It is fair to say that all fruits – from cherries to cucumbers, oranges to black olives, figs to red peppers – are healthy. Virtually all fruits are high in fiber, blessed with high amounts of antioxidant activity, bursting with essential natural sugars, and rich in trace minerals. That does not mean, however, that there isn’t a nutritional hierarchy in the fruit world. The simple fact is that some fruits are objectively healthier than others, which also means that one fruit is going to be the healthiest of all. But which fruit is it?
In this article, I will begin by listing some of the world’s healthiest fruits and the reasons why they made the list. Then, towards the end, I will reveal the healthiest fruit of all.
A List of the World’s Healthiest Fruits
Blueberries – It’s become almost clichéd to celebrate the nutritional merits of blueberries, but alas, no self-respecting health foods list (fruit-based or otherwise) is complete without them. Quite simply, blueberries are an antioxidant-rich superfood – a word that is bandied around quite often, but in reality, can only be applied to a small percentage of unusually nutritious foods. Aside from containing a generous amount of vitamin C (one serving of blueberries provides you with 25% of your RDA of this important vitamin) and manganese (an important mineral for bone development), blueberries also contain polyphenols, important antioxidants that are linked to the prevention of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and even cancer.
Mangosteen – Mangosteen is not a well-known fruit, and people often assume it is simply a cousin of the mango. However, mangosteen is not related to the mango at all; in fact, its nutritional composition is quite different. What makes mangosteen special is that, like only a small number of other tropical fruits, it is rich in xanthones – powerful antioxidants that contain impressive anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, and anti-convulsant properties. Specifically, the fruit contains forty of the two-hundred xanthones known to science – a number with which no other fruit can compete.
Pineapple – Everyone loves pineapple. It tastes sweet and juicy, looks hilarious, and makes a serviceable weapon in times of adversity. But it’s also nutritious – really nutritious. Pineapple is rich in vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B1 (also called thiamine, which is needed for healthy muscle and nervous system functions). It also contains large quantities of bromelain, the essential enzyme that helps our digestive systems to break down food. Furthermore, it purifies our blood, since it removes toxins and debris from the bloodstream.
Tomatoes – The reason tomatoes make the list is because of their antioxidant activity (there’s that word again – notice that the healthiest fruits are always those richest in antioxidants? It’s not a coincidence!). Vitamin C, vitamin A, lycopene, beta-carotene, fiber, iron, calcium… If it’s an important vitamin or mineral, the chances are, tomatoes have it in moderate to high amounts.
Watermelon – I didn’t intend to mention watermelon in this article because, while this juicy fruit is very healthy, it isn’t ‘up there’, nutrition-wise, with blueberries, mangosteen, pineapple, or tomatoes. However, I eventually decided to include it because it is so different from the other fruits, insofar as it helps people to combat a problem that almost everyone has on some level – sub-clinical dehydration. How? Because, true to its name, watermelon is 92% water. Eating a watermelon not only provides you with generous amounts of antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lycopene, but also good old fashioned water – something that so many people, especially in America, need right now.
The Healthiest Fruit of All
So, what is the healthiest fruit? While different sources provide different answers, most objective sources seem to agree that the aronia berry is the healthiest from a nutritional standpoint. If you haven’t heard of aronia berries, don’t worry, not many people have.
The aronia berry, also called a chokeberry, is a North American fruit that is characterized by its sharp taste. Despite looking like an ordinary cranberry, its nutritional value is astonishing. Aside from having three times more antioxidants than blueberries (once considered the king of antioxidants), the berry contains massive amounts of vitamin C, quinic acid (helpful in resolving urinary tract infections), and flavonoids (which help the body to fight viruses and cancer). Regular consumption of the berry has been linked to effective weight loss, lowered blood pressure, improved blood circulation, and improved looks (it contains anti-aging properties).
Despite its almost perfect nutritional profile, however, there is one problem with the aronia berry – because it is so concentrated with antioxidants and nutrients, it is too sharp and astringent in taste to be eaten raw. Therefore, if you are looking to purchase some of these berries, you’ll have to look for aronia berry jams, preserves, and smoothies instead. Fortunately, word about these incredible superfruits is starting to spread, and more and more health stores are beginning to stock aronia berry products. Let’s hope this trend continues.