busy families to eat as healthfully as they should. Fast food, for example, is a quick and convenient option for many. Unfortunately, fast foods are primarily made of processed ingredients that are loaded with sodium, preservatives, unhealthy fats such as trans fats, and refined carbohydrates such as sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. This presents a number of health risks, which include but are not limited to obesity, vitamin deficiency, heart disease, and cancer.

Fresh fruits and berries, on the other hand, offer a wealth of health benefits over the consumption of processed foods. Examples of berries that provide significant health benefits include blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries. Blueberries contain a high amount of potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins C and K, and regular consumption has been shown to coincide with improvements in memory and cognitive functions in older adults. Consumption of blueberries also reduces inflammation and bad cholesterol levels as well as the risk of heart attacks and cancer. Strawberries are another good source of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C, and they are known for boosting the immune system and promoting good eye health by reducing the risk of cataracts. They also cut down on the risk of cancer while regulating blood pressure and fighting bad cholesterol. Pregnant women who eat strawberries also reduce the risk of spina bifida by ingesting folate, which is necessary for the developing baby. Cranberries are a significant source of vitamin C, E, and K as well as antioxidants and are good for fighting cancer and promoting good urinary tract health. They also increase the body's levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and are known for fighting inflammation.

Citrus fruits such as oranges provide vitamin C, which is necessary to prevent diseases such as scurvy and is good for maintaining good cardiovascular health and regulating one's blood pressure. Apples are another example of a fruit that presents a multitude of health benefits. These benefits include antioxidants, which fight diseases such as cancer, and fiber, which reduces levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and one's risk of heart disease and stroke. Apples also help to remove toxins from the liver as well as reduce the risk of cataracts in the eyes, gallstones, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. Grapefruits reduce insulin levels and cut the risk of Type 2 diabetes, cysts in the kidney, and cancer. Grapes have high levels of vitamins A, C, and B6 and are good for fighting constipation, indigestion, heart disease, and asthma while also improving bone health. Certain types of grapes can also provide iron and reduce the risk of anemia and fatigue.

Children can benefit significantly from replacing processed foods with fruits and berries because of their young age and the fact that their bodies are still developing. Many fast-food places offer fruit-based options with meals, and parents at home can replace candy with fruits, which are often equally as sweet. To achieve the maximum benefits of fruits and berries in a child's diet, they should comprise a sizable amount of the food in a given meal. The benefits of this strategy include preventing not only obesity but also other problems that can afflict a child for the rest of their lives, including Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Fruit and Berry Guide

Kids' Healthy Eating

Additional Resources

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