Technically, a fruit is “the sweet and fleshy product of a tree or plant that contains seeds and can be eaten as food.” You know what that means? Many of our favorite foods that we’ve treated as vegetables all this time are actually fruit!
These mild and sweet peppers come in a rainbow of colors, but did you know that all bell peppers actually start out green? As they mature, they become sweeter and eventually turn into that vibrant shade of red. Crisp and juicy, bell peppers are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that help protect against cancer and high cholesterol. Plus, the beta-carotene found in bell peppers keeps your eye and circulatory system healthy! A good dose of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and fiber also make bell peppers a good natural solution for arthritis pain.
By now we’ve probably all heard that tomatoes are a fruit and not a vegetable, but here’s a surprising fact you might not have known: tomatoes are a part of the berry family. One of the most versatile items in your produce drawer, the tomato is also considered to be one of the world’s healthiest foods. In fact, one medium-sized tomato contains 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C. Tomatoes are high in lycopene (which is why they’re red), making them a powerhouse against lung, stomach and prostate cancers. Tomatoes also are known to ward off inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Strange to think that your salty and sour pickle is actually made from a fruit, isn’t it? Cucumbers are a part of the same family as watermelons, zucchini and squash and are 96 percent water. That means cucumbers are naturally hydrating and can keep your body cool. They are packed with Vitamin A, which protects against cell-damaging free radicals, and aid in bone growth and blood cell functioning. Cucumbers also contain Vitamin K, for a healthy liver, and potassium, which is the mineral responsible for metabolic performance and the development of muscle tissue.
An iconic staple of the Mediterranean, the olive is one of the oldest known foods in the world. Olives originated in Greece in 3,000 B.C. They are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, which are essential in lowering bad cholesterol and preventing heart disease. They can even reduce inflammation, pain and sensitivity. And while olives are a healthy snack or add-on, some types – like canned black olives – can contain high amounts of sodium and should be eaten sparingly. When you do eat them, rinse canned black olives in water to wash away some of the sodium.
While we in the United States mostly use avocados in salads or guacamole, countries around the world – like Vietnam and Indonesia – see it more as a sweet treat. Avocados have a higher content of Vitamin E than any other fruit and are great for your overall health. Avocado oil or butter is often used for its deep-conditioning purposes because it helps restore skin elasticity. And did you know that avocados also have more potassium than bananas? That’s great news if you’re prone to high blood pressure! Avocados also help protect you from cataracts and other eye-related issues.
About the author: Katarina Kovacevic is a freelance writer specializing in travel, spa, and beauty and wellness. She’s the author of The Food Lovers’ Guide To Phoenix & Scottsdale and founder/editor of Style Jaunt, a blog about fashionable travel. Her work has appeared in publications like American Spa, The Knot, The New York Post, SheKnows.com and more. Follow her on Twitter @Little_K.