Jumping in on the juicing trend is well and good, but it’s important to do it the right way. And while you’re probably familiar with the best veggies for juicing, like kale and spinach and wheatgrass, you might not know which fruits you should be adding to your juices and smoothies. And this would be too bad because fruits add a ton of nutrients to your drinks, plus they make the flavors of some of the oh-so-healthy-tasting juices more palatable thanks to their natural sweetness or tartness.
Below, we’ve listed six of the fruits you should definitely stock up on when it comes to juicing and smoothie-making.
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and it’s no wonder. These are fairly high in disease-fighting antioxidants; studies have linked apples to a decreased risk in pancreatic cancer and type 2 diabetes and an increased resistance in protection against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The fiber-rich fruit also helps fight diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome. Plus, an apple’s sweetness helps tone down strong or bitter flavors you might get from veggies you might mix with it.
While perhaps not the best fruit for juicing, papaya is great for blending smoothies, and it’s loaded with vitamins C and A and fiber-rich to boot, which means that it helps boost both your immune and digestive systems. The antioxidants in papayas make for an increased protection against colon cancer and heart disease. Papaya also contains the enzymes papain and chymopapain, which help your body digest protein more efficiently as well as lower inflammation. Plus, here’s a tip: add a bit of mint to your papaya smoothie as this not only tastes great, but it also makes the nutrients in papaya more accessible.
Yes, it’s a fruit and not a vegetable. You probably know that. What you might not know is that tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, including lycopene, which has been linked with reduced risks of pancreatic cancer and increased bone health. Other antioxidants found in tomatoes include beta-carotene and vitamins E and C. These prevent DNA damage from free radicals, which means that they fight the effects aging has on the body. Tomatoes have been linked with reduced inflammation and risk of heart disease. And on a somewhat vainer note, the high antioxidant content makes for better skin.
Who doesn’t love berries? And especially in the early months of the year, strawberries are readily available by way of Baguio, which is good because one cup of these bright red berries contains a lot of folic acid and more vitamin C than you’d find in an orange. Cranberries prevent urinary tract infection and are a natural probiotic, which means they boost digestion. Blackberries and raspberries are fiber- and antioxidant-rich too, plus their high flavonoid content may boost your protection against cancer. Studies have shown that strawberries and blueberries keep your mind sharp: compounds in the fruit are suspected to prevent the effects of aging in your brain’s learning and memory centers.
These fruits not just boost the flavor of juices, which makes them ideal for pairing with dark green veggies when juicing, but they are also rich in bone-strengthening manganese as well as the general immune system booster Vitamin C and pro-digestion fiber. Anti-inflammatory properties have also been attributed to the bromelain in pineapple cores. Since pineapples are rich in antioxidants, you get the benefits of their protection against free radicals (and therefore, protection against heart disease, some types of cancer, arthritis, and bad skin).
You might not think of melons or cantaloupe as being nutritional heavyweights because of their light flavor and color, but that’s where you’d be wrong. Melons are rich in beta-carotene (and therefore vitamin A), vitamin C, and potassium, and it also delivers B vitamins, vitamin K, magnesium, and fiber to your system. Watermelons are particularly rich in cancer-fighting lycopene, which is also associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.