Eating fruit for breakfast: is it healthy?

Eating fruit for breakfast: is it healthy?
June 21, 2015 6:48 PM

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The importance of breakfast is in the word itself, to break a fast, the morning meal helps reenergize and revitalize you after a long night’s sleep. “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”, we have all heard this phrase and we have also told this to our juniors, but we still don’t follow it. We are a generation of night-dwellers that hang on to our phones like life line and ignoring the world around us.

When you spend more than half of the night on your phone or laptop wasting time, it is a guarantee that you won’t be able to get up early. So when you get up late and have to hurry to school, college or work you either sacrifice your breakfast or make due with a poor excuse of breakfast like caffeinated drinks and energy bars. We have reduced the most important meal of the day to a nuisance and undervalue its significance. A healthy breakfast is a great way to start the day, it not only fills our tummies but also helps jump start our brains. When we skip breakfast, we ultimately end up munching on some high carb and high fat snacks mid-morning. So, do yourself and body a favor and have a proper breakfast, it will not only improve your health, but will also brighten your outlook of life.

Balanced diet

Despite common view, eating healthy is pretty straightforward. The core of a healthy diet is food that is rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals, but has low in unnecessary carbs and fat. A properly balanced diet includes the following four main groups:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Grains
  • Proteins
  • Dairy

Eating only one or two of these groups excessively is not healthy. A balanced diet is necessary because all these food groups provide our bodies with different nutrients that are essential for the body to function normally. Fruits are an excellent source of many vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, so eating fruits is not only healthy but they also make tasty nibbles and snacks (1, 2). Vegetables contain many vital nutrients and grains give us a feeling of fullness. Proteins are essential for proper muscle and brain development.  

Proper breakfast

Proper breakfast is the first step towards a good day. Eating a proper breakfast consisting of fruits/vegetables, low fat proteins, whole grain and dairy which is high in fibers, low fat and complex carbohydrates provide your body with nutrients that not only make you feel healthy, but also look healthy. When people talk about eating health they just assume eating fruits is the best way without even checking if the fruits they are using to substitute their protein and fat have all the nutrients that the body needs to function. So, eating only a banana every day for breakfast is probably not a good idea because it will not give your body the energy or nutrients it needs. When eating fruits for breakfast, make sure that you use a variety of fruits that have different nutrient and fiber content. Eating fruits that are easily digested and give you a low energy boost are not good options for breakfast especially if your breakfast consists of only those fruits. For a health and proper breakfast, make sure the fruits that you eat have a high fiber content and are complex carbohydrates. Fibers are better able to ward off hunger pangs and complex carbohydrates are a source of energy.

Fruit groups and their health benefits

Fruits are divided into different groups. Various groups of fruits have different nutritional values and have different mineral content. Following are the groups of fruits with their key members:


Berry is defined as a fleshly fruit that is produced from a single flower. Berries are great antioxidants because they are rich in vitamin C, anthocyanins and quercetin. Antioxidants fight free radicals that are harmful to the body and can lead to illness. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that helps to maintain healthy collagen, cartilage and it also gives the skin and hair a radiant look. Anthocyanins and quercetin are other antioxidants that are found in berries that reduce inflammation. Berries are “juicy fruits” that means the large portion of fruit is made-up of water. Juicy fruits are great for losing weight because they fill you up quickly, thus reducing the intake of calories. Apart from aiding in weight loss, fibers in berries help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Berries contain folate that help protect the body against cardiovascular disease and age related memory problems. The most common members of this group are grapes, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. (3)

One cup of whole strawberries contains 0.96 grams of protein, 46 calories and 2.9 grams of dietary fiber.

Minerals Vitamins
Potassium 220 mg Vitamin A  17 IU 
Phosphorus 35 mg Vitamin B1 (thiamine)  0.035 mg 
Magnesium 19 mg Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)  0.032 mg 
Calcium 23 mg Niacin  0.556 mg 
Sodium  1 mg Folate  35 mcg 
Iron  0.59 mg Pantothenic Acid (form 22)  0.18 mg 
Selenium  0.6 mcg Vitamin B6   0.068 mg 
Manganese 0.556 mg  Vitamin C  84.7 mg 
Copper  0.069 mg Vitamin E 0.42 mg 
Zinc 0.2 mg Vitamin K 3.2 mcg
Also contains small amounts of other minerals. Contains some other vitamins in small amounts.

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits have been cultivated since ancient times. Citrus fruits are not only juicy, zesty and have many culinary uses, they also have a wide range of health benefits. Citrus fruits are the most famous source of vitamin C (water soluble vitamin). Vitamin C has two main functions in the human body: one is the synthesis of collagen that is essential for strong ligaments, tendons and bones. The second important function of vitamin C in body is that of an antioxidant. Folate present in citrus fruits is vital for cell formation and growth. Potassium helps maintain the acid and water balance of the body. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps in transmission of nerve impulses, maintaining blood pressure and contraction of muscles. Phytochemicals are compounds in citrus fruits that help prevent chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. The most common members of this group are oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruit. (4)

One medium orange contains 1.23 grams of protein, 62 calories and 3.1 grams of dietary fiber.

Minerals Vitamins
Potassium 237 mg Vitamin A 295 IU
Phosphorus 18 mg Vitamin B1 (thiamine) 0.114 mg
Magnesium 13 mg Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 0.052 mg
Calcium 52 mg Niacin 0.369 mg
Iron 0.13 mg Folate 39 mcg
Selenium 0.7 mcg Pantothenic Acid 0.328 mg
Manganese 0.033 mg Vitamin B6 0.079 mg
Copper  0.059 mg Vitamin C 69.7 mg
Zinc 0.09 mg Vitamin E 0.24 mg
Also contains small amounts of other minerals. Contains some other vitamins in small amounts.



Melons have low calorie count and it has no fat but it is rich in minerals and vitamins. Melons are excellent choice of snack or side dish due to its high water content. Due to their high water content melons give a feeling of fullness without large numbers of calories, hence it is used to reduce weight. Melons contain vitamin A is vital for healthy teeth and retina (eye). Vitamin A also helps boost the body’s immune system. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is vital for growth of cartilages, tissue and also helps in wound healing. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps maintain acid and water balance in the body and the heart health. Lycopene is antioxidant that helps fight cellular damage. Lycopene helps reduce risk of cancer and heart attack. Some common members of this group are watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew.

One medium wedge (slice) of cantaloupe contains 0.58 grams of protein, 23 calories and 0.6 grams of dietary fiber.

Minerals Vitamins
Potassium 184 mg Vitamin A 2334 IU
Phosphorus 10 mg Vitamin B1 (thiamine) 0.028 mg
Magnesium 8 mg Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 0.013 mg
Calcium 6 mg Niacin 0.506 mg
Sodium 11 mg Folate 14 mcg
Iron 0.14 mg Pantothenic Acid 0.072 mg
Selenium 0.3 mcg Vitamin B6 0.05 mg
Manganese 0.028 mg Vitamin C 25.3 mg
Copper 0.028 mg Vitamin E 0.03 mg
Zinc 0.12 mg Vitamin K 1.7 mcg
Also contains small amounts of other minerals. Contains some other vitamins in small amounts. 

Stone fruit (drupe)

Drupe is an indehiscent fruit with an outer fleshy covering and an inner solid seed. These fruits are more common in the summer and they pack a tasty and nutritional punch. Vitamin A is the main component of stone fruits, it boosts the immunity system and also acts as an antioxidant. Potassium is an electrolyte that is essential for the transmission of nerve impulses and muscle contraction. Researches have shown that stone fruits contain a mixture of compounds that may help reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Vitamin C helps with the formation of collagen within the body and it gives the skin and hair a health shine. Vitamin k is a vital nutrient that plays a key role in strengthening of the bones. Stone fruits also promote healthy digestion because they contain an abundance of fibers. The most common members of this group are apricots, cherry, peach and plum.

One medium peach (with skin) contains 1.36 grams of protein, 58 calories and 2.2 grams dietary fiber.

Minerals Vitamins
Potassium 285 mg Vitamin A 2334 IU
Phosphorus 30 mg Vitamin B1 (thiamine) 0.028 mg
Magnesium 14 mg Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 0.013 mg
Calcium 9 mg Niacin 0.506 mg
Iron 0.38 mg Folate 14 mcg
Selenium 0.1 mcg Pantothenic Acid 0.072 mg
Manganese 0.091 mg Vitamin B6 0.05 mg
Copper 0.102 mg Vitamin C 25.3 mg
Zinc 0.26 mg Vitamin E 0.03 mg
    Vitamin K 1.7 mcg
Also contains small amounts of other minerals. Contains some other vitamins in small amounts.


Tropical fruits 

Tropical fruits grow in areas that are warm and humid around the year. Some tropical fruits are common worldwide while some are more exotic and can only be found in the tropics. Tropical fruits are a great source of nutrients and minerals. Some tropical fruits contain enzymes that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Potassium helps regulating blood pressure and nerve impulse conduction. Studies have proved that eating tropical fruits especially bananas helps reduce the risk of kidney cancer. Tropical fruits also help brighten up your day because they contain vitamin B6.  This vitamin helps convert amino acids into serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Tropical fruits mostly contain high content of water so they prevent dehydration. Vitamin C is present in abundance in tropical fruits and it helps reduce the risk of heart disease due to its antioxidant properties. The most common members of this group are pineapples, bananas and mangos.

One cup of fresh pineapple chunks contains 0.89 grams of protein, 82 calories and 2.3 grams of dietary fiber.

Minerals Vitamins
Potassium 180 mg Vitamin A 96 IU
Phosphorus 13 mg Vitamin B1 (thiamine) 0.13 mg
Magnesium 20 mg Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 0.053 mg
Calcium 21 mg Niacin 0.825 mg
Sodium 2 mg Folate 30 mcg
Iron 0.38 mg Pantothenic Acid 0.351 mg
Selenium 0.2 mcg Vitamin B6 0.185 mg
Manganese 1.53 mg Vitamin C 78.9 mg
Copper 0.181 mg Vitamin E 0.03 mg
Zinc 0.2 mg Vitamin K 1.2 mcg
Also contains small amounts of other minerals. Contains some other vitamins in small amount.


Recommended portions of fruits

The amount of fruits required each day is dependent on the age, gender, size and the extent of physical activity of an individual. Fruits are a really good source of vitamins (especially vitamin C), antioxidants, fibers, potassium and phytochemicals. People who are more physically active require a larger portion of fruits due to the excessive need of energy. Following is a chart that shows the portion of fruits required by an inactive or moderately active person:

  Age Portion
Children 2 - 3  1 cup
4 - 8  1 - 1.5 cups
Girls 9 - 13  1.5 cups
14 - 18 1.5 cups


9 - 13 1.5 cups
14 - 18 2 cups

19 - 30 2 cups
31 - 50 1.5 cups
50+ 1.5 cups
Men 19 - 30 2 cups
31 - 50 2 cups
50+ 2 cups
Pregnant and lactating women 19 - 30 2 cups
31 - 50 1.5 cups
50+ 1.5 cups

Importance of fruits in breakfast

Eating fruits is a great way to start the day. Fruits are rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals, but have almost zero fat and cholesterol. Adding fruits to your daily breakfast gives it more color and texture, which makes it more appetizing.

  • Aids detoxification: Many harmful free radicals are formed within our bodies that can lead to various diseases. Our body has a nature detoxification mechanism that helps neutralize these free radicals. Between the hours of 7 am to 11 am the body is doing its heaviest detoxification. So if we eat heavy fatty food during this time the energy that should be used on detoxification is wasted on digestion of this food. Eating fruits during this period is beneficial not only because it is easy to digest and does not interfere with detoxification of the body, but fruits also contain a wide variety of antioxidants that help enhance the effect of detoxification. Detoxification gives the skin and hair a healthy radiance. Antioxidants in fruits also help prevent many diseases.
  • Break the fast: Eating fruits in the mornings is a great way to gently waken the digestive system. The stomach is empty and at rest during the night because no food is consumed. If we have a heavy and fatty breakfast in the digestive system is jump stared, which leads to production of large amount of gastric acid to digest the food. The copious production of acid can cause peptic ulcers or heart burn. Fruits are low in calories and fat, but rich in nutrients and minerals, so digestion of fruits does not require large amount of acid production. A light fruity breakfast also helps normalize the blood flowing the gut.
  • Fiber rich: Most of the fruits are rich in fibers and have a high water content. Eating a breakfast rich in fibers helps promote satisfactory bowel movements. The fibers help cleanse the colon and remove any stored waste and increase its motility. This helps give you a feeling of lightness, makes you refreshed and ready to start a long day. The high water content of fruits gives you the feeling of fullness and helps prevent dehydration.
  • Brain power: Fruits are made up of carbohydrates and carbohydrates are converted into glucose in the digestive tract. Our brains need glucose to function, so eating fruits is a great way to get energy to your brain. Fruits have high content of water that is filled with natural fruit sugars, which provides the brain a rapid and healthy source of energy. If you eat the right amount of fruits in the morning the natural sugars will help sharpen your brain and revitalize it, so say bye bye to caffeinated drinks that sharpen your brain, but might have a negative impact on your health.
  • Healthy body: Eating fruits is super healthy because they are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals. The vitamins help boost the immune system, the antioxidants help reduce harmful free radicals from the body and phytochemicals are essential for the normal functioning of the body. Studies have shown that people that eat fruits for breakfast are healthier, leaner, have a more productive day and have a more positive outlook.         

Ways to add fruits to your breakfast

Eating healthy leads to a healthy lifestyle. Fruits pack a potent punch of vitamins, minerals, fibers and antioxidants. Making a diet change can be really tough. Following are a few tips to help you incorporate fruits in your diet.

  • Consider the effect on health: Eating fruits is a great way to stay in shape. Fruits contain a multitude of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Vitamins are vital for the proper functioning of the body. Vitamin C helps collage production and vitamin A helps boost immunity. Fibers help promote healthy function of the bowel. Antioxidants help neutralize the harmful free radicals in the body and decrease the risk of heart disease, age related memory problems and cancer.
  • Set a goal: Completely changing your diet in a day or even a week is impossible, so start small like adding a single fruit with whatever you normally eat. Try this for a few days then add another fruit. Keep adding fruits and reducing fatty food and caffeinated drinks from your breakfast slowly. This may take time, but then again ever good thing takes time. Set goals like eating two portions of fruits daily for breakfast. A great way to motivate yourself is to give yourself small rewards like an extra hour of sleep on weekends or munching on a small cookie at achievement of these goals.
  • Fruit water: Drinking fruit water is one of the easiest way to add fruits to your breakfast. Making fruit water is really simple all you have to do is take a jug, cut up any fruit you like or you can use multiple fruits. Now put the fruits in the jug and add water, leave this to rest for a few hours or overnight so that all the flavors get incorporated in the water. To add a little extra flavor to your fruit water you can add lemon or lime juice. Drinking fruit water is a great way to start your day because it helps rejuvenate and reenergize you. Fruit water also helps prevent dehydration and heat strokes. You can easily drink fruit water at breakfast because it’s already, all you have to do is pour it.
  • Dip it in: If you don’t like the natural flavor of a fruit or you don’t like its texture then a great way to make it appetizing is to use dips. There are a variety of dips available in the market nowadays and you can also make dips at home. Greek or spiced Puget make great dips. Dips can also be made using other fruits like avocado. Chocolate is one of the most favorite dips.
  • Shake it up: Making smoothies and milkshakes is a super way to incorporate fruits in your breakfast. The thing is people are usually in a hurry in the morning and so they don’t have time to make smoothies. The best solution to this problem is to cut up fruits, put them in a zip lock and freeze them. Now all you have to do to make a morning smoothie is to open the freezer and put the fruits in a blender with milk or yogurt.
  • Dried fruits: The biggest reason people give to not eating fruits more often is that they don’t want to get up to peel and cut it. An easy solution to this problem is making dried fruits. It might sound really hard but making dried fruits is really easy. To make dried fruits all you need to do it cut the fruit in thin slices, place them on a cooking tray and put them in the oven at low temperature (150-200 degree F). Now leave the fruits in the over till they are sufficiently dehydrated then cool them. Now you can either munch on the dried fruits or store them in an airtight jar for later. 
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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Medical student, 3rd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Article resources: See numbered references within the article.
Image resources:
Published: June 21, 2015 6:48 PM
Next scheduled update: June 21, 2017 6:48 PM
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