Fruit (yes, fruit!) has the power to improve your heart health. That’s because it’s loaded with nutrients that can help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and help you lose weight—all three of which are good for your overall heart health. Plus, research shows that people who eat four or more servings of whole fruit a day significantly lower their risk of developing high blood pressure. “Fruits are packed with fiber and are also a rich source of potassium. Both higher potassium and fiber intake help prevent hypertension and are associated with lower blood pressure among those with hypertension,” says Donna Arnett, Ph.D., Dean, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky.
Fresh, frozen, canned, and dried are all great ways to add more fruit to your diet. Do aim, however, to eat whole fruit as much as possible to reap the most rewards.
The Best Heart-Healthy Fruits
These seven fruits are best for your heart and should be readily available at your local grocery stores.
Turns out an apple a day could actually keep the doctor away. Not only are apples a good way to add fiber to your diet and good-for-you flavonoids, but a couple of studies also found that people who regularly eat apples are less likely to develop high blood pressure.
Seek out shiny-skinned applies that are firm and free of bruises. Then, store them in the refrigerator fruit crisper to extend their juiciness and crispness.
Apricots deliver a handful of vitamins (A, C, E, and K), plus fiber. And their orange hue comes from carotenoids, an antioxidant. Fresh apricots have a fleeting season from May to August (look for fruits that are firm and plump). Fortunately, dried apricots deliver the same nutrients, and people who eat about a ⅛ cup of dried fruit (that’s just 2 Tbsp.) each day have healthier diets and weigh less compared to those who don’t eat much, if any, dried fruit (according to a study in the journal Nutrition Research).
Eat a banana and you’ll get vitamins B6 and C. You’ll also get fiber, potassium, and magnesium—all three of which are key nutrients that may help keep blood pressure in check. When shopping, look for firm bananas at any size as size doesn’t affect quality.
Whether it’s blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries that you’re drawn to most, all berries are great sources of vitamin C and fiber. And eating a high-fiber diet has the potential to help lower cholesterol and your risk of heart disease, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Fiber can also help keep your weight in check—another boon for your heart! Don’t forget: frozen berries are just as healthy as fresh so you can enjoy berries year-round.
Serve up grapefruit for a dose of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. A single serving of grapefruit delivers 2.5 grams of fiber, or about 7% of your daily quota. Plus, in a study of women (published in 2014 in the journal Food & Nutrition Research), those who regularly ate grapefruit or drank its juice had higher “good” HDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and weighed less.
When shopping, look for a grapefruit that’s heavy for its size and springy to touch. At home, store it in the fridge, but for a juicier fruit, serve it at room temp or warm, not chilled. Remember that grapefruit (and its juice) interacts with some prescriptions, so check with your doctor before adding it to your meal plan.
This citrus favorite is a real winner in the heart-healthy fruits category: research shows that the flavonoids in oranges (naringenin and hesperidin to name just two) have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers. They also may help improve blood pressure and can ward off your risk of developing atherosclerosis. Like the other fruits in this list, oranges also give you potassium and fiber. Look for oranges with small navels (yes, the indentation on the non-stem end of the orange is called a navel). A large navel means it’s overripe.
Pick up yellow peaches for a hit of beta-carotene (and these recipes). Men who have higher blood levels of beta-carotene were less likely to die of heart disease or stroke, per a study published in 2018 in the journal Circulation Research. Peaches also deliver fiber, potassium, and vitamins C, E, and K. Look for fruits with a strong, sweet smell that give ever so slightly when touched.