Posted on Feb 05, 2021, 5 p.m.
You may not be instinctively reaching for fruit this time of year, understandably because certain fruits can be hard to find, but you should keep eating fruit in the darker and colder months to help bolster your immune system and support weight management.
Most people tend to reach for winter squash and other hearty vegetables during the colder months and seemingly forget about fruit. But even in the winter months, there is still a nice variety of fruit options available to select from, most notable winter is prime time for citrus fruits in North America.
It is important to keep enjoying fruit in your diet as the nutrients they contain help to support the immune system and weight management. When thinking of immunity, vitamin C is a key nutrient typically found in abundance in citrus fruits to help fight off winter colds and illness, as it is an evidence-based, well documented, and heavily researched potent antiviral. Try to select whole foods that contain vitamin C for the best benefits over supplements, and be sure to spread out eating these foods throughout the day because vitamin C is water-soluble- meaning the body will flush out any excess.
Vitamin C helps the body to produce white blood cells that attack foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, and pathogens. This vitamin may not keep you from getting and could but it could reduce the severity and duration of illness while helping to prevent escalation. A report published in Nutrients noted that vitamin C may help to reduce the mortality rate and speed up recovery in those infected with COVID-19.
During winter antioxidant-rich citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit may be the most abundant in grocery shops, but they are not the only fruits available this time of year in North America you can also enjoy other nutrients dense yummies like apples, pears, pineapples, cranberries, persimmon, pomegranates, and kiwi, among other options.
Pears have high fiber content, according to the USDA, one pear contains 5.58 grams of fiber which will help the immune system by encouraging good bacteria in our gut to flourish, and increase the population of immune cells. Fibrous foods can also independently help to support a healthy weight by promoting satiety to prevent overeating.
Much like citrus fruits, pineapples are a rich source of vitamin C, with one cup providing 78.9 milligrams. But this disease-fighting anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich tropical fruit that also has benefits for the nervous and digestive system is not a citrus fruit. This sweet fruit is low in calories while containing 131% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, 2.3 grams of fiber, 76% of the RDI of manganese, 9% of the RDI for vitamin B6, copper and thiamin, and 5% of the DRI for potassium, and magnesium among many other nutrients.
Cranberries can help to protect the heart by helping to lower cholesterol levels, according to a study published in Advances in Nutrition they can also help to lower the risk of developing coronary artery disease. These nutritious berries also contain a decent amount of vitamin C with one cup of whole raw berries providing 14 mg.
Persimmon can help to bolster the immune system with its vitamin A content, one fruit can contain 138 mcg, according to the USDA. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine vitamin A enhances immune function and is important for our barrier immunity which is our mucus membrane in the throat and lungs.
Pomegranates contain bone-strengthening vitamin K, just one cup contains 7 grams of fiber, 17.8 mg of vitamin C, and 28.7 mcg of vitamin K which contributes to blood clotting and promotes healthy bones, according to the NIH.
Kiwi contains 56 mg of vitamin C and is a great way to start off your day at breakfast time with vitamin C to fuel your immune system, and it also contains 30.2 mcg of vitamin K. Most people don’t eat the skin, but you can eat it, this will increase the fiber by close to 50%.
Nutritious apples are available in a variety of types like red delicious, honey crisp, and fuji, they all may be apples but they have their own unique taste differences. According to the USDA, 100 grams of raw fuji apple with skin contains 2.1 grams of fiber, 6 mg of calcium, 4.7 mg of magnesium, 10 mg of phosphorus, 104 mg of potassium, 14% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, and 5% of the DRI for vitamin K along with many other nutrients. Apples are linked to a lower risk of diabetes, help with weight management, they may be good for the heart, bones, promote good gut bacteria, and they may have benefits for age-related mental decline.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.
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