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Different fruits provide different health advantages. For example, some contain more dietary fiber, and others are rich in carotenoids, the chemicals that give fruit their color and are often antioxidants. Some have high values of some vitamins but not other vitamins. This makes it somewhat difficult to identify specific fruits as the healthiest, because the definition of "healthy" can vary. Among the fruits that are often considered the healthiest are guavas, pomegranates and kiwis, along with more common fruits such as watermelons and bananas.
Fresh vs. Canned
There are a few standby rules that people often consider when choosing healthy fruit. Any fresh fruit tends to be superior to canned fruit, which is often packed in sugar syrup. Even when packed in natural juices, canned fruit is often is peeled, which results in a less-healthful serving. Any kind of fruit, however, is healthier than no fruit at all, so even fruits that do not appear on lists of the most nutritious are still likely to be healthy to eat.
By many standards, the healthiest fruit is the guava, which might not be easy for many people to find. These bushes are sometimes grown for ornamental reasons, but the fruits that fall off the bushes are edible. Guavas are low in calories, high in fiber and chock full of vitamin C and carotenoids. The fruits are believed to help treat high blood pressure, colds, constipation, diarrhea and scurvy, among other potential health benefits.
A pomegranate is an exotic, healthy fruit that contains antioxidants, which limit the harmful effects of low-density lipoprotein, or "bad" cholesterol. This healthy fruit also is believed to help increase oxygen levels in the bloodstream and help reduce the effects of arthritis. It even has shown some ability to treat erectile dysfunction.
Kiwis are rich in vitamin C and potassium. They also contain beta-carotene, vitamin E and vitamin A, and they have a high fiber content. Among the health benefits attributed to kiwis are the prevention of the effects of asthma and reduced coughing and wheezing. They also might help reduce the occurrence of colon cancer.
Grapefruits, which are full of vitamin C and help boost the body's metabolism; and papayas, which provide potassium and vitamin B, are healthy fruits as well. A cantaloupe provides lots of vitamins A and C, and dried apricots are terrific sources of fiber. Blueberries are chock full of antioxidants, as are strawberries, which are often less expensive. Tangerines offer a good mix of carotenoids, fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Watermelon is low in calories and provides carotenoids, vitamin C, fiber and potassium.
For people who are looking for certain nutritional values in a healthy fruit, it can help to evaluate them by category or intended benefit. The fruits that are highest in fiber, for example, tend to belong to the berry category, particularly raspberries and blackberries. For vitamin C, the healthiest fruits include citrus fruits, berries and most melons. Carotenoids are especially plentiful in fruits such as melons and guavas. For potassium, consumers, fruits such as grapes, kiwis, papayas and bananas are the healthiest, and vitamin B is provided especially by cantaloupes, papayas and bananas.