Rating oranges, apples and bananas

  • Updated: December 15, 2013 - 2:00 PM

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, and Andrea Giancoli, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, described some of the virtues of the big three fruits. (Basic nutrition facts are from the USDA.)

ORANGE

Calories: 60

Fat: 0

Carbohydrates: 15 grams

Dietary fiber: 3 g

Sugar: 12 g

Sodium: 0 mg

Protein: 1 g

Plus: One orange contains 120 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. Oranges are a good source of calcium, folates, thiamin, flavanones (antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals) and naringin (an anti-inflammatory that may help protect the immune system), Giancoli said. And they offer the biggest nutritional bang for the caloric buck, Katz said. But because they are lowest in calories, an orange isn’t the best choice when you are really hungry,he added.

APPLE

Calories: 100

Fat: 0

Carbohydrates: 25 g

Dietary fiber: 4 g

Sugar: 19 g

Sodium: 0 mg

Protein: 0 g

Plus: An apple is a good source of soluble fiber, which is helpful in controlling blood pressure, lipids, cholesterol and blood sugar, Katz said. Because eating apples involves a lot of chewing, it can make you feel more satiated. Apples also are loaded with phytochemicals, including antioxidant flavenoids like quercetin, which are good for heart health, and proanthocyanidins, which may promote urinary tract health, Giancoli said.

BANANA

Calories: 105

Fat: 0.4 g

Carbohydrates: 27 g

Dietary fiber: 3 g

Sugar: 14 g

Sodium: 1 mg

Protein: 1 g

Plus: A banana contains 422 mg of potassium, which helps blunt the effect of salt on blood pressure and may help reduce the risk of kidney stones and muscle loss, Giancoli said. It also is a good source of vitamin B6, magnesium, iron, vitamin C and dietary fiber. A banana supports muscle function, said Katz, and helps you refuel before and after exercise because it provides the nutrients that tend to be taxed. And while it’s the highest-calorie choice of the three, it will make you feel fuller longer.

Chicago Tribune

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