Fruits are an important part of anybody’s diet, but for those of us on a gluten-free diet, they’re even more important. Why?
If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, years of gluten exposure have damaged your ability to absorb nutrients, so it’s important that you make sure you’re getting all the vital nutrients and digestive help you need.
Now, research has shown that following a strict gluten-free diet leads to healing of intestinal damage and the return of nutrient and mineral absorption to normal levels. On the other hand, we also know that our bodies can take a long time to heal and things like constant cross-contamination and leaky gut are leaving our intestines constantly impaired. This means that we need to continue to be especially vigilant about our daily vitamin and mineral intake even when eating gluten-free.
Fruits are packed with fiber, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals. They are versatile and can be incorporated into any meal of the day! Fruits are great for breakfast either alone or added to a smoothie, yogurt, or granola. They are a great meal addition when added to salads and of course a healthy snack or dessert option.
Fruits can obviously help, and also be delicious at the same time! So let’s get down to it and look at 5 super healthy fruits that will make your taste buds jump.
- Berries: While we’ve made this into one category, there are a few berries in particular that you should be focusing on. Strawberries are super high in vitamin C, fiber, vitamins A and E, B-class vitamins, and essential flavonoids. Raspberries are packed with fiber, with one cup giving you 32% of your daily recommended intake. They are also high in iron and vitamins C and B, and are powerful antioxidants! Blueberries, one of the healthiest fruits you can eat, are low calorie, high fiber, and packed with vitamins and minerals. One cup of blueberries will give you 24% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, and 36% of vitamin K. They also have an abundance of phytochemicals which are essential in protecting your body from inflammation, heart disease, and cancer.
- Kiwi: Kiwis are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals and are low in calories. They are especially high in vitamins C and K with good levels of A, E, and B vitamins as well. Kiwis are great for digestive health. One study showed that IBS sufferers who consumed two kiwis a day for six weeks reported a drastic reduction of symptoms. Don’t peel off the kiwi skin! That’s where most of the fiber and nutrients are hiding.
- Papayas: Papayas are jam packed with vitamins C and A. One cup of fresh, ripe papaya has only 60 calories and contains a whopping 144% of your recommended vitamin C intake. Papayas are especially great for celiac sufferers as they contain an enzyme called papain, known for its benefits in treating indigestion and gastrointestinal diseases and also relieving gas!
- Oranges: In addition to being an excellent source of vitamin C, oranges are high in folate, vitamin A, and thiamin. They are also high in beta-carotene which is great for your eyes. Just one orange a day gives you all of the vitamin C that you need, keeping your immune system in check, helping to fight inflammation and enhancing iron absorption. Oranges are also a great source of fiber. Eat them on the go or squeeze oranges in the morning to make fresh juice!
- Red Grapefruit: Nutrients: Vitamin C, Potassium, Folate, Calcium, Fiber, Vitamin B6. Why it’s great for you: Citrus fruits in general are great for you and are packed with vitamin C. Red grapefruit is even better for you and tastes more sweet than a regular grapefruit would. In fact, studies have found that feeding patients one red grapefruit a day lowered cholesterol, decreasing the risk of heart disease. When it comes to the rich levels of vitamins and antioxidants in grapefruit, the redder the better. Also make sure you don’t peel away the white stuff that you’d generally remove from a citrus fruit; a lot of the nutrients are contained here!
It’s good to get your vitamins from dietary sources first, as absorption from food is the most efficient. If diet alone isn’t enough, supplements, especially those that cater specifically to the gluten-free diet, are a good second source. What are some of your favorite fruits that we didn’t mention here?