Despite common misconception, the tomato is technically a fruit because it contains seeds. They’re produced in larger quantities than any other fruit, with more than 170 million tons grown internationally each year. Most tomato crops come from China, India, Turkey, and the United States.
It’s no wonder that tomatoes are the most consumed fruit in the world, especially since they’re a dietary staple for millions of people. A key ingredient in countless cuisines, this versatile fruit is used in sauces, soups, salads, condiments, garnishes, and even drinks. It’s also utilized as a fast food ingredient, serving as the basis for ketchup, salsa, and pico de gallo. (Just remember that fast food is no substitute for fresh fruits and veggies!)
Low in calories and loaded with vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate, tomatoes also carry an antioxidant compound called lycopene. Promising research shows that lycopene could decrease the likelihood of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer.
What’s more, tomatoes contain other antioxidants, such as beta carotene, naringenin, and chlorogenic acid, and serve as a good source of fiber. Fiber prevents constipation, lowers cholesterol, manages blood sugar levels, and helps maintain a healthy weight.
Also among the most common fruits enjoyed around the world, apples are mainly grown by China, the U.S., Europe, and Turkey. Approximately 76 million tons are produced globally every year.
A fantastic source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, K, as well as potassium, manganese, and copper, apples make a convenient, on-the-go snack. The dietary fiber they provide increases feelings of fullness and reduces caloric intake.
Phenolic compounds like flavonoids quercetin, kaempferol, and catechin found in apples offer antioxidant properties to protect against chronic illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. They also lower cholesterol, improve bone health, and enhance brain function.
Lastly, the pectin in apples acts as a prebiotic to balance gut bacteria, regulate blood sugar levels, and boost cardiovascular health.
Nearly 150 million tons of bananas are grown annually (predominantly in India and China). Other major producers include the Philippines, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Brazil, all of whom export the lion’s share of their banana crops to other countries for consumption.
First and foremost, bananas boast high levels of potassium, which may prevent stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease. It even tackles cramping and muscle fatigue after an intense workout.
Similar to apples, bananas also function as a great source of flavonoids, pectin, magnesium, copper, manganese, fiber, and vitamins B6 and C.
Since they’re a pretty filling snack, bananas could aid in weight loss when enjoyed as part of a well-balanced diet. Top a bowl of oatmeal with a sliced banana, berries, and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a quick, healthy breakfast.
Brazil, China, India, and several other nations churn out approximately 73 million tons of oranges every year. These sunny little citrus fruits are rich in vitamin B1, folic acid, and potassium.
The bulk of orange crops is used to make one of the most beloved fruit drinks ever: orange juice. A single serving of OJ supplies a whopping 67 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Vitamin C increases collagen production, promotes iron absorption, builds strong bones and teeth, and is particularly essential to pregnant women and children.
Believe it or not, one large orange serves up as much as 20 percent of your daily fiber requirement. It’s also packed with antioxidants like phenolics and carotenoids; plus, plenty of citric acid to defend against kidney stones.
The world’s leading mango producers include India, China, and Thailand, and more than 50 million tons of exotic tropical fruit are grown annually.
Mangoes deliver a generous dose of beta carotene, an antioxidant that’s converted to vitamin A by the human body. Vitamin A promotes healthy vision, skin, and teeth ‒ not to mention a strong immune system.
Additionally, mangoes are loaded with vitamins B5, B6, C, E, K, dietary fiber, copper, folate, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, manganese, thiamine, and magnesium. An antioxidant in mangoes called mangiferin is currently being studied for possible antidiabetic and anticancer properties.
Depending on availability, regional climate, and other factors, fruit consumption varies greatly from one country to the next. The most popular fruits in America include:
On a global scale, however, the single most popular fruit in the world is the tomato, which many would consider to be a vegetable!
No matter what your tastes may be, fruits represent a smart alternative to desserts and other sugary sweets. They offer an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals to keep you fit, healthy, and satisfied.