6 Delicious and Healthy Stone Fruits
By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD
Stone fruits, or drupes, are fruits that have a pit or "stone" at the center of their soft, juicy flesh.
They're highly nutritious and offer an array of health benefits.
Here are 6 delicious and healthy stone fruits.
Cherries are among the most loved varieties of stone fruit due to their sweet, complex flavor and rich color.
Aside from their delicious taste, cherries offer an array of vitamins, minerals, and powerful plant compounds.
One cup (154 grams) of pitted, fresh cherries provides (1):
- Calories: 97
- Carbs: 25 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin C: 18% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Potassium: 10% of the RDI
Cherries are also a good source of copper, magnesium, manganese, and vitamins B6 and K. Plus, they're packed with powerful antioxidants, including anthocyanins, procyanidins, flavonols, and hydroxycinnamic acids (2Trusted Source).
These antioxidants play many important roles in your body, including protecting your cells from damage caused by molecules called free radicals and reducing inflammatory processes that may increase your risk of certain chronic diseases (3Trusted Source).
One 28-day study in 18 people found that those who ate just under 2 cups (280 grams) of cherries per day had significant reductions in several markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 18 (IL-18), and endothelin-1 (4Trusted Source).
Having high levels of inflammatory markers, such as CRP, has been associated with an increased risk of certain conditions, including heart disease, neurodegenerative illnesses, and type 2 diabetes. Thus, reducing inflammation is important for your health(5Trusted Source).
Other studies indicate that eating cherries may improve sleep, help regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce post-exercise muscle soreness, high cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and arthritis-related symptoms (6Trusted Source).
Cherries are not only exceptionally healthy but also versatile. They can be enjoyed fresh or cooked in a variety of sweet and savory recipes.
Cherries are a delicious type of stone fruit that offers an impressive nutrient profile. They're also packed with potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants, including anthocyanins and flavonols.
Peaches are delicious stone fruits that have been cultivated around the world throughout history, as far back as 6,000 BC (7Trusted Source).
They're prized not only for their delicious taste but also for a host of health benefits.
- Calories: 68
- Carbs: 17 grams
- Protein: 2 gram
- Fat: 0 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 11% of the RDI
- Potassium: 10% of the RDI
Peaches are also high in copper, manganese, and vitamins B3 (niacin), E, and K. Additionally, they're loaded with carotenoids, such as beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin (9Trusted Source).
Carotenoids are plant pigments that give peaches their rich color. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and may protect against conditions like certain cancers and eye diseases.
For example, research shows that people who eat carotenoid-rich diets are at a lower risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an eye disease that impairs your vision (10Trusted Source).
Additionally, carotenoid-rich foods like peaches may protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, including of the prostate (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Note that peach peels may contain up to 27 times more antioxidants than the fruit, so make a point of eating the peel for maximum health benefits (14Trusted Source).
Peaches are excellent sources of carotenoids, which are plant pigments that may offer protection against heart disease, AMD, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Plums are juicy, scrumptious stone fruits that, though small in size, pack an impressive amount of nutrients.
A serving of two 66-gram plums provides (15):
- Calories: 60
- Carbs: 16 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 20% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 10% of the RDI
- Vitamin K: 10% of the RDI
These jewel-toned fruits are high in anti-inflammatory antioxidants, including phenolic compounds, such as proanthocyanidins and kaempferol (16Trusted Source).
Phenolic compounds protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals and may reduce your risk of illnesses, such as neurodegenerative conditions and heart disease (17Trusted Source).
Prunes, which are dried plums, provide concentrated doses of the nutrients found in fresh plums, and many benefit your health in a number of ways.
Fresh plums can be enjoyed on their own or added to dishes like oatmeal, salads, and yogurt. Prunes can be paired with almonds or other nuts and seeds for a fiber- and protein-rich snack.
Plums are highly nutritious and can be eaten fresh or in their dried form as prunes.
Apricots are small, orange fruits that are packed with health-promoting nutrients and plant compounds.
One cup (165 grams) of sliced apricots provides (21):
- Calories: 79
- Carbs: 19 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin C: 27% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 64% of the RDI
- Potassium: 12% of the RDI
These sweet fruits are also high in several B vitamins, as well as vitamins E and K.
Fresh and dried apricots are especially rich in beta carotene, a carotenoid that is converted into vitamin A in your body. It has powerful health effects, and apricots are a delicious way to reap the benefits of this potent pigment (22Trusted Source).
Animal studies show that the high concentration of beta carotene and other powerful plant compounds in apricots protects cells against oxidative damage, which is caused by reactive molecules called free radicals (23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).
Additionally, apricots may improve the rate at which food moves through your digestive tract, potentially relieving digestive issues like acid reflux.
A study in 1,303 people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) found that those who ate apricots daily experienced improved digestion and significantly fewer GERD symptoms, compared to those who did not (25Trusted Source).
Apricots are delicious on their own or can be added to savory and sweet recipes, such as salads or baked goods.
Apricots are packed with nutrients and may benefit your health by providing antioxidants and improving digestion.
Lychee, or litchi, is a type of stone fruit sought after for its distinctive flavor and texture.
The sweet, white flesh of this stone fruit is protected by a pink, inedible skin that gives it a distinctive look.
One cup (190 grams) of fresh lychees provides (26):
- Calories: 125
- Carbs: 31 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin C: 226% of the RDI
- Folate: 7% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 10% of the RDI
Lychees also contain good amounts of riboflavin (B2), phosphorus, potassium, and copper.
Additionally, lychees provide phenolic compounds, including rutin, epicatechin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and gallic acid, all of which have powerful antioxidant properties (28Trusted Source).
According to animal studies, these compounds significantly reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, especially related to liver damage.
In a 21-day rat study, treatment with 91 mg per pound (200 mg per kg) of body weight of lychee extract per day significantly reduced liver inflammation, cellular damage, and free radical production, while increasing antioxidant levels like glutathione (29Trusted Source).
Another study found that rats with alcoholic liver disease that received lychee extract for 8 weeks experienced significant reductions in liver oxidative stress and improvements in liver cell function, compared to a control group (30Trusted Source).
Lychee fruits can be peeled and enjoyed raw or added to salads, smoothies, or oatmeal.
Lychees are nutritious stone fruits that are high in vitamin C and phenolic antioxidants. Animal studies show that they may benefit liver health, in particular.
Mangoes are brightly colored, tropical stone fruits enjoyed around the world for their juiciness and sweet taste. Many varieties exist, all of which are highly nutritious.
One mango (207 grams) provides (31):
- Calories: 173
- Carbs: 31 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 1 gram
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Vitamin C: 96% of the RDI
- Vitamin A: 32% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 12% of the RDI
Aside from the nutrients listed above, mangoes are a good source of B vitamins, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, and copper.
Like other stone fruits in this article, mangoes are loaded with antioxidants, including anthocyanins, carotenoids, and vitamins C and E (32Trusted Source).
Though its peel is often discarded, studies show that mango skin is highly nutritious and contains fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, such as ellagic acid, kaempferol, and mangiferin (32Trusted Source).
Because mango is a high-fiber fruit, it has been shown to promote healthy digestion.
A study in people with chronic constipation observed that eating about 2 cups (300 grams) of mango daily significantly improved stool frequency and consistency and reduced intestinal inflammatory markers, compared to an equal dose of a fiber supplement (33Trusted Source).
Animal studies also indicate that eating mangoes may protect against bowel diseases, certain cancers, and metabolic syndrome. Still, research in humans is needed to confirm these potential benefits (34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source, 37Trusted Source).
Mangoes can be enjoyed fresh, in fruit salads and smoothies, atop oatmeal and yogurt, or turned into delicious salsas.
Mangoes are packed with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They may improve digestive health and taste fantastic fresh or as part of salads, smoothies, salsas, or various other dishes.
The Bottom Line
Cherries, peaches, plums, apricots, lychees, and mangoes are all stone fruits that offer an abundance of nutrients that can benefit your health in countless ways.
They're not only delicious but also highly versatile and can be enjoyed whole, as on-the-go snacks, or as additions to savory and sweet recipes alike.
Try adding a few of the stone fruits on this list into your diet to improve your overall health, all while satisfying your sweet tooth.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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By Alexander Richard Braczkowski, Christopher O'Bryan, Duan Biggs, and Raymond Jansen
A Cute But Threatened Species<p><a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/what-is-a-pangolin" target="_blank">Pangolins</a> are the only mammals wholly-covered in scales, which they use to protect themselves from predators. They can also curl up into a tight ball.</p><p>They eat mainly ants, termites and larvae which they pick up with their sticky tongue. They can grow up to 1m in length from nose to tail and are sometimes referred to as scaly anteaters.</p><p>But <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128155073000332" title="Chapter 33 - Conservation strategies and priority actions for pangolins" target="_blank">all eight</a> pangolin species are classified as "<a href="https://www.pangolins.org/tag/endangered-species/" target="_blank">threatened</a>" under International Union for Conservation of Nature <a href="https://www.iucnredlist.org/search?query=pangolin&searchType=species" target="_blank">criteria</a>.</p><p>There is an unprecedented demand for their scales, primarily from countries in Asia and <a href="https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/conl.12389" title="Assessing Africa‐Wide Pangolin Exploitation by Scaling Local Data" target="_blank">Africa</a> where they are used in food, cultural remedies and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/141072b0" title="Chinese Medicine and the Pangolin" target="_blank">medicine</a>.</p><p>Between 2017 and 2019, seizures of pangolin scales <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/02/pangolin-scale-trade-shipments-growing/" target="_blank">tripled in volume</a>. In 2019 alone, 97 tons of pangolin scales, equivalent to about 150,000 animals, were <a href="https://oxpeckers.org/2020/03/nigeria-steps-up-for-pangolins/" target="_blank">reportedly</a> intercepted leaving Africa.</p>
Reintroduction of an Extinct Species<p>Each year in South Africa the African Pangolin Working Group (<a href="https://africanpangolin.org/" target="_blank">APWG</a>) retrieves between 20 and 40 pangolins through intelligence operations with security forces.</p><p>These pangolins are often-traumatised and injured and are admitted to the <a href="http://www.johannesburgwildlifevet.com/our-hospital" target="_blank">Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital</a> for extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation before they can be considered for release.</p><p>In 2019, seven rescued Temminck's pangolins were reintroduced into South Africa's <a href="https://www.andbeyond.com/destinations/africa/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/phinda-private-game-reserve/" target="_blank">Phinda Private Game Reserve</a> in the KwaZulu Natal Province.</p><p>Nine months on, five have survived. This reintroduction is a world first for a region that last saw a viable population of this species in the 1980s.</p><p>During the release, every individual pangolin followed a strict regime. They needed to become familiar with their new surroundings and be able to forage efficiently.</p>
A ‘Soft Release’ in to the Wild<p>The process on Phinda game reserve involved a more gentle ease into re-wilding a population in a region that had not seen pangolins for many decades.</p><p>The soft release had two phases:</p><ol><li>a pre-release observational period</li><li>an intensive monitoring period post release employing GPS satellite as well as VHF tracking tags.</li></ol>
Why Pangolin Reintroduction is Important<p>We know so little about this group of mammals that are vastly understudied and hold many secrets yet to be discovered by science but are on the verge of collapse.</p><p>The South African and Phinda story is one of hope for the Temminck's pangolin where they once again roam the savanna hills and plains of Zululand.</p><p>The process of relocating these trade animals back into the wild has taken many turns, failures and tribulations but, the recipe of the "soft release" is working.</p>
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By Jake Johnson
In a move that environmentalists warned could further imperil hundreds of endangered species and a protected habitat for the sake of profit, President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation rolling back an Obama-era order and opening nearly 5,000 square miles off the coast of New England to commercial fishing.
Why You Should Wash Fresh Produce<p>Global pandemic or not, properly washing fresh fruits and vegetables is a good habit to practice to minimize the ingestion of potentially harmful residues and germs.</p><p>Fresh produce is handled by numerous people before you purchase it from the grocery store or the farmers market. It's best to assume that not every hand that has touched fresh produce has been clean.</p><p>With all of the people constantly bustling through these environments, it's also safe to assume that much of the <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fresh-vs-frozen-fruit-and-vegetables" target="_blank">fresh produce</a> you purchase has been coughed on, sneezed on, and breathed on as well.</p><p>Adequately washing fresh fruits and vegetables before you eat them can significantly reduce residues that may be left on them during their journey to your kitchen.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Washing fresh fruits and vegetables is a proven way to remove germs and unwanted residues from their surfaces before eating them.</p>
Best Produce Cleaning Methods<p>While rinsing fresh produce with water has long been the traditional method of preparing fruits and veggies before consumption, the current pandemic has many people wondering whether that's enough to really clean them.</p><p>Some people have advocated the use of soap, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/white-vinegar" target="_blank">vinegar</a>, lemon juice, or even commercial cleaners like bleach as an added measure.</p><p>However, health and food safety experts, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), strongly urge consumers not to take this advice and stick with plain water.</p><p>Using such substances may pose further health dangers, and they're unnecessary to remove the most harmful residues from produce. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/chlorine-poisoning" target="_blank">Ingesting commercial cleaning chemicals</a> like bleach can be lethal and should never be used to clean food.</p><p>Furthermore, substances like lemon juice, vinegar, and produce washes have not been shown to be any more effective at cleaning produce than plain water — and may even leave additional deposits on food.</p><p>While some research has suggested that using neutral electrolyzed water or a baking soda bath can be even more effective at removing certain substances, the consensus continues to be that cool tap water is sufficient in most cases.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>The best way to wash fresh produce before eating it is with cool water. Using other substances is largely unnecessary. Plus they're often not as effective as water and gentle friction. Commercial cleaners should never be used on food.</p>
How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables With Water<p>Washing fresh fruits and vegetables in cool water before eating them is a good practice when it comes to health hygiene and food safety.</p><p>Note that fresh produce should not be washed until right before you're ready to eat it. Washing fruits and vegetables before storing them may create an environment in which bacterial growth is more likely.</p><p>Before you begin washing fresh produce, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-should-you-wash-your-hands" target="_blank">wash your hands well</a> with soap and water. Be sure that any utensils, sinks, and surfaces you're using to prepare your produce are also thoroughly cleaned first.</p><p>Begin by cutting away any bruised or visibly rotten areas of fresh produce. If you're handling a fruit or vegetable that'll be peeled, such as an orange, wash it before peeling it to prevent any surface bacteria from entering the flesh.</p><p>The general methods to wash produce are as follows:</p><ul><li><strong>Firm produce.</strong> Fruits with firmer skins like apples, lemons, and pears, as well as <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/root-vegetables" target="_blank">root vegetables</a> like potatoes, carrots, and turnips, can benefit from being brushed with a clean, soft bristle to better remove residues from their pores.</li><li><strong>Leafy greens.</strong> Spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, leeks, and cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts and bok choy should have their outermost layer removed, then be submerged in a bowl of cool water, swished, drained, and rinsed with fresh water.</li><li><strong>Delicate produce.</strong> Berries, mushrooms, and other types of produce that are more likely to fall apart can be cleaned with a steady stream of water and gentle friction using your fingers to remove grit.</li></ul><p>Once you have thoroughly rinsed your produce, dry it using a clean paper or cloth towel. More fragile produce can be laid out on the towel and gently patted or rolled around to dry them without damaging them.</p><p>Before consuming your fruits and veggies, follow the simple steps above to minimize the amount of germs and substances that may be on them.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Most fresh fruits and veggies can gently be scrubbed under cold running water (using a clean soft brush for those with firmer skins) and then dried. It can help to soak, drain, and rinse produce that has more dirt-trapping layers.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>Practicing good food hygiene is an important health habit. Washing fresh produce helps minimize surface germs and residues that could make you sick.</p><p>Recent fears during the <a href="https://www.healthline.com/coronavirus" target="_blank">COVID-19 pandemic</a> have caused many people to wonder whether more aggressive washing methods, such as using soap or commercial cleaners on fresh produce, are better.</p><p>Health professionals agree that this isn't recommended or necessary — and could even be dangerous. Most fruits and vegetables can be sufficiently cleaned with cool water and light friction right before eating them.</p><p>Produce that has more layers and surface area can be more thoroughly washed by swishing it in a bowl of cool water to remove dirt particles.</p><p>Fresh fruits and vegetables offer a number of healthy nutrients and should continue to be eaten, as long as safe cleaning methods are practiced.</p>
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By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas
From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.
When Looking Through a Microscope Isn’t Close Enough.<p>For the last few years, <a href="http://www.rokaslab.org/" target="_blank">our team at Vanderbilt University</a>, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/lab/Gustavo-Goldman-Lab" target="_blank">Gustavo Goldman's team at São Paulo University in Brazil</a> and many other collaborators around the world have been collecting samples of fungi from patients infected with different species of <em>Aspergillus</em> molds. One of the species we are particularly interested in is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1006/rwgn.2001.0082" target="_blank"><em>Aspergillus nidulans</em>, a relatively common and generally harmless fungus</a>. Clinical laboratories typically identify the species of <em>Aspergillus</em> causing the infection by examining cultures of the fungi under the microscope. The problem with this approach is that very closely related species of <em>Aspergillus</em> tend to look very similar in their broad morphology or physical appearance when viewing them through a microscope.</p><p>Interested in examining the varying abilities of different <em>A. nidulans</em> strains to cause disease, we decided to analyze their total genetic content, or genomes. What we saw came as a total surprise. We had not collected <em>A. nidulans</em> but <em>Aspergillus latus</em>, a close relative of <em>A. nidulans</em> and, as we were to soon find out, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.04.071" target="_blank">a hybrid species that evolved through the fusion of the genomes</a> of two other <em>Aspergillus</em> species: <em>Aspergillus spinulosporus</em> and an unknown close relative of <em>Aspergillus quadrilineatus</em>. Thus, we realized not only that these patients harbored infections from an entirely different species than we thought they were, but also that this species was the first ever <em>Aspergillus</em> hybrid known to cause human infections.</p>
Several Different Fungal Hybrids Cause Human Disease.<p>Hybrid fungi that can cause infections in humans are well known to occur in several different lineages of single-celled fungi known as yeasts. Notable examples include multiple different species of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/yea.3242" target="_blank">yeast hybrids</a> that cause the human diseases <a href="https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/6218/cryptococcosis" target="_blank">cryptococcosis</a> and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/index.html" target="_blank">candidiasis</a>. Although pathogenic yeast hybrids are well known, our discovery that the <em>A. latus</em> pathogen is a hybrid is a first for molds that cause disease in humans.</p>
(Left) Candida yeasts live on parts of the human body. Imbalance of microbes on the body can allow these yeasts, some of which are hybrids, to grow and cause infection. (Right) Cryptococcus yeasts, including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008315" target="_blank">Why certain <em>Aspergillus</em> species are so deadly</a> while others are harmless remains unknown. This may in part be because <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fbr.2007.02.007" target="_blank">combinations of traits, rather than individual traits</a>, underlie organisms' ability to cause disease. So why then are hybrids frequently associated with human disease? Hybrids inherit genetic material from both parents, which may result in new combinations of traits. This may make them more similar to one parent in some of their characteristics, reflect both parents in others or may differ from both in the rest. It is precisely this mix and match of traits that hybrids have inherited from their parental species that <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/science/14creatures.html" target="_blank">facilitates their evolutionary success</a>, including their ability to cause disease.</p>