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Healthy Fruits for Breakfast

by Cathryn Chaney Google

Most health and diet regimens stress the importance of breakfast. Eating a morning meal signals you body to activate metabolic processes to switch from a resting state to the business of the day. Breakfasts should combine protein, carbohydrates and lipids. Healthy breakfast fruits provide fiber, important phytonutrients, antioxidants and some carbohydrates.

Fruits High in Anthocyanins

Brightly colored fruits, such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, sweet cherries, cranberries, red grapes and strawberries, are rich in the plant pigments called anthocyanins. A 1997 study by researcher Hong Wang and colleagues documented the potent antioxidant properties of 14 anthocyanins found in fruit. Wang cites studies showing that anthocyanins can improve vision problems and vascular diseases and have protective qualities against damage from chemicals and radiation. According to Wang's research, anthocyanins are also anti-inflammatory agents and may lower cancer risks. As a group, anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid. Researcher Jeremy Spencer published a study in 2009 showing that flavonoids enhance memory.

Fruits High in Carotenoids

Carotenoids are another class of plant pigments that are important for human nutrition. Carotenoids occur in fruits with yellow, orange and red coloration, such as oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, cantaloupes, watermelons, apricots, peaches, tomatoes and mangoes. More than 600 carotenoids exist, but the ones most frequently found in food are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids protect against vision problems, such as cataracts and macular degeneration and may also improve lung health and lower the risk of developing cancer or cardiovascular disease.

Fruits High in Fiber

Fiber is important for correct functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Fiber may also aid in preventing diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Women should consume 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day. Examples of high-fiber fruits include raspberries, blackberries, avocados, pears, apples, blueberries, dates, strawberries, banana, prunes and raisins.

Low Glycemic Index Fruits

Fruits with a high sugar content can cause a sudden increase in blood glucose and a corresponding insulin spike. For optimal health, plan your diet to avoid these abrupt peaks and valleys in blood sugar. The South Beach Diet Plan recommends favoring foods with a rating of 55 or less on the glycemic index. Examples include cherries, grapefruit, dried apricots, apples, pears, plums, peaches, oranges and grapes. Kiwi fruit and bananas fall at the top end of the low range, coming in at 53 and 54 on the glycemic index, respectively. Medium glycemic index fruits include mangoes, fresh apricots, raisins and pineapple. Watermelon has a high glycemic index at 72.

Dried Fruits And Fruit Juices

Although fruit is a healthy part of every breakfast, be cautious with dried fruits and fruit juices. Both are higher in calories in ounce-to-ounce comparisons with fresh fruit. In addition, fruit juices lack much of the fiber found in dried or fresh counterparts. If you crave fruit in drinkable form, try a smoothie. Always opt for fresh juices with no added sugar.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.