Fruit and yogurt can be the perfect fiber-rich duo to eat as part of your breakfast, as a filling snack, or energy-boosting pick-me-up any time of day. We checked in with registered dietitians, nutritionists, personal trainers and other health experts to learn more about three tried-and-true fruits that when added to Greek yogurt, smoothies or other breakfast dishes, can do wonders for your gut health and promote smoother digestion. In addition, they can also aid your weight loss journey and promote healthy aging.
Read on for tips, suggestions and insight from Lisa Richards, registered nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet, Amy Lippert, NTP, functional nutritionist and owner of Natural Healing Foods Nutrition, Jesse Feder, RDN, CPT, registered dietitian and certified personal trainer at My Crohns and Colitis Team, and registered dietitians Amy Richter, MS, RDN, and Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, senior clinical dietitian at UCLA medical center.
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Eating a snack or meal that is high in fiber is “desirable for many reasons,” regarding your gut health, Lippert explains, noting that fiber “supports a healthy digestive system,” helps in “detoxification,” soluble fiber “feeds the microbiome,” helps to “regulate blood sugar,” and also keeps us “fuller for longer.” She dubs blackberries to be an excellent fruit of choice to add to your daily yogurt to have a meal that is “rich in fiber.” Lippert suggests eating blackberries with “one cup of unsweetened, full-fat Greek yogurt” to benefit your gut and digestion most, noting that these fruits are also great sources of vitamin C and K which benefit your overall health.
Berries of just about every variety, but “especially blueberries,” Richards says, contain “fiber and phytonutrients,” which act as antioxidants in the body. “Antioxidants work to reduce free radical damage from toxins which lead to inflammation and chronic disease along with outward impacts like those associated with aging,” Richards adds. She notes that blueberries are the “highest in antioxidants,” which can help prevent many diseases, and one cup contains four grams of gut-healthy fiber. “Their specific antioxidants are flavonoids, plant compounds that give these berries protection and when consumed give us similar protection on a cellular level as well,” she continues.
These versatile berries are also high in nutrients while being low in calories,” Richards stresses, and “this makes them an ideal ingredient to shakes, desserts, yogurt or ice cream toppings, or just eaten by themselves.” Blueberries have also been linked to reducing blood pressure, blood sugar, and overall risk of chronic disease, she says. “This is likely due to their ability to prevent and reverse oxidative stress,” Richards points out, adding that this stress, damage, at the cellular level creates “low-level chronic inflammation that leads to a host of chronic illnesses.”
Raspberries are some of the highest fiber fruits out there,” Richter explains. She says that 1 cup of raspberries has eight grams of fiber. “This is nearly 30% of your fiber needs for the day,” she adds, making this a great choice for a healthy addition to your yogurt that can cater to your sweet tooth without the worries of weight gain. She stresses that fruits like raspberries are your “best bet for high-fiber foods that won’t push you over your calorie limit for weight loss.” Hunnes agrees and says that adding berries to “non-dairy unsweetened (or lightly sweetened) yogurt such as soy yogurt” can be a fun way to feature this high-fiber snack.
Yogurt (and especially Greek yogurt) has been long linked to healthier digestion and gut health. Feder says that he “always recommends” to his clients that they should eat berries “every day” for more fiber and healthy weight loss. Berries such as raspberries in particular, he says, “contain high levels of antioxidants which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body.” They also contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals that can help fight inflammation and keep your body healthy, according to Feder. Noted!
4. Dragon Fruit
This can be a fun new addition to your morning, Richards says, describing it as an underrated choice and excellent fruit for a healthier gut and faster weight loss. “Dragon fruit does not get much attention for its taste, versatility, and health benefits,” she says, adding, “Its outside appearance, though beautiful, can be intimidating to most novice fruit consumers.”
She also notes that dragon fruit is great for gut health because the fiber it contains acts as a prebiotic. “A prebiotic feeds the good gut bacteria which regulate digestion as well as many important processes in the body, including inflammation and immune response,” she points out. Richards also notest that “when the gut is healthy and balanced, the body is better able to fight off illness and viruses.” Adding dragon fruit to your fruit intake is a great way to help keep the gut healthy.
“Dragon fruit is also unique in that it provides a rich source of plant based iron,” she coninutes, as a serving of dragon fruit is 6 ounces and this gives the consumer 1 gram of iron.
Cherries are “full of fiber,” Backe says, noting that they can “keep you fuller for longer” (preventing weight gain) while also satisfying your sweet tooth. “The beauty of cherries is that they are also a great natural source of melatonin,” Backe says, meaning they not only help your digestive system, but also can encourage better sleep.
This “low-fat, all-natural” fruit has the potential to make a “delicious snack,” as Backe adds, or an addiiton to your favorite breakfast dish, and they also promote intestinal regularity with 2 grams of fiber, which is 7 to 8 percent of the recommended amount for adults.
Another great fruit for adding fiber to your morning, apples are also packed with vital nutrients and offer plenty of health benefits with their antioxidants and other nourishing contents. “The fiber in apples helps to flush out cholesterol and fat circulating in the blood as well as keeping you feeling full for longer which prevents overeating,” Richards says.
She mentions that this fruit also aids in weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight when aging because most forms are “typically low calorie, high fiber, and antioxidant rich.” Apples, which contain approximately 3 to 4 grams of fiber, can make a great and filling part of your breakfast, anytime.