Growing up, you were probably told to always eat your fruits and vegetables.
Doing so was synonymous with being healthy.
But the truth is, not all fruits are created equal.
Eating too much fruit can be detrimental to your health because of fruit’s sugar content. And, in some cases, high sugar content.
How the body metabolizes the sugar in fruit does differ, though, from how it metabolizes the refined sugar that’s added to processed foods,
The body breaks down refined sugar quickly, causing insulin and blood sugar levels to skyrocket. Because refined sugar is digested so fast, you don’t feel full after you’ve finished eating — no matter how much you just ate.
The fiber in fruit slows down metabolism, as fruit in the gut expands to make you feel full and not affect your blood sugar levels as much.
However, once sugar passes through the stomach and reaches the small intestine, it doesn’t matter whether it came from an apple or a soft drink.
image with fruit vs. a sugary treat
Naturally, the better choice when you’re craving something sweet is fruit. After all, you won’t get the same vitamins and nutrients from a strawberry milkshake that you’d get from a handful of strawberries.
But if you want to make an even better choice for your health, you can take it one step further and choose the fruits that are lowest in sugar.
Below, I’ve listed three of the lowest-sugar, highest nutrient-dense fruits you should be eating in your diet.
Amount of sugar per cup: 5g
What makes this fruit stand out? Raspberries are often touted for their anti-cancer benefits. This is due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
In studies involving breast, cervical, colon, esophageal and prostate cancers, raspberry phytonutrients have been shown to play an important role. Raspberries can lower oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, and even slow down the development or reproduction of cancer cells.
New research is now showing raspberries may also be able to change the signals that are sent to potential or existing cancer cells.
In the case of existing cancer cells, phytonutrients in raspberries may be able to decrease cancer cell numbers by sending signals that encourage the cancer cells to die.
In the case of potential but not-yet-cancerous cells, phytonutrients in raspberries may be able to trigger signals that encourage the non-cancerous cells to remain non-cancerous.
Amount of sugar per cup: 7g
What makes this fruit stand out? Rich in powerful polyphenol compounds, blueberries have been shown to uniquely protect the brain against harmful neurodegenerative factors such as free radicals, radiation, inflammation and excitotoxicity.
Blueberries may even reverse age-related shortfalls in cognitive and motor function.
Scientists have noted that blueberry compounds are readily absorbed into the bloodstream, then cross into the brain where they influence regions involved in memory and motor function.
This suggests many potential benefits in preventing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Related story: Breakthrough cure for brain diseases?
Amount of sugar per cup: 4g
What makes this fruit stand out?
Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in cranberries are proven to be incredibly beneficial for your cardiovascular system.
You see, oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can place our blood vessel walls at great risk of damage.
Once damaged, our blood vessel walls undergo a process of plaque formation. This increases your risk of a heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases.
Cranberry consumption is shown to prevent the triggering of two enzymes that are pivotal in this plaque-forming process.
Cranberries have been shown to prevent activation of these enzymes by blocking activity of a pro-inflammatory cytokine-messaging molecule called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha).
These anti-inflammatory benefits of cranberry appear to be critical components in the cardiovascular protection offered by this fruit.
As you can see, berries are the lowest-sugar-containing fruits and can be eaten in larger amounts than higher-sugar fruits like oranges, apples, grapes and bananas.
But you don’t have to stick just to raspberries, blueberries and cranberries. You can branch out to limes, lemons, rhubarb and blackberries, as they are all among the lowest-sugar-containing fruits.
Fruits with a little higher sugar content, but still reasonably low, include cantaloupes, casaba melon, watermelons, nectarines, papaya, peaches and strawberries.
Not only can you use these fruits to quickly and healthfully satisfy a craving for sweets, but you can also enjoy the longer-term immunity boost as well!
Happy and healthy investing,