The 5 Types of Fruit and Their Characteristics

Do you know that there are several types of fruit? We're going to teach you to classify these foods, as well as to recognize their main health benefits.
The 5 Types of Fruit and Their Characteristics
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 23 December, 2022

There are several types of fruit that you should know about. They have different organoleptic characteristics and nutritional properties. All are considered positive for health, although the best thing is to combine them.

Keep in mind that most nutrition experts recommend the inclusion of fruits in the regular diet. Between fruits and vegetables, it’s best to consume 5 servings a day.

Types of fruit

We’re going to show you the types of fruit that can be included in your diet. Keep reading!

1. Sweet fruits

Within the spectrum of sweet fruits, we find bananas, watermelons, cherries, figs, canteloupe, honeydew melons, and red apples. They’re characterized by a higher carbohydrate content, although their nature may vary depending on the point of maturation. If the fruit is still somewhat unripe, complex sugars will abound.

Although these fruits may seem energetic at first glance, they can be included in any healthy nutritional guideline. You have to moderate your intake, but not suppress it. They’re capable of providing important antioxidants, such as anthocyanins in cherries, according to a study published in the journal Nutrients.

To take advantage of the full potential of this type of fruit, it’s advisable to avoid eating it at night. It has been shown that at night, the body loses the ability to metabolize sugars.

It’s always best for their consumption to be parallel to that of some other food with a higher fat, protein, or fiber content. These three elements are capable of delaying gastric emptying and modulating the entry of glucose into the bloodstream.

2. Semi-sweet fruits

In this group are papayas, mangos, pears, grapes, and soursop. These are fruits that stand out for their phytonutrient content with antioxidant capacity, although they also contain soluble fiber. This element is key to achieving an increase in the density of the microbiota, as stated by research published in Gut Microbes.

It must be taken into account that soluble fiber serves as an energy substrate for the bacteria that colonize the digestive tract. This allows their growth and multiplication.

On the other hand, fiber’s a key element to achieving an improvement in intestinal transit, reducing constipation. It increases the volume of the fecal bolus, which produces a greater stimulus in the mechanoreceptors.

Many of these fruits, like papaya, have proteolytic enzymes. These compounds contribute to easier digestion, reducing discomfort and the appearance of gas. Its consumption after meals facilitates the digestive processes, especially when intake has been copious.

Grapes are a type of fruit.
Grapes are classified as semi-sweet fruits.

3. Acidic fruits

Among acidic fruits, we can mention guava, strawberry, raspberry, lemon, blackberry, pineapple, grapefruit, passion fruit, orange, and cranberry. These are the fruits that contain the greatest amount of vitamins and antioxidants. Some of them are in the citrus group, with a contribution of vitamin C.

It’s important to note that vitamin C fulfills various functions within the human body. At the same time, it plays a role as an antioxidant element, preventing the formation of free radicals. In addition, it’s capable of improving the absorption of iron on an intestinal level.

Also, vitamin C enhances immune function. According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, the intake of high doses of the vitamin is capable of reducing the incidence of infectious diseases, especially those of a respiratory type.

Besides, these vegetables also contain beta-carotene or vitamin A. These elements are essential to ensure the maintenance of visual health. They reduce the risk of macular degeneration and, as if this weren’t enough, the vitamin is involved in the synthesis of collagen.

4. Semi-acid fruits

In this group, we find plums, tomatoes, mandarins, pomegranates, green apples, and peaches. Among all of them, special mention must be made of tomatoes, considered by many as a vegetable. It’s characterized by the presence of lycopene.

There’s evidence that lycopene is capable of preventing cardiovascular diseases. Its regular inclusion in the diet reduces the incidence of atherosclerosis and other problems based on inflammation.

All of these fruits have significant amounts of water. Their regular presence in the diet contributes to maintaining a good fluid and electrolyte balance, preventing dehydration during the hottest seasons.

Green apples, meanwhile, are considered beneficial for digestive health. They’re a source of soluble fiber. The pectins they provide serve as an energy substrate for the bacteria that live in the digestive tract, as stated in a study published in the journal Experimental & Molecular Medicine.

5. Neutral fruits

Among the neutral fruits, coconut and avocado stand out. Both have a good content of essential fatty acids capable of improving certain parameters related to cardiovascular health. When we talk about avocado, the role of omega-3 fatty acids can’t be underestimated.

The regular consumption of omega-3 is related to a better state of health. First, it helps modulate inflammatory mechanisms. Second, it’s decisive when we talk about the development of the nervous system.

In any diet, it’s important to balance the contribution of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to ensure good health. For this, the inclusion in the regular diet of neutral fruits can be a good strategy.

Are nuts one of the types of fruit?

Nuts are also included among the different types of fruit, although they have particular properties. They’re included within the group of neutral fruits and are characterized by their low water content and by their higher proportion of fats and carbohydrates.

They’re highly recommended products to include in the regular diet. Experts suggest consuming a handful a day.

Nuts are a source of essential micronutrients, such as minerals. They have iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus inside.

You have to be careful with the forms of presentation of nuts. It’s always preferable to choose the toasted or natural varieties. Salty and fried nuts should be avoided, as these tend to have a higher energy value.

It’s important not to consume fruits in the form of juices

We’ve discussed the main types of fruit, as well as the need to include these foods in the diet on a frequent basis. However, not all types of presentations are valid. As a general rule, it’s best for fruit to be eaten whole.

When fruit is consumed in the form of juice, a significant loss of the fiber it contains is experienced. The sugars are concentrated and, in this case, there’s no element that delays gastric emptying or modulates the absorption of fructose.

Nor is it wise to prepare smoothies. At least not as a general rule. In these cases the fiber of the food is conserved, but the mechanical destruction causes a reduction of the effects.

The same thing happens with compotes and jams. Cooking the fruit weakens the fibers, which jeopardizes their functions.

Is it good to eat fruit at night?

Another of the classic topics of debate has to do with the possibility of consuming fruit at night. Some experts claim that this food is good for health, regardless of the time of day it’s eaten.

However, the most current research shows that the timing of nutrient consumption influences metabolism. In this way, the body is more receptive to the introduction of sugars during the hours when there’s sunlight.

Ingestion of these nutrients isn’t convenient at night, as they could alter the normal functioning of the pancreas. Significant increases in blood glucose levels are experienced.

Fruit bowl.
Fruits almost always have to be eaten whole to preserve their nutritional properties.

Dried fruits: One of the types of fruit with the most sugar

You can find certain types of dried fruit in the supermarket. Examples would be raisins, dried apricots, and figs

These foods have the peculiarity that most of the water has been extracted from them. From a nutritional point of view, a product with a higher concentration of simple sugars is obtained. The energy density also rises.

It’s possible that certain losses in phytonutrients are experienced, especially those that have a water-soluble character. For this reason, dehydrated fruits aren’t an optimal food to include in the diet on a regular basis.

Of course, they can be used to sweeten certain edibles without resorting to table sugar. In this way, a moderate amount of simple carbohydrates is added while taking advantage of other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

What types of fruit to prioritize in the diet?

Now that you know the different types of fruits that can be purchased, we’re going to talk to you about which types of fruit are more beneficial. The truth is that it’s important to ensure variety to improve health. However, it’s possible to prioritize exotic fruits and those with vivid colors.

These concentrate a greater amount of antioxidants. An example would be anthocyanins from red fruits or resveratrol from grapes. Both elements are essential to neutralize the formation of free radicals.

In addition, exotic fruits tend to concentrate a greater amount of micronutrients, such as vitamins A and C. These are essential for the maintenance of homeostasis.

It’s best to guarantee variety, ensuring that at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables are consumed in total each day. This practice is associated with lower mortality due to any cause and better health.

Este texto se ofrece únicamente con propósitos informativos y no reemplaza la consulta con un profesional. Ante dudas, consulta a tu especialista.