8 Tropical Fruits To Add To Your Diet ASAP

Featured | Fresh fruit salad in the bowl | Tropical Fruits To Add To Your Diet ASAP
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Add these tropical fruits to your diet to boost your nutrient intake and take full advantage of the many health benefits they provide!

RELATED: Diets High in Magnesium & Potassium Linked to Fewer Strokes

In this article:

  1. Fruits Can Replace Less Healthy Foods
  2. What Are Tropical Fruits?

List of Tropical Fruits to Include in Your Diet

Fruits Can Replace Less Healthy Foods

Our colleagues at Tufts University recently featured this article on lesser-known exotic fruits in their health newsletter. In addition to bananas, apples, grapes, oranges, and peaches that often fill the collective American fruit bowl, there is a rich variety of tropical fruits available, some year-round, and at affordable prices.

Only 15% of American adults eat the recommended amount of fruit, which ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 cups per day depending on daily calorie needs. Diversifying your fruit portfolio can inspire you with appealing new tastes, textures, aromas, and colors, making you more likely to include fruit in your overall eating pattern.

With fruits, as with vegetables and other foods, eating a variety is key because it provides a range of vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients, and flavors. So, don’t get too caught up in which particular fruits you choose.

Additionally, remember that to improve your overall diet quality, fruit should replace less healthy foods.

“The best approach to increase fruit intake is to use it to replace foods made with refined-carbohydrate or added sugar,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory.

What Are Tropical Fruits?

Fresh fruit salad | Tropical Fruits To Add To Your Diet ASAP

People call them tropical fruits because farmers grow them in humid and hot regions, covering tropical and subtropical areas such as the following:

  • Oceania
  • Carribean
  • South America
  • Central America
  • Africa
  • Asia

Many fruits grown in these regions are staples in the local diet because they have been found to be very nutritious.

Try these tropical fruits fresh cut as snacks, in salads, in desserts without added sugar, in sauces, in meat dishes, or as a side to a main dish.

1. Papaya

Papaya | Tropical Fruits To Add To Your Diet ASAP

Commonly available tropical papayas have striking orange flesh and black seeds with a smooth texture. Papaya offers the following set of nutrients:

  • Potassium
  • Folate
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Carbs

Potassium, for example, is the main electrolyte in intracellular fluid that identifies the amount of water in the cells. This electrolyte can help keep a good balance of fluid in your body.

Folate is a B vitamin responsible for the production of white and red blood cells in the bone marrow. This nutrient is crucial in periods of rapid growth, such as adolescence, infancy, and pregnancy.

You can slice the papaya in half length-wise, remove the seeds, and scoop out the fruit. You may also peel the skin before slicing and pitting, so you can cut it into slices or cubes.

2. Guava

Woman cuts guava fruit on cutting board in kitchen | Tropical Fruits To Add To Your Diet ASAP

Guavas come in multiple varieties with different characteristics. The tastes range from sweet to tart and may remind you of pineapple, papaya, banana, or lemon.

The fruit has the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Dietary fiber
  • Fat
  • Carbs

Vitamin A, for example, is popular for enhancing your eye health. It is essential to convert the light that penetrates your eyes into an electrical signal sent to the brain.

Vitamin C plays an important role in boosting your immune system. When you experience the common cold, the vitamin may not cure it, but it can lower the chances of developing further complications.

You can wash guava, slice or cube it, and eat it with or without the rind.

3. Star Fruit

Some caramboles in a basket over a wooden surface | Tropical Fruits To Add To Your Diet ASAP

Also known as carambola, when sliced, this fresh fruit makes perfect five-pointed stars. One variety of star fruit is tart; the other one has a sweet taste.

This tropical fruit contains the following nutrients:

  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin C
  • Protein
  • Fiber

Magnesium, for example, is an essential macromineral important for bone formation as it helps in the absorption of calcium in the bones. It also plays a crucial role in enabling Vitamin D in the kidneys, maximizing the benefits of the vitamin.

Copper is one of the trace minerals present in all your tissues. It is also essential in maintaining the immune system and nerve cells and producing red blood cells.

You can simply rinse, slice, and eat star fruit raw.

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4. Kiwi

Organic Kiwis on Aged Wood Table | Tropical Fruits To Add To Your Diet ASAP

Kiwis are sweet, with hints of strawberry, banana, and nectarine flavors. Kiwis possess the following nutrients:

  • Folate
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Fiber
  • Fat
  • Protein

Iron, for example, is an essential nutrient crucial for keeping optimal health and supporting proper body growth. It is also essential for the production of red blood cells to properly deliver carbon dioxide to the lungs and transport oxygen to the cells.

Fiber is important to maintain a healthy bowel movement as it aids in increasing the size and weight of your stool while softening it. The bulkier your stool is, the easier it is to eliminate t from your body, lowering the chances of constipation.

You can pare off the fuzzy outer peel of the fruit and then slice or cube it for salads. You can also slice it in half, scoop out the fruit with a spoon, and eat it.

5. Lychee

Fresh lychee in bowl on a wooden background | Tropical Fruits To Add To Your Diet ASAP

Lychees contain an edible translucent white fruit around a pit or seed. It is rich in the following nutrients:

  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Carbs
  • Protein

Carbs, for example, are what you need to fuel your energy. Your body can store carbohydrates in your liver and muscles for later use.

Lychees also contain polyphenolic compounds that provide antioxidant activities that may aid in limiting cell damage from free radicals.

You can peel off the outer skin of the fruit with your fingers, remove the hard central seed, and eat the fruit.

6. Mango

Organic Colorful Ripe Mangos on a Background | Tropical Fruits To Add To Your Diet ASAP

Mango flesh is intensely sweet when ripe. This delicious fruit contains the following set of nutrients:

  • Magnesium
  • Thiamine
  • Manganese
  • Riboflavin
  • Potassium
  • Niacin
  • Vitamins K, B5, E, A, and B6
  • Folate
  • Copper
  • Vitamin C
  • Dietary fiber
  • Fat
  • Carbs
  • Protein

Thiamine, for example, is essential for enabling your body to utilize carbs for energy. Your body also needs it for heart, muscle, and nerve functions.

Manganese is another trace mineral your body needs for the proper functioning of your nervous system and brain. It’s also a part of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase, that can help reduce inflammation levels in the body.

Superoxide Dismutase Definition: An enzyme present in your cells that aids in the breakdown of harmful oxygen molecules.

Riboflavin is a vitamin needed for the body’s growth and overall health. It also aids your body in breaking down protein, fat, and carbs for energy.

You can remove the skin with a paring knife and then slice the flesh off the large inner pit to eat the fruit.

7. Persimmon

Ripe persimmon on color wooden background | Tropical Fruits To Add To Your Diet ASAP

The Asian persimmon is native to Japan, China, Burma, and India but is cultivated commercially in California. Asian persimmons are sweet when firm, but “astringent” persimmons must be fully ripe and soft to be palatable.

The fruit possesses several nutrients:

  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B6, K, E, C, and A
  • Fiber
  • Fat
  • Protein
  • Carbs

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin the body needs to create prothrombin, a protein essential for bone metabolism and blood clotting. The vitamin may also aid in lowering blood pressure as it prevents mineralization or mineral build-up in the arteries.

Vitamin E is one of the antioxidants that help shield the cells in the body from free radical damage. These free radicals weaken and break down your cells, and this vitamin can help prevent this from happening.

You can wash, slice, and eat the fruit raw.

8. Pomegranate

Pomegranate with leafs on wooden table | Tropical Fruits To Add To Your Diet ASAP

This fruit has a tart flavor and, in juice form, has gained popularity as an alleged health drink. The edible parts of pomegranates are the seeds, called arils, covered with a red juicy coating.

It is rich in the following nutrients:

  • Potassium
  • Folate
  • Vitamin K and C
  • Protein
  • Fiber

Fiber can also help you maintain a healthy weight as it tends to make you feel full, allowing you to stay satisfied longer and eat less. Protein is an essential cell component of the body as it helps in building and repairing tissues. The nutrient is also a building block of your blood, skin, cartilage, muscles, and bones.

You can slice the pomegranate in half, scoop out the arils, either eat the entire seed or suck the juice off the arils, and spit the pits out. To better harvest the arils, free them from the pithy covering while immersing the fruit in a bowl of water; they will sink to the bottom, and the pith will float.

Sprinkle them on salads, too.

These tropical fruits are worth a trip to the farmers market, as they provide great amounts of essential nutrients important to achieving optimal health. You can eat them raw or blend them for juice drinks or smoothies.

If you are confused which ones to add in your meal plan, you might need to consult your dietician for recommendations on where to start.

What other tropical fruits you can add to the list above? Share them in the comments section below!

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Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.