Like the other fruits we’ve highlighted so far, papaya is an excellent source of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, which offer benefits for your heart health.
But this sweet fruit is unique in that it contains several protein-digesting enzymes, including papain, which may help lower inflammation in your body. Many diseases are worsened by inflammation, including arthritis and asthma, so eating more of the nutrients in papaya may be beneficial for these conditions.
You may be familiar with papain, as it’s often used to make digestive enzyme dietary supplements. However, you can get digestive benefits from eating the whole fruit as well. Its combination of fiber, folate, vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin E may help to lower your risk of colon cancer and may help keep cancer-causing substances away from healthy colon cells.
New to papaya? Slice it in half length-wise, scoop out the seeds (they’re edible but have a peppery flavor), squeeze on a bit of lemon or lime juice to enhance the flavor, and enjoy!
Benefits of Kiwi fruit
Tiny kiwi fruits pack a powerful punch in terms of their vitamin C content (1 kiwi will give you about 95 percent of the recommended daily value), and they also show promise for fighting cancer.
A study from researchers at AUT University in Auckland, New Zealand found that eating two to three kiwis a day may help prevent cancer, possibly due to its antioxidant content increasing the repair of damaged DNA.
Other research has also revealed that kiwis may help reduce blood clotting, offering protection against stroke and deep vein thrombosis. They also have a laxative effect, which is useful if you’re suffering from constipation.
As its name implies, most of watermelon (about 92 percent) is water, but the other 8 percent is loaded with beneficial nutrients, including lycopene and B vitamins, which are essential for energy production.
This summertime favorite is also rich in citruline, a phytonutrient that is converted to the amino acid arginine when you eat it. This amino acid has benefits for your heart, circulation system and immune system. It also helps to relax your blood vessels, and may offer “Viagra-like effects” and even increase your libido!
Along with offering potential benefits for erectile dysfunction, arginine helps to improve insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes.
If you’re in the mood for a sweet healthy treat, a banana is a smart choice. As one of the best sources of potassium out there, bananas may help to lower your blood pressure and protect your heart.
Bananas also help your stomach lining produce a thicker barrier against acids, helping to protect from stomach ulcers and their damage. They also contain protease inhibitors that can help reduce bacteria that cause stomach ulcers in the first place.
Bananas even contain fructooligosaccharide, a prebiotic that helps “feed” good bacteria (probiotics) in your digestive tract. This compound also helps to increase your ability to absorb nutrients, including calcium.
Remember, this is just a sampling of the tasty fruits available to you and your family. Including a wide variety of fruits and veggies in your family’s diet — from apples and bananas to peppers and tomatoes — will give you the best array of nutrients you need to stay healthy.