What Women Should Know About Fruit

Women should know that fruit provides many of the nutrients for good health that they need daily. Many of the nutrients that we don’t get enough of are potassium and fiber. Fruits give us these nutrients and many others. 

Fruits are typically sweet and may contain large or small seeds that arise from flowering plants. Some contain one large seed such as an avocado, mango, or peach. While others have many smaller seeds such as melons, apples, and papaya.  

Nutrients found in fruit 

No single fruit is going to give you everything you need. But even just a serving of fruit is packed with healthful nutrients for women. Eat a variety to get the most from this food group. Eating fruit is recommended over taking a supplement for someone without any medical conditions.  

If your physician prescribed a supplement for you to improve an out-of-range lab level, then a supplement is needed. Otherwise, reap fruit’s benefits to get not just a specific nutrient they contain but the greater benefit from the combination of nutrients and substances fruit provides.  

Typically, a serving of fruit gives you 15 grams of carbs, a wide range of fiber, 2-10 grams, and various vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.  

infographic showing benefits of fruit

What kind of carbohydrates are in fruit? 

There are many different types of carbohydrates, namely simple (sugars) and complex (starches). All fruits consist of simple carbohydrates, and they all contain fiber. The consensus is that sugar is bad; however, this is not true for naturally occurring sugar in fruit.  

The sugar gives fruit its tasty quality and is delightful to eat on its own or paired with complementary food such as nuts, cheese, or yogurt.  

While fruit contains sugar, remember that it also contains all the health supporting substances just mentioned to keep you vibrant. High-calorie, low nutrient foods such as sugary beverages, candies, and snack cakes often have much higher levels of sugar than fruit and are void of the healthy substances found in fruit.   

For example, if you compare a small apple to three lemon drop candies, they both have a comparable amount of sugar and calories, but the apple is filling and beneficial to your health while the lemon drops are not. Further, the sugar in the apple is naturally occurring, and the sugar in the candy is added.  


While you may have heard about the importance of vitamins and minerals, you may be unsure about phytochemicals. Simply put, phytochemicals are substances in plant foods that contribute to good health. There are many different ones, and in this blog, we focus on carotenoids and polyphenols. 


Carotenoids contribute to the color and smell of fruits. They are also fat-soluble, which means that fat can help us absorb them. 


Beta-carotene is found in mangos, cantaloupes, apricots, peaches, and nectarines. This carotenoid is beneficial on its own as an antioxidant, and it will convert to vitamin A in your body when you need it, contributing to skin and eye health. 


Fruits containing lycopene include pink grapefruit, papaya, watermelon, and figs. Lycopene, another carotenoid, protects your heart and blood vessels from free radical damage by preventing their accumulation in your body. The lycopene available in fruit benefits blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation. 


Age-defying polyphenols are found in grapes, berries, olives, cherries, plums, and dates, to name a few. Polyphenols are a group of many different chemicals that help protect us from: 

  • cancer 
  • high blood pressure 
  • infections 
  • diabetes  
  • heart disease 
  • asthma  

Polyphenols help to lower inflammation which can decrease joint pain. For those who suffer from chronic pain caused by arthritis, eating polyphenol rich plant foods can help ease the discomfort. Plant foods also contribute to a healthy weight which can lessen the load on arthritic knees. 

Vitamins and minerals 


Fruits are filled with vitamins and minerals. We mentioned above that many contain beta-carotene, a carotenoid, that transforms into vitamin A in the body as needed.  

Small amounts of B vitamins are available in fruits. Some have more abundant folate such as oranges, lemons, bananas, strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, avocado, and papaya. 

Many fruits offer plentiful amounts of vitamin C to your daily intake, including strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, kiwifruit, melons, oranges, and grapefruit.  

Avocados and mangos are abundant in the protective vitamin E, another antioxidant that protects your blood vessels and immune system.  


Some fruits are higher than others in potassium, but most contribute significantly to your daily needs. Higher potassium-containing fruits include apricots, avocados, cantaloupe, prunes, raisins, honeydew, oranges, and bananas. 

Surprisingly, some fruits, such as oranges and figs, contribute calcium to the diet. Calcium is a major mineral in our body keeping our bones strong and assists with muscle contraction. This nutrient has a synergistic effect (works together) with the other nutrients for overall good health. 

Bananas, raisins, avocados, apples, papaya, and blackberries are plentiful in magnesium

You may not think of fruit as a source of iron; however, you can find this trace mineral in raisins and avocados. In addition, vitamin C rich fruits can help you absorb the iron in the other foods you eat.  

Where to find fruit in the grocery store 

Typically, you will find fruits along the outside walls of most grocery stores. You will generally find canned and dried on the interior, and frozen fruits with other frozen foods.  

Look for packaged fruits that do not contain any added sugars. The naturally occurring sugars found in the fruits are alright to eat. 

Choose a variety of colors, including brown, black, and white, to help you get all the nutrients and phytochemicals from these gems. 

What counts as a serving? 

Fiber is a significant benefit of eating fruit. Fresh, frozen, and dried fruit offers more fiber than canned fruit and juice. Eating edible skins on fruit will give you more of the nutrients found in fruit, including fiber. 

Serving sizes vary depending on the form. Typically, a serving is one cup of fresh or frozen fruit. A serving of canned fruit in its own juice is a half-cup.  

Dried fruit varies. A serving is two tablespoons of raisins or dried cranberries, four dried apricots, and one Medjool date (or three Deglet dates). For juice, one serving is usually half a cup. 

Is fresh fruit better for you? 

Fruits are available in fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and juice options. It is a common myth that fresh fruits are more nutritious than frozen or canned. However, fresh is not necessarily healthier. Fresh may have more nutrients if homegrown or grown locally and sold at a farmers’ market.  

Once the fruit is picked, the plant, tree, or vine no longer feeds it. Fresh fruits may travel for a few days before arriving at your grocery store, and nutrients are lost during this transit time and while they sit on your counter or fridge before you eat it. 

Many frozen and canned fruits are picked and flash-frozen or canned on the same day, sealing in the wholesome goodness.  

Look for fruit that smells garden fresh, feels firm, and is free of bruising or injury at the produce counter. There is no need to avoid fruit that isn’t perfectly pretty. Texas-grown oranges may not look the best, but they tend to be juicy and sweet. 

Packaged fruits are picked during season for the best quality and nutritional value and processed almost immediately, which locks in their nutrients. Frozen fruits are quick-frozen, and the canning process also preserves the nutrients in fruit.   

Choose products without added sugar. Glance at the list of ingredients. If the product is a blend, all you should see is the name of the fruit or fruits.  

You can also check the nutrition facts label and look for “Added Sugars.” You are looking for “0 grams.” 

How you can include fruit daily 

Fruit can be added to any meal or enjoyed as part of a snack. Fruit pairs nicely with yogurt, cheese, nuts, and nut butters for a snack in a snap.  

  • Canned peaches with cottage cheese 
  • Apple slices with peanut butter 
  • Dried apricots with almonds  
  • Berries with yogurt 
  • Pears with walnuts 
  • Raisins with pumpkin seeds 

Fruit can be added to cereal or waffles at breakfast, or to a salad with your lunch or dinner. Generally, fruit can round out any meal nicely on the side. Eat at least two servings of fruit each day. Remember portion sizes vary as mentioned earlier.  

How to safely handle fruit    

Wash hands before handling fruit. Fresh fruit should be washed in cold running water to remove dirt and impurities. Once you cut, peel, or cook fruit, it should be stored in the refrigerator. Avoid cross-contamination with eggs and raw meat, chicken, or seafood. 

What is the difference between fruits and veggies? 

Botanically speaking, plant foods that contain seeds are considered fruits. From a culinary and nutritional perspective, only those that are sweet are fruits. For example, veggies such as squash, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, okra, and tomatoes contain seeds. Botanically speaking, they are fruits. However, because they are not sweet, they are considered veggies.   

A sweet potato might be sweet, but it is not a fruit because it doesn’t contain seeds. And a couple of exceptions of fruits that aren’t sweet are olives and avocados. They have pits, so technically, they are fruits. Olives and avocados are considered healthy fats because of their nutritional profiles. 


Keeping fruits on hand helps you enjoy this age-defying staple to keep you strong. Yes, fruit contains sugar, but it also has vital nutrients and health-supporting phytochemicals to energize you throughout your day. If you enjoyed this blog, you may also like our *free* 5-Staples for Quick Meals to Keep Your Bones Strong course.  

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Stephanie Turkel is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Texas. She has 30 plus years of experience in the nutrition field. She now takes her gained knowledge and shares it with you to explain science articles into easy-to-understand information.

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Grace Rivers, RDN, CDCES

Grace is a registered dietitian nutritionist residing in Texas. She has over 30 years of experience in nutrition. Grace loves translating science articles into easy-to-understand information for you.


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