When it comes to achieving our health goals, taking certain things out of our diet is usually our first instinct. After all, we all know that we should avoid junk food and that our bodies will certainly thank us for omitting sodas, fried foods, and sugary-laden sweets. While that’s true, focusing on what we should add to our plate rather than what to hex from our life completely, is key to maintaining a positive mindset and a healthy relationship with food.

Here at One Green Planet, we believe that working on including more and more color to your plate this year is the way to go to achieve better health. In other words, to have a fruitful life you need more fruit in your life!

Far from being limiting and tasteless — there are so many fruit varieties on earth that you could taste a different one everyday of your life! — having five to ten, or more fruit portions on a daily basis can enrich your health in ways you wouldn’t believe.

Next time you’re at the supermarket, linger in the fruit section and don’t be afraid to bring home new (and perhaps strange looking) fruits as they can improve your life in these 10 ways!

1. Stronger Immune SystemArugula, Kiwi, and Fennel Salad [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

No matter the season, our busy lifestyle can take a toll on our immune functions. From sniffles, allergies, viruses, and infections, our bodies deal with a lot. Eating a wide variety of fruits help maintain our antibodies in tip top shape to counter the detrimental effect of nasty invaders and environmental stressors. Namely, antioxidants found in high quantity in all fruits, stimulate our immune system and have anti-bacterial and antiviral properties.

Eat your way to a stronger immune system by snacking on your favorite fruits or try out this Arugula, Kiwi, and Fennel Salad (pictured above) and this Raw BBQ Mango Meat recipes.

2. Better Digestion

Mango, Chili, and Lime Quinoa Salad/One Green Planet

Packed with fiber and hydration, fruits offer our digestive system a well-deserved healthy workout that will help things move along and prevent constipation. Fruits are also reported to have a beneficial effect on our gut microbiome which means that they have the power to reduce the bad bacteria and increase the good, ensuring a better digestion and a lowered likelihood of experiencing unpleasant things like gas, skin issues, fatigue, and mood wings.

We suggest consuming fruit on its own to reap the most benefits as it digests faster than most other foods or eat smaller amounts if it’s part of your meal.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Benefitspapaya coconut yogurt breakfast

Fruits are full of antioxidants with incredible inflammation-fighting properties. Phenolics and triterpenoids, two types of compounds abundant in most fruit, help reduce oxidative stress which is at the root of inflammation in our bodies. The phytochemicals are also able to regulate pro-inflammatory gene expressions and show promise as ingredients for anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals.

Eating more fruit on a daily basis will help your body get rid of joint pain, soreness, and other ailments related to inflammation. We suggest starting the day with a fruit-filled breakfast to reap all their anti-inflammatory benefits. Try out this Dragon Fruit Pink Lady Smoothie, this Papaya and Coconut Yogurt Breakfast (pictured above), and these Berry Fruit Tarts With Chia Seeds by downloading the Food Monster App.

4. Improved Mood

We all know that eating fruits (and veggies) is good for our physical health but their positive effect on our mental health is not common knowledge. The beneficial impact of increasing our vitamins and minerals intake can be felt on our mood quite rapidly. In fact, some data suggests that eating more fruit can improve our well-being, vitality, and motivation in as little as two weeks. Overall, research indicates that including more fruit into our diet is indicative of a higher level of happiness and life satisfaction.

Need a mood-boost? Try out these Tostones With Spicy Mango Salsa (pictured above), this Cambodian Caramelized Pineapple and Tofu, and this Vibrant Dragon Fruit Coconut Rice.

5. Restful SleepPopped Amaranth Cereal

Popped Amaranth Cereal/One Green Planet

Getting enough sleep is paramount to our health but unfortunately a staggering percent of the population suffers from insomnia. The link between what we eat and sleep is stronger than most people think. While eliminating late coffees help, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is even more beneficial to our sleep cycles. Why? Well, the nutrients found in fruit form the building blocks for the production of neurotransmitters involved with the regulation of sleep in our brain.

If you have trouble falling asleep, upping your intake of fruit might help you. We suggest eating a bowl of cherries before bed or having these 3-Ingredient Cherry Pistachio Bars or this Raw Strawberry and Kiwi Tart for a restful night.

6. Hormonal Balance

5-Ingredient Blueberry Mousse/One Green Planet

Hormones are involved in many aspects of our health and having an hormonal imbalance can impact our appetite, weight, mood, and even lead to diseases. Eating fiber-rich fruits and vegetables is an easy and tasty way to avoid that. Berries, by example, are rich in phytochemicals such as quercetin, ellagic acid, and resveratrol that help our body get rid of excess harmful estrogen.

Suffering from hormonal issues? We suggest checking out how to Eat Your Way to Healthier Hormones With These 5 Food Tips and these 7 Foods That Can Help Balance Your Hormones and Alleviate PMS.

7. Weight ManagementMaple Oat and Nut Baked Pears 1

Although fruit is high in simple sugars, research consistently shows that fruit consumption is inversely related with weight gain. The beneficial effect of fruit on weight management is likely due to their vitamin and mineral content as well as fiber. Low in energy density and water rich, fruits contribute to a decreased calorie intake. The fiber contained in fruit also slows down the digestion of sugars and contributes to a prolonged satiety. Vitamins and minerals found in fruit have a positive impact on weight management as well due to their association with decreased leptin resistance and fat mass reduction.

Want to reap the weight management benefits of having a diet rich in fruit? We suggest trying out this Tropical Raspberry Kiwi Smoothie, this Mint-Infused Persimmon Pudding, and these Maple Oat and Nut Baked Pears (pictured above).

8. Increased Energy Levelsvegan cinnamon apple smoothie

Cinnamon Apple Smoothie/One Green Planet

Packed with simple sugars and beneficial vitamins and minerals, fruits are great energy boosters. They fuel our bodies with healthy carbohydrates and their fiber content ensures that our energy levels stay consistent. As such, fruit is a great pick-me-up snack for busy days or for a pre-workout meal. Eating a diet rich in fruit is also linked with a decreased risk of suffering from fatigue, headaches, and low energy.

Want to keep your busy self fueled up? You have to make this Banana Foster Oatmeal, this Jujube, Raspberry, and Hemp Seed Oatmeal, and this Red Beet, Pear, Orange, and Apple Smoothie.

9. Better SkinPear Endive Salad

High in nutrients and naturally hydrating, fruits can benefit your skin in more ways than one. Antioxidants found in fruit fight free-radicals that cause skin aging and protect our epidermis from damage caused by environmental stressors such as pollution and UV radiation. Some fruits, like pears, also contain humectants which help our skin stay moisturized and give it that healthy glow.

Get your fill of beautifying fruits by making this Belgian Pear and Endive Salad (pictured above), this Pomegranate Sweet and Sour Tempeh, and this Bulgur With Papaya and Pomegranate.

10. Prevent Chronic DiseasesEasy French Patisserie Fruit Tarts

Easy French Patisserie Fruit Tarts/One Green Planet

Due to their incredible content in antioxidant compounds, fruits have the benefit of preventing various chronic diseases. Cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and psychiatric disorders are all health issues that have been shown to be positively impacted and partially prevented by a diet high in nutrient-rich plant-foods, of which fruits are a great part of.

Want to know more about the incredible power of fruits and veggies? Check out Eating the Rainbow: Why Eat a Variety of Colorful Fruits and Vegetables12 Exotic Fruits You Need to Try and Why, and Why Purple Foods Are Good for Your Health.

Also, if you’re looking for more fruit-filled recipes that will benefit your health, as well as tips and tricks to make a plant-based lifestyle work for you, then we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

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